Posts Tagged ‘Indiana railroad museums’

BL2s Arrive at Indiana Museum

June 24, 2021

Two BL2 locomotives have arrived at an Indiana railroad museum.

The units were formerly owned by the Bangor & Aroostook Railroad and acquired by a private owner from Iowa Pacific through a bankruptcy sale.

That owner has leased the units to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson.

The units leased by the Indiana museum wear a livery of the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, a New York tourist railroad that closed in 2018.

The BL2s arrived at the museum on June 19, delivered by the Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad.

The 1,500 horsepower EMD locomotives were built in 1949 and designed for banch line service. EMD build 59 of them.

The Hoosier Valley plans to restore both BL2s to operating condition. They will be the first EMD products to operate at the museum.

For now the locomotives will remain in their current livery.

Officials said when the BL2s arrived they found that a number board had been stolen from one unit and a marker lamp taken from the other.

Headwaters Jct. Work Expected to Begin Later This Year

May 21, 2021

Work is expected to get underway this year to build the Headwaters Junction museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that is expected to become the new home of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

A former NKP depot is expected to be placed in the park, which will be situated in downtown Fort Wayne.

The depot and a passenger car initially will form the core of an eventual railroad-themed museum and event complex. 

“After many years of developing the overall vision for Headwaters Junction and winning meaningful public support along the way, we’re excited to finally be in a position to show very visible progress. This Phase I development will compliment Promenade Park and enhance the riverfront experience,” said Executive Director Kelly Lynch.

Built in 1879, the depot once stood in Craigville, Indiana, and was moved to New Haven, Indiana, in the 1970s.

Headwaters Junction acquired it in 2018 and plans to restore it with funding from the Shields Family Trust.

The passenger car at Headwaters Junction will be a former U.S. Army car built in 1953 and used for a time by Amtrak.

The car was donated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which is a partner in the Headwaters Junction project. Renovation of the car is being funded by Don and Kathy Steininger.

Development of the first phase of Headwaters Junction is being expected to be completed in 2022.

Funding is being provided by a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne’s Riverfront Fund and $15,000 from the Journal Gazette Foundation.

Indiana Rail Museum Reunites C&O Steamer With its Builders Plate

April 9, 2021

An Indiana railroad museum has acquired the builder’s plate for a former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive decades after the two were separated in the 1950s

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum found the plate for C&O 2-8-4 No. 2789, which the museum based in North Judson is seeking to have placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The locomotive was built by Alco in Schenectady, New York, in 1947.

In a news release, the museum credited its secretary, Kyle Flanigan , with doing much of the work to find the builders plate.

 “Once these kinds of things are gone from a locomotive, they are usually gone forever,” Flanigan said. “To have an opportunity like this, we simply could not let it slip away.”

No. 2789 is the last of 90 C&O Kanawha-type locomotives and the only surviving example of the five constructed with a welded boiler.

Indiana Rail Museum Gets Pandemic Aid

October 5, 2020

The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has received a state grant to help offset losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The museum in North Judson, Indiana, received $12,944.28 from the Indiana Arts Commission and Indiana Destination Development Corp. to help pay utility, information technology, security, and cleaning expenses incurred between March 1 and Dec. 30.

The museum said it plans to operating trains on Halloween, which this year falls on a Saturday.

Police ID 4 in Museum Vandalism Spree

August 5, 2020

Police in North Judson, Indiana, say four juveniles appear to be behind a two-day spate of vandalism that recently occurred at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.

In a posting on Facebook, Town Marshall Kelly Fisher said the names of the juveniles and facts about the vandalism incidents have been referred to the Starke County Prosecutor’s office.

The vandalism began on July 31. More than 30 windows were broken in various buildings, locomotives and rolling stock.

The Facebook statement said police reviewed camera footage and within 24 hours were able to identify the four juveniles.

Police said that over two days the four juveniles engaged in a crime spree.

Indiana Museum Gets Switcher

October 8, 2018

A museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, has received a switcher that was donated by Harbor Rail Services of Pasadena, California, but most recently used in Indiana.

The Wabash Valley Railroad Museum received a 1947 General Electric 45-ton, side-rod driven locomotive that was once owned by Public Service Indiana (now Duke Energy).

