The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society paired with the Chicago Metra to bring 3,000 guests aboard a 1940s steam locomotive excursion this past weekend.
Fort Wayne’s steam locomotive no. 765 leads a round-trip excursion from Joliet to Chicago. Passengers attend a private vintage themed event in downtown Chicago. Here, guests were encouraged to wear 1940s attire while they enjoy cocktails, appetizers and live entertainment.
Vice President of The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society Kelly Lynch says the trip is a recreation of a first class passenger train as it would have been in the 1940s.
“Everybody that lays eyes on the steam locomotive is sort of transported back to a certain time and place,” said Lynch.
Lynch says the passenger cars behind the locomotive were used to transport celebrities and politicians of the time.
The no. 765 steam-powered locomotive is 1-of-5 in operation nationally. “We like to remind people that this was a country that was extremely innovative,” Lynch said. “And remains incredibly creative even if it’s not the industrial powerhouse that it once was.”
Lynch calls the train excursion, a living history event on wheels, but he’s also looking to the future.
“What we really want to do is bring the magic of our operations to downtown Fort Wayne throughout the entire year instead of just a couple of days like we have now,” said Lynch.
The society is working on their Headwaters Junction project in the hopes of bringing a steam locomotive to downtown Fort Wayne as a display of the cities industrious past.