Posts Tagged ‘Indiana Transportation Museum’

Monon Two for Tuesday

December 6, 2022

For several years the Indiana Transportation Museum operated in excursion service an F7A locomotive painted in the livery of the Monon Railroad. The unit was actually a former Milwaukee Road locomotive. ITM later repainted No. 83 into a livery paying tribute to the Nickel Plate Road.

The two images above were made in Worthington, Indiana, on Aug. 29 1998. The occasion was an excursion train between Indianapolis and Worthington on the Indiana Southern Railroad that ran to Worthington behind ex-NKP 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 587. It returned to Indy behind No. 83.

The excursion traveled on a former Pennsylvania Railroad route that once extended from Indianapolis to Vincennes, Indiana, and was best known for its coal traffic.

Photographs by Craig Sanders

Grant to Aid Restoration of Indiana Transit Car

August 23, 2022

The Indiana Historical Society has awarded a $40,000 grant to the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company in support of its efforts to restore to operating condition an interurban car.

The car, which was operated by the Union Traction Company of Indianapolis, has not moved under its own power in more than 80 years.

Hoosier Heartland said the grant will enable it to get Car 429 operating by early 2023. The group must also raise $6,000 on its own.

Car 429 was part of the collection of the now dormant Indiana Transportation Museum before it was evicted from its site in Forest Park in Noblesville, an Indianapolis suburb.

Hoosier Heartland was founded in 2018 for the purpose of restoring cars that once operated throughout the state on electric interurban and city railways.

In addition to Car 429, Hoosier Heartland also owns sister cars 427 and a 1902 Jewitt car, Terre Haute Indianapolis & Eastern 8.

It also acquired Indianapolis Railways 153, built by Brill in 1932. The Indy streetcar network shut down in 1953.

Restoration of Car 429 also was aided by earlier grants from IHS and the Lilly Endowment.

Those grants were used to overhaul electrical and mechanical components of the car’s propulsion and braking systems.

More information about the project can be found at the website of Railfan and Railroad magazine at

FtWRHS Acquires ITM Equipment

March 16, 2022

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society has obtained seven pieces of equipment once owned by the Indiana Transportation Museum.

The equipment includes two former Milwaukee Road F-units, a former Milwaukee B-unit, a Pennsylvania Railroad hopper, a Nickel Plate Road boxcar, a Louisville & Nashville boxcar, and a Wabash boxcar. 

The Fort Wayne group plans to keep the boxcars but offer the other equipment to other organizations.

Kelly Lunch, vice president of the Fort Wayne group, said a private donor assisted in saving the equipment.

ITM was evicted by the City of Noblesville four years ago from a park that the museum had used for several years.

Some of the equipment saved by the Fort Wayne group had been left behind in Noblesville while other pieces were in Logansport, Indiana, where ITM at one time had sought to establish a new museum site.

The equipment has been moved to private property where restoration efforts are underway.

The Fort Wayne group is best known as the owner and operator of NKP 2-8-4 No. 765.

Kentucky Steam Group Acquires Equipment from Indiana Museum

March 8, 2021

The Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation has purchased three pieces of equipment from the Indiana Transportation Museum

The equipment includes a water tender, baggage car and Railway Post Office car. The latter two cars were once owned by the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The water tender was originally a coal and water tender for Louisville & Nashville No. 1958, which operated out of Ravenna, Kentucky, during much of its operating life.

Although the 1958 was scrapped, the tender was saved and assigned to maintenance-of-way service.

The Southern Railway later acquired it and converted it into a water car.

It served as an auxiliary tender for Norfolk & Western 611 and, later, for Nickel Plate Road No. 587.

All of the equipment in the transaction has sat on KSHC property in Irvine, Kentucky, since late 2018.

It was moved there are the ITM was evicted from its previous home in Noblesville, Indiana.

Although ITM had hoped to reestablish itself at a site in Logansport, Indiana, a news release from KSHC indicated that has yet to happen.

KSHC President Chris Campbell said in statement that the acquisition of the cars will help