When it worked in Indiana, it moved hopper cars around a power generating plant.

The unit was built in Erie, Pennsylvania, and may have been used at a military installation for a while before being sold to the utility company.

It was most recently used at a rail car repair facility owned by Harbor Rail Services in Clinton, Indiana.

The locomotive, known as a little critter, is 29 feet in length and was trucked to the museum.

Hesston Museum Test Fires 2-6-0

October 5, 2018

The Hesston Steam Museum recently test fired the 3-foot gauge Porter 2-6-0 No. 2 that it is restoring.

The Indiana-based group is bringing back to life a 1911 locomotive that had been heavily damaged by a May 1985 fire.

The fire also damaged Shay No. 7 and destroyed several narrow gauge Rio Grande freight cars.

The restoration of the Mogul type locomotive has included the rebuilding or replacement of most of the engine’s parts.

This included installation of new boiler and turret, and fabricating a new larger tender frame and superstructure new brake rigging.

“The 2 was like building a new locomotive,” said Ted Rita, the museum’s director and general manager.

“Everything was modified in the field so really the only things left from the original build was the frame, wheelsets and, engines,” he said. “We’ve set her up for ease of maintenance and will be economical for us to operate for years to come.

“Once we complete our steam tests and shake down runs it will be our primary motive power and will insure we can run steam every weekend for our guests. We’ll then roll her into our maintenance schedule with our other operational locomotives. ”

No. 2 was built for the United Fruit Company and worked at a banana plantation in Guatemala. It was retired in the early 1950s.

By 1961, the locomotive had become derelict, but was saved from scrap by Elliott Donnelley. It was eventually repaired by the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy shops in Clyde, Illinois, in Chicago where its running gear was repaired.

The Hesston museum used No. 2 on its two-mile railroad whose 5.5 percent grades and tight curves resemble a logging railroad.

The museum plans additional tests on No. 2 this fall and hopes to have it operational by next spring when a planned rebranding of the museum is expected to be implemented.

That will include a new name that will better reflect a 1929 theme and the museum’s geographical location.

ITM Vacates Site in Last Minutes Before Deadline

July 15, 2018

Personnel of the Indiana Transportation Museum worked up until a midnight deadline to get the last items of their collection out of the museum’s long-time home in Noblesville this week.

As sheriff’s deputies closed in to secure the museum’s long-time home in Forest Park, ITM was rolling out on a truck Florida East Coast office car No. 90, an 1898 Jackson & Sharp car that was used by FEC founder Henry M. Flagler.

Online reports indicated that Chicago, Burlington & Quincy car Silver Salon also made it out before a court-imposed deadline for the group to vacate the site.

The City of Noblesville had given ITM a March 1 deadline to leave after the city declined to renew the museum’s lease.

That was later extended to June 1 and then moved to July 12 on orders of a Hamilton County judge who rejected ITM’s bid for a preliminary injunction to delay the eviction.

The city has said it declined to renew the museum’s lease after finding hazardous chemicals leaking and being improperly stored at the site.

Reports are that ITM left behind a Pennsylvania Railroad hopper car and a New York Central baggage car.

Before leaving, it scraped an Atlantic Coast Line lightweight passenger car and a Milwaukee Road SW1 locomotive.

Whatever is left behind will become the property of the city, which will have to dispose of it as it cleans up the site.

The city had said in a statement that it will work to return privately-owned property to its owners.

ITM also sold or allowed other museums to acquire other items from the collection.

This included Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587, which went to a developing museum in Ravenna, Kentucky.

The former Milwaukee Road F-units that were repainted in a Monon livery were also reported to have been sold.

ITM Plight Draws Widespread Attention

July 7, 2018

The forced two-week removal of the collection of the Indiana Transportation Museum from its 50-year home in Noblesville, Indiana, has triggered a torrent of comments in the online railfan community.

It can be difficult to sort among fact, fiction and exaggeration because the shutdown of the museum is occurring amid a grave sense of urgency after an Indiana judge gave the museum just two weeks to vacate its current location.

The legal battle between ITM and the City of Noblesville, though, goes back to last year when the city signaled it planned to refuse to renew the museum’s lease.

