20" x 30", Acrylic on Canvas, 2007
Tom Dupee Collection
The sky is beginning to clear this Sunday January 27, 1957. The low morning sun illuminates this scene of
westbound Baltimore & Ohio extra 7610 stopped at Lester, Ohio. Engineer Dean Dupee and fireman Gene Reinke
have received their running orders from operator Bill Knepp and are awaiting clearance to proceed up the CL&W
to Lorain with its string of empty hoppers to be loaded at the Lorain docks with iron ore for the steel mills of
Lester is the junction point on B&O’s Cleveland, Lorain and Wheeling subdivision where lines to Cleveland and
Lorain diverge. The train order office had been the passenger station here. Its former role is given away by its
classic railroad architecture.
This crew had reported for duty the previous night in New Castle, Pennsylvania at 9:50 and finished their run
after 14 hours and 40 minutes, at 12:30 pm, in Lorain, Ohio. With mileage, delay and overtime, engineer Dupee
would be paid $40.80 for this trip.
Dean Edward Dupee was 40 years old when this scene was captured. He hired August 12, 1942 as locomotive
fireman and was promoted to locomotive engineer in the early 1950s. His career as a railroader would last until
June 1976 when he retired and moved to his farm in Morrow County, Ohio, where he busied himself with his
talent for working with his hands at tinkering and small engine repair, among other things, until near his death at
age 77, July 26, 1993.
Eugene Elwood Reinke had just celebrated his 33rd birthday eight days earlier, on January 19th. Gene hired as
locomotive fireman August 15, 1955 and would be promoted to engineer January 14, 1966. Tragically, he died
suddenly while at his away terminal, New Castle, August 28th 1971.
Bill Knepp was 36 years old at this time. He hired July 31, 1941. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1942,
serving 38 months in the European theater with the signal corps, due to his knowledge of Morse code. Bill
returned to work for the B&O in 1945 and served as the day shift operator at Lester from 1952 until his
retirement September 30, 1982. He now enjoys his retirement in Seville, Ohio.
This dedicated engine crew was destined to be more than coworkers. They visited each other's homes, and their
families became mutual friends for life. Both men were well respected in their craft and were recognized for their
adept skill and professionalism by both their peers and B&O railroad division officers.
Engine B&O 7610 was built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1944 and was one of 20 class EM-1 2-8-8-4s built
that year for the B&ORR. Ten more would be added to the roster in 1945. They were the largest and most
powerful steam locomotives ever to ply the rails of the B&O due to the railroad's tight clearances in the east
which were a legacy of B&O's distinction as the first common carrier railroad established in the United States
February 28, 1827.
This engine was nearing the end of its existence. Clean, efficient diesel locomotives were rapidly displacing these
impressive, but labor intensive, machines. Within two weeks 7610 would be carrying its new, diesel era number:
660. Engineer Dupee would run it for the last time August 11, 1957. B&O 660 likely saw its last service in late
1957 or early 1958, but it would be shown on B&Os active roster until 1960. None of these magnificent
machines were saved for us to admire, except in photograph, as all examples were subjected to the scrapper's
torch. Yet, they lived on in the memory of many people, like Dean Dupee, who recalled their experience running
EM-1s with genuine affection. He once said that there was no train that they couldn't pull!
EM-1 Specs: Cylinder Diameter - 24", Cylinder Stroke - 32", Boiler Pressure - 235 psi, Driving Wheel Diameter -
64", Tractive Effort - 115,000 lbs, Total Engine Operating Weight w/Tender - 1,010,700lbs.
Tom Dupee, son of Dean Dupee
Copyright © 2018 David A. Oram