Posts Tagged ‘Conneaut Railroad Museum’

Playing a Hunch Paid Off

July 16, 2021

Last Sunday Marty Surdyk and I were headed home after a day with the Oil Creek & Tutusville tourist railroad in Pennsylvania.

But we made a stop in Conneaut where we parked across the CSX tracks from the Conneaut Railroad Museum. It was just after 5 p.m. as we saw volunteers from the museum departing after closing for the day.

We were hoping to catch CSX No. 3194, the Spirit of Our Law Enforcement unit, which was on the point of the Q010.

What we didn’t know is that it had passed through Conneaut about an hour earlier.

Around 6 p.m. we heard horns coming from the southeast. It definitely was not CSX, but possibly Norfolk Southern or the former Bessemer & Lake Erie (now Canadian National). They sounded for two or three crossings then everything was silent.

About 15 minutes later on a hunch we drove to the Main Street crossing of the Bessemer and sure enough there was the rear of a CN empty ore train dropping into the harbor yard.

After it disappeared past the former Nickel Plate Trestle, we went back to staking out CSX by the museum.

Eventually we went back down to Main Street in case a CN train would come out before we had to head for home.

On a hunch we went down to the overlook on the west end of the Bessemer facilities. In a stroke of good luck we saw the train that arrived earlier was on a loop track loading iron ore. Here are a few photographs that I made of it.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Conneaut Museum to Reopen

May 26, 2021

The Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum will reopen on Saturday and is seeking volunteers.

The museum, which is housed in a former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern passenger station next to the CSX Erie West Subdivision, was closed throughout 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operating hours for the museum will be Thursday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. It will also be open on Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

The museum currently has a staff of six volunteers but is seeking more help because the average age of the staff is in the mid 70s.

More information about volunteering opportunities is available on the museum’s Facebook page.

Charting the Surviving NKP Berkshire Locomotives

September 26, 2019

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.

Traces of the Central

October 19, 2017

The last New York Central passenger train to board passengers in Conneaut did so on October 25, 1962.

It was not, of course, the last passenger train to pass by the Conneaut depot. NYC and later Penn Central varnish rushed past until May 1, 1971.

Amtrak restored service a few weeks later but ended it in early January 1972. Until the coming of the Lake Shore Limited in October 1975, the former Water Level Route was freight only.

The Conneaut depot is now a museum and it has many artifacts related to the NYC and the other railroads in town, the Nickel Plate Road and the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

The NYC passenger platform is still visible next to the CSX Erie West Subdivision tracks.

Most people look at this image and see what it is, which is containers headed eastward on CSX train Q020.

But in my mind’s eye, I see an NYC passenger train arriving. The conductor is standing on the folding vestibule steps, his left hand on the railing of the silver Budd passenger car and his eyes scanning the platform for passengers.

People whose names I do not know are waiting, tickets in hand, to board for Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati Cleveland, St. Louis or who knows where else. All of those were cities you could travel to from this platform.

A check of the Official Guide of the Railways for June 1962 shows that the last NYC trains scheduled to stop in Conneaut were unnamed No. 222 eastbound from Chicago to Buffalo, New York; and No. 35, the Iroquois from New York to Chicago.

Everything else blew past without stopping just as Amtrak does today.

Getting Acquainted with NKP 755

August 16, 2017

I’ve seen Nickel Plate Road No. 755, a Berkshire steam locomotive, many times during my trips to Conneaut.

I might have photographed it once or twice outside the fence at the railroad museum housed in the former Lake Shore & Michigan Southern (New York Central) depot.

I finally got a closer view of the 755 during a recent visit to the Conneaut museum, during which time I went inside to take a look around and exited into the small exhibit space of rolling stock that includes the 755.

I have seen its sister Berk, the 765 in action many times. I don’t know if NKP 765 has ever passed NKP 755 on the adjacent tracks of the CSX Erie West Subdivision.

I know the NKP 765 was in town a couple years ago while ferrying from out East to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. It made a service stop in Conneaut, but the former Nickel Plate tracks are a few blocks south of the museum.

You can go up into the cab of the 755, but a partition limits how much of you can visit.

There are mannequins sitting in the engineer’s and fireman’s seats dressed in railroad work clothing and appearing to be operating the locomotive.

As you around the 755 you begin to realize how much of a job it is to restore one of these engines from stuffed and mounted to operating.

It seems unlikely that 755 will ever be restored to operating condition although I wouldn’t be surprised if someone has talked about it. There are no shortage of people who think they want to restore a steam locomotive.

Through This Door Passed . . .

July 6, 2016

Conneaut3 May 8-x

For just over six decades countless numbers of people walked through this door before boarding or after disembarking from passenger trains of the New York Central and a predecessor company, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern.

It was the latter railroad that built the passenger station in Conneaut in 1900.

Passengers and those seeing them off or picking them up passed through this door for all manner of reasons.

Not all trains stopped here and, in fact, most of them zipped right past. That would have included many trains of  the NYC’s Great Steel Fleet.

The last trains scheduled to stop in Conneaut were the New York to Chicago Iroquois and eastbound No. 222, an unnamed local operating from Chicago to Buffalo, New York.

A sign inside the station says that the last passenger trains stopped here in 1962. Yet the Official Guide of the Railways for April 1963 still shows that Conneaut was a scheduled stop for Nos. 35 and 222.

The trains were scheduled to stop just over an hour apart with No. 35 due in at 11:27 a.m. and No. 222 at 12:53 p.m.

The NYC passenger timetable dated April 28, 1963, does not show Conneaut as a schedule stop for any passenger train.

Today, the LS&MS station is the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum and will reopen for the season on May 28.

Passenger trains still pass by this station. Amtrak’s Chicago-New York Lake Shore Limited rushes past on what is now the Erie West Subdivision of CSX.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders