Indiana Tourist Railroad to Restore NKP GP7

Nickel Plate Road GP7 No. 426 pulls the Indiana Fair Train out of the station in Fishers in August 2011.

An Indiana tourist railroad is conducting a fundraising campaign to pay for restoration to operating condition of former Nickel Plate Road GP7 locomotive No. 426.

The Nickel Plate Express, which operates on 12 miles of a former NKP branch that once extended from Indianapolis to Michigan City, Indiana, is seeking to raise $12,000 to buy parts and pay for repairs to the geep, which was once part of the collection of the Indiana Transportation Museum but is now owned by the city of Noblesville, Indiana.

The city came to possess No. 426 after it evicted ITM from its longtime home in Forest Park in Noblesville. The museum left the locomotive behind.

The city took ownership of the locomotive after it failed to sell at an auction held last summer to sell the rolling stock ITM did not move off the property.

The work that needs to be done to restore the engine to operating condition includes resealing 16 head gaskets and repairing a crack in the air compressor.

Parts to make these repairs were ordered in mid October and work will begin after they arrive.

Nickel Plate Express director Dagny Zupin hopes to make the repairs in time for No. 426 to pull the line’s Reindeer Express excursions between Nov. 23 and Dec. 22 between Atlanta and Noblesville.

The tourist line will lease the locomotive, which was built in 1953, from the city of Noblesville.

“If for some reason the parts don’t arrive in time, work will begin as soon as parts are secured,” Zupin said.

No. 426 pulled ITM excursion trains through 2015 when it was forced to stop operating on the former NKP branch that the Nickel Plate Express uses in part.

Most of the branch south of Noblesville has been abandoned and the tracks removed as part of a project to convert the right of way into a hiking and biking trail.

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