Charting the Surviving NKP Berkshire Locomotives

Former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 755 is only surviving NKP Berkshire that gets to watch a passenger train pass by twice a day.

With Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type No. 765 in the spotlight this week on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Ed Ribinskas decided to dip into his photo archives and create a montage of images of the six surviving NKP Berks.

The NKP acquired 80 Berkshires with the first 15 in the series being built by the American Locomotive Company. The Lima Locomotive Works built the remaining 65 engines.

NKP No. 755 has been on static display in Conneaut, Ohio, adjacent to the former New York Central passenger station, since October 1964.

Retired in April 1958, it sat in storage until being donated by the railroad to the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum. It was recently given a new coat of paint.

In the photograph above, No. 755 is greeting the passage of Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which has the Phase I heritage livery on P42DC No. 156.

You can see all of the gauges, levers and controls of the 755 just as the crew saw them in the 1950s because the cab is protected from the elements by a Plexiglas barrier.

NKP No. 757 sat for many years on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania near Strasburg after arriving there in 1964.

The 757 had been set aside for display in Bellevue, Ohio, but the city couldn’t afford the cost of setting up a display for it. So it went to Pennsylvania.

The two images of No. 757 below at the Pennsylvania museum were made in June 2015.

Since then the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue has acquired the 757 and plans to build a special shelter for it. It is shown in Bellevue in September 2019 after having arrived there last February.

NKP No. 759 is in the collection of Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The 759 was restored to operating condition in 1968 and the following year pulled the Golden Spike Centennial excursion. It also pulled other excursions in the East until October 1973.

It is shown at Steamtown in October 2015.

NKP No. 763 was in the collection of the Virginia Transportation Museum where it is shown in July 1987.

The late Jerry Jacobson acquired it in 2007 and moved it to his Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio, where it is shown on June 1, 2013, during an Akron Railroad Club tour.

One former NKP Berkshire is still in Lima where it was built.

NKP No. 779 was the last steam locomotive built by Lima and was released on May 13, 1949.

It is shown in Lincoln Park in Lima where it has been since 1963.

Finally, there is NKP No. 765 whose story is well known. It sat in a park in Fort Wayne, Indiana, until being restored to operating condition by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society 40 years ago.

It is shown below pulling an excursion at Avon Lake Sept. 27, 1987, back in the days of the Norfolk Southern steam program, and during moves in Ohio in 2015 on NS rails.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

NKP 757 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

NKP 757 on display in Pennsylvania not long before it moved to Ohio.

No. 757 is back in Bellevue.

No. 759 on display at Steamtown. It was part of the original collection of Steamtown USA.


NKP 763 when it was on display in Roanoke, Virginia.

NKP 763 is awaiting restoration to operating condition at the Age of Steam Roundhouse.

NKP No. 779 in Lincoln Park in Lima, Ohio.

At Avon Lake, Ohio, on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline on Sept. 27, 1987.

NKP 765 charges through tiny Dorset, Ohio, in Ashtabula County on July 23, 2015, on the NS Youngstown Line en route to Youngstown.

A Nickel Plate steam locomotive crosses a trestle built by the Nickel Plate to cross the Grand River in Painesville, Ohio. The 765 was making a ferry move to Ashtabula, Ohio, in July 2015.

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