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By Mary Ann Inman


AVALON – The second weekend in June marked a special occasion for rail fans with the return of the Nickel Plate Road’s locomotive No. 765 to the Chicago region. The train belongs to the Fort Wayne Historical Society in Indiana.

Nickel Plate Road steam engine no. 765 was on live-steam display for visitors at Franklin Park’s Railroad Daze in Chicago, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 11.

The Railroad Daze festival was followed by its first public excursion trip in the Chicago region in more than 20 years.

Passengers paid from $119 to $349, depending on the accommodation level. Many locals in Rock and Walworth counties were in line to see, photograph and video this historic event.

On Sunday, June 12, the 400-ton steam locomotive, known as “the 765”pulled “The Varsity”on an exclusive 186 mile roundtrip excursion trip between The Glen of North Glenview stop on Metra’s Milwaukee North Line and Janesville, Wis. The train also stopped for passengers at Metra’s Fox Lake Station. The train used the tracks that connect Fox Lake, Zenda, Walworth, Avalon, and Janesville. The scheduled turn around in Janesville was from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“The 765” was built in Ohio in 1944 and was retired in 1958. At the time, it was known for its speed and power. It has large drive wheels, coal fueled heating, and puts out lots of smoke and steam.

The locomotivefeatured vintage passenger cars from the 1930s-1950s and included accommodations in standard coach, deluxe coach, and first class and dome car. For additional information visit at