The museum two years ago became embroiled in a dispute with a public agency that oversee the tracks that ITM used for years to operate excursions and its popular shuttle trains to and from the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

Some of the ITM collection is being sold or donated to other museums, some of it is being moved to a new ITM site in Logansport while other pieces are reported to have been scrapped on site.

Still other artifacts are expected to remain at the current location once the July 12 deadline passes and will then be considered to have been abandoned.

The judge who ordered ITM to vacate Forest Park in Noblesville also directed that the Hamilton County sheriff oversee disposition of the “abandoned property.”

Much of the discussion the past week on the Railway Preservation News website focused on how that will be undertaken.

ITM had a collection of more than 100 items. Preservation group Ahead of the Torch said among the items that have been lost are:

• Milwaukee Road SW1 No. 1613, built by Electro-Motive Corporation in 1939 as No. 867. It had recently been repainted in Milwaukee Road orange and maroon.

• Five Chicago Transit Authority 4000-series cars, built in the 1920s by Cincinnati Car Company.

• Evansville & Ohio Valley steeple-cab No. 154, a standard interurban motor built by General Electric in 1912 for a railroad in Portsmouth, Ohio, and later was acquired by the E&OV.

• Indianapolis & Cincinnati Traction Co. interurban car 606, body only. The Cincinnati Car Company built the car in 1923 and it was later used by the Indiana Railroad.

• Nickel Plate wooden coach No. 45, built by ACF in 1907.

Writing on the Trains magazine website on Friday, the publication’s former editor Kevin Keefe said that a lot of soul searching can be expected in the railroad preservation community in the aftermath of the ITM debacle.

“One lesson already underscored: the wider world with direct connections to railroad museums and tourist lines has little interest in the nobility of the cause. What it does expect, and will increasingly demand, is competent museum management with a credible strategic plan,” Keefe wrote.

Current Trains editor Jim Wrinn also weighed in by offering a number of observations, including the need for railway preservation advocates to maintain control of their facilities, including stations and tracks.

Wrinn also called for keeping healthy relations with Class 1 railroad partners because “you may need a friend there one day.”

“Know your local community. That includes the government, the chamber of commerce, the visitor’s bureau, and any other organization that might be a help or hindrance.

“Make sure your local community knows you, what you stand for, the good that you do, and the impact you make. Invite them in for a visit, a chat, and listen to them.”

Wrinn also advocated for networking within the preservation community.

He also noted that museums are not immune to issues stemming from egos, human foible and misunderstanding. Likewise, he said museums should also remember that they are there for their visitors.

“Manage your collection,” Wrinn wrote. “A balance between ambitious and realistic is desirable. Have a plan A, B, C, D, E, F, and G.

Perhaps most importantly, he said that a non-profit must always remember that its top priority is that as a business it must stay in business.

Wrinn said he didn’t want to point fingers at ITM officials or say they didn’t do what is necessarily to remain in Noblesville or to make an orderly transition to another location.

But he said it is undeniable that something went horribly wrong with ITM.

“We’ll find out more in the days and weeks ahead just what happened and hopefully lessons on how to prevent it from happening again.”

ITM Scrambles to Move, Scrap Artifacts

July 6, 2018

Facing a July 12 deadline to vacate its home in Noblesville, Indiana, the Indiana Transportation Museum was working feverishly this week to move some of it collection and scrap other items.

The Hesston Steam Museum, Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation and Age of Steam Roundhouse were at the museum site to remove some items.

The Kentucky group has agreed to house Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587 in Ravenna, Kentucky

The Hesston group was taking possession of Indianapolis Power & Light 0-4-0 fireless cooker No. 1, which was then taken to its 155-acre site near La Porte, Indiana, where Hesston operates a small narrow-gauge steam railroad.

The Age of Steam Roundhouse was seeking to acquire 14 pieces of rolling stock for its facility in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Trains magazine reported on Friday that former Cedar Rapids & Iowa City motor 55, homebuilt by Detroit United Railways in 1915, and former Louisville & Nashville heavyweight diner Cross Keys, built by American Car & Foundry in 1930, have been saved.

At least one diesel locomotive, a Milwaukee Road SW1, and several traction cars, were reported to have been scrapped.

Whatever museum artifacts that are saved must be removed from the site by truck.

ITM has said that it plans to re-establish itself in Logansport in north central Indiana.