The Roundhouse Podcast

Episode 003: Nickel Plate Road #765 Senior Engineer Rich Melvin

Nickel Plate Road #765 steams along the Cuyahoga River while visiting the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Photo by Nick Ozorak.

Nickel Plate Road #765 steams along the Cuyahoga River while visiting the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. Photo by Nick Ozorak.

Nickel Plate Road #765 has become a steam celebrity in the railroad and railfan community.  What is it like to be this locomotive’s engineer?  Rich Melvin shares his experience as Senior Engineer of NKP 765, as well as being CEO and Publisher of O Gauge Railroading Magazine.

Related Episodes

Joliet Rocket – NKP 765 to Chicago

NKP 765 Cab Ride


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Iowa Interstate Railroad has released a new Rock Island-inspired heritage unit.  I’m not a huge fan, but what do you think of it?

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (owners of NKP 765) have announced a new project in conjunction with the City of Fort Wayne and SWA Group.  Headwaters Junction will include a roundhouse, turntable, community interactive elements, educational programming, and departure point for excursions.  You have to read the press release for the full details, but I am absolutely excited about what this means for rail preservation.  I think it is particuarly important that the group will use the facility for training the new generation about steam preservation and maintenance, since the youth of today will be the keepers of these artifacts tomorrow.

Rich Melvin Interview (3:12)
Starting his railroad career on the Pittsburgh & Lake Erie Railroad, Rich eventually worked his way up to being the Superintendant of Operations for the Youngstown Division of the Ohio Central Railroad.  He joined the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS) because he saw the professional attitude its organization had.  Rich has several stories from over thirty years of operating Nickel Plate Road #765 and shares them with us here, including the filming of ‘Matewan’ in 1987 and joining the 21st Century Steam program with Norfolk Southern.

As CEO and Publisher of O Gauge Railroading Magazine, Rich has seen and filmed many different O scale train layouts.  He provides insight as to why so many modelers choose this gauge as well as how the company has embraced technology moving into the Digital Age.

Question of the Day (48:48)

I read some responses from the questions I asked in Episode 002 and provide you with a new one:  If you could be the engineer of any steam locomotive past or present, which would you choose and why?  Let me know and I will select answers to share on the next episode.  Subscribe on iTunes, and be sure to share this episode with at least one person today!

10 thoughts on “Episode 003: Nickel Plate Road #765 Senior Engineer Rich Melvin

  1. Jason Leach

    I just finished listening to episode 3, and so far I’m really loving this show Nick. I am looking forward to more great episodes in the future. For my answer to the question of the day, I can not pick one particular locomotive over the other. For me it is a two way tie between Santa Fe 3751 and Union Pacific Big Boy 4014. Having lived in Southern California my entire life, I have a special fondness for 4014 and 3751 as i’ve seen both locomotives many times over the years, even ridden behind 3751 on several excursions. While 4014 is not operational yet, I am looking forward to seeing it run when Union Pacific completes the Big Boy’s restoration. To be able to be an engineer on either 3751, 4014, or both of them would be a dream come true.

  2. shaun chisholm

    Fantastic episode! Loved listening to Mr. Melvin’s storys. I would have to say I would love to operate the Southern Pacific Cab Forward steam locomotive? It’s a very unique design and you don’t see that on any other steam locomotives.

  3. Terry Cameron

    My dad was the Assistant Division Engineer for the NKP in Conneaut. The “Flying Saucer” (765 ) would roll through on the way to Buffalo. It was the only train allowed to go more 35 mph through the town. It past within 20 ft of the Station. I remember all the drafting tools moving across the drafting tables. If the tables were up-right, the were all dropped flat and all worked stopped until she passed. Anyone with a cup of coffee picked it up and carried it around until the “Saucer” made the bridge.

    I grew up around the NKP and is truly a fond part of my life.



  4. James Adelman

    If I could be,or could have been the engineer on any steam locomotive,it would have been a NKP Berkshire like the NKP 765 as I still have the old LP-Record called ”Remember When” which has the sounds of two NKP Berkshires pulling Freights on it. One sound-track being the NKP’s ”Flying Saucer”. There was and is,just something about the sound of the NKP Berkshire’s whistle at high speed. James Adelman

  5. Fred Huber Brooks

    My grand father Frank Huber was the oldest engineer on the NKP. As a matter of fact I believe he was the first to make the transition from steam to diesel. I have tried to find out what engines he drove but can’t find information. Can anyone help?

  6. Chris Clark

    My favorite steam locomotive to operate would be Nickel Plate 779 this is the baby brother Berkshire to the now-famous 765 I was born in Lima Ohio as my father was a design engineer for Baldwin Lima Hamilton Thisengine was the last Berkshire built and was finished shortly after my birth and my father has numerous pictures of it taken t
    he day she rolled out of the plant for her initial photograph session

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