Posts Tagged ‘Indiana tourist railroads’

Indiana Tourist Railroad Offering Caboose Rides

March 27, 2021

The Nickel Plate Express tourist railroad in Indiana will offer caboose rides on weekends in April, May and June with Easter themed events on Easter weekend.

The rides will be 30 minutes and include a snack and activities. During the Easter trips there will be an Easter egg hunt and photo opportunity with the Easter bunny. A basket will be provided for the egg hunt.

Tickets are $16 per person for the Easter trips and $12 for all other trips. Children age 3 and under ride for free.

Indiana Holiday Train Rides Canceled

September 10, 2020

An Indiana tourist railroad has canceled it holiday season train rides due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The French Lick Scenic Railway canceled its Polar Express Train Ride but plans to reinstate the event next year.

In a Facebook page message, the railroad said it canceled the trips after reviewing safety requirements.

Those would have resulted in an experience quite different from what has been offered in the past, including limited personal interactions with the conductor and not being able to have Santa pose for photographs with passengers.

“This is just not the show we feel you deserve – the one that many of you have come to know and love,” the railroad said.

Those who purchased tickets for this year’s trips will be notified by email and mail with information on the railroad’s plans.

Coming Out Party for NKP Geep

July 6, 2020

A former Nickel Plate Road GP7L returned to service on Independence Day on former NKP rails.

No. 426 was one of two locomotives that pulled 30-minute holiday excursion trains from downtown Noblesville, Indiana, for Nickel Plate Express, a tourist train operator.

The geep was on the north end of the train. Saturday’s runs were the first for the locomotives this year and the opening of the season for the Nickel Plate Express.

The tourist train uses 12 miles of a former NKP branch that once extended from Indianapolis to Michigan City, Indiana.

Most of the line, whose heritage includes the Lake Erie & Western, has been abandoned including the segment from Noblesville to Indianapolis.

The 426 was built by EMD in July 1953 and retired by the Norfolk & Western in 1977. It then served a number of other owners, including the Peabody Company.

It was donated to the Indiana Transportation Museum in 2001, where it received a NKP livery. The locomotive is now owned by the City of Noblesville, which took possession of it after evicting ITM from its longtime home in the city’s Forest Park.

ITM used the 426 to pull its Indiana State Fair trains and other excursions and I photographed it pulling a Fair Train in Fishers in August 2011.

Because it was on the north end of the train the light made getting good images of the 426 a tough assignment. But it was a historic moment and I did what I could.

In the top image, No. 426 is shown trailing as the excursion train comes into downtown Noblesville during a ferry move.

In the middle image, a railfan photographer races down a trail over the White River to get into position to photograph the second excursion of the day leaving Noblesville.

In the bottom photograph, No. 426 and a former Santa Fe Hi-Level car sit on the bridge over the White River.

Nickel Plate Express to Resume Operations

June 30, 2020

An Indiana tourist railroad plans to return to operations on July 4 and 5 with a series of excursions out of Noblesville, Indiana.

The Nickel Plate Express will operate six trips lasting for 30 minutes within Noblesville on July 4.

Tickets are $10 per passenger and trips will depart from Bolden’s cleaners near the town square at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

On July 6 two trains dubbed the Independence Express will depart from Forest Park in Noblesville for a ride of one hour, 15 minutes.

Trains depart at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for children and $22 for adults.

Passengers will receive a glass of lemonade and slice of apple pie. All trains are limited to 50 percent capacity to enable social distancing.

Train equipment will be cleaned between trips and passengers are encouraged to wear masks.

The Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad uses a 1956 F9 diesel locomotive originally built for the Erie Mining Company.

Passengers ride in former Santa Fe Hi-Level cars build by the Budd Company. All seating in these cars is on the upper level.

Nickel Plate Express operates on 12 miles of a former Nickel Plate Road branch line between Atlanta and Noblesville.

Cincy NRHS Chapter to Host Whitewater Valley Outing

January 15, 2020

The Cincinnati chapter of the National Railway Historical Society is sponsoring an outing on March 27 to the Whitewater Valley Railroad.

The event is being held in conjunction with the 2020 NRHS Spring Conference to be held in Cincinnati March 26-28.

The outing will begin with a bus ride from the conference hotel in West Chester, Ohio, the Marriott North, to the tourist railroad’s station in Connersville, Indiana.

Tickets are $95 per person and include transportation to and from the hotel, a six-hour one way train ride that will include photo runbys, and lunch.

To reserve a space or for further information call 513-729-1919 or send a check to treasurer Dave Price at 64 Hillcrest Drive, Springboro, OH 45066-8587.

