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 western Pennsylvania.
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,
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
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 -
Tom Dupee, son of Dean Dupee
Copyright © 2005-2013 David A. Oram