The outing is open to the public. The registration deadline is Feb. 20.

Tickets are nonrefundable and passengers are advised that there are no restrooms aboard the train, which also is not handicapped accessible.

Indiana Tourist Railroad to Restore NKP GP7

November 20, 2019

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.

Indiana Tourist RR Seeks to Restore Lima Switcher

August 9, 2019

An Indiana tourist railroad is raising money to restore a Lima diesel switcher.

The Whitewater Valley Railroad plans a mechanical and cosmetic restoration of former ARMCO Steel No. 709, which is one of just four surviving Lima diesels and the only 1,000-horsepower model left.

Best known for building steam locomotives, Lima built 174 diesels.

No. 709 has been at the Whitewater Valley since 1989 and operated for one year before being sidelined by leaking radiators.

Thieves later removed the copper wiring to its trucks.

Whitewater Valley has three Lima diesels, including the only known operational one, former Cincinnati Union Terminal No. 25.

One estimate of the cost of restoring No. 709 is that it will take between $4,000 and $5,000 for body work, lettering, and painting.

Built in March 1950, No. 709 worked at ARMCO plants in Hamilton and Middletown, Ohio, until the mid-1980s.

Whitewater Valley volunteer and former ARMCO employee Jerry Feicht persuaded the company to donate No. 709 to the Whitewater Valley.

Indiana Tourist Railroad Gets Northern Pacific Look

June 29, 2019

An Indiana tourist railroad has acquired a geep that will remind observers of the Northern Pacific.

GP9 No. 465 was acquired by the French Lick Scenic Railway from the Hoosier Southern Railroad that has been given a two-tone green livery reminiscent of NP’s North Coast Limited passenger train identity.

No. 465 will be used to pull regular excursions and dinner trains between French Lick and Jasper in Southern Indiana.

This is an expansion of the railroad’s existing service between French Lick and Cuzco.

The Spirit of Jasper dinner train operates a few miles from Jasper.

Those trains will continue to operate and supplement the new French Lick-Jasper service, whose inauguration date has yet to be announced. However, railroad officials expect it to be in the fall.

The track used by the trains was once operated by the Southern Railway.

No. 465 was built in 1959 for Southern Pacific subsidiary Texas & New Orleans as No. 454.

Also receiving the NP-inspired livery are former Ringling Brothers Circus Train car No. 41310, which has become dining/first class car RPCX No. 1710, and French Lick Scenic business car No. 500 Indianapolis, an observation car of Seaboard Coast Line ancestry.

The railroad already had former NP Dome Car Homestake Pass, which came already painted in the NP-inspired green livery.

F9A To Pull NKP Heritage RR Trains

July 23, 2018

A former Erie Mining Company F9A will be used by the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad to pull its excursion trains in Indiana.

The tourist operation, which will be operated by Atlanta Pacific Rail, has acquired the EMD unit from the Vermilion Valley Railroad in western Indiana.

The F9A was built for Erie Mining in August 1956 and was one of 87 similar models constructed between 1954 and 1956.

“Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad and Atlanta Pacific Rail are fortunate to have acquired such an historic locomotive to power its trains,” said Tom Hoback, owner of Atlanta Pacific Rail. “This classic locomotive will recreate the high point of rail passenger travel in America during the 1950s”.

The NKP Heritage Railroad will feature former Santa Fe Hi-Level passenger cars once operations of the Nickel Plate Express begin in the fall.

Excursions will operate regularly every Saturday and Sunday from Atlanta to Noblesville.

Indiana Tourist RR Aims for September Start

July 10, 2018

A new tourist line that plans to operate over a former Nickel Plate Road branch line in Central Indiana is looking to begin operations in early September.

The Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad is currently undertaking rehabilitation of the ex-NKP Indianapolis-Michigan City, Indiana, line between Noblesville and Atlanta.

The tracks are owned by Hamilton County and two cities in the county and overseen by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority.

Rehab of the 12-mile line began in early May and largely consists of tie replacement and maintenance of rail joints.

The work is being overseen by Atlanta Pacific Rail. Other work to be done includes bridge inspection, railroad grade crossing improvements, and weed and brush mitigation.

Test runs are slated to operate in August using 1950s vintage equipment that includes three former Santa Fe Hi-level passenger cars.

The NKP Heritage Railroad is an outgrowth of the Arcadia Heritage Depot/Arcadia Arts & Heritage initiative, the non-profit manages a depot in Arcadia, Indiana.

That station, built in 1869, will observe its 150th anniversary next year. It was moved in 1973 and restored by volunteers.

It now serves as a community center, library and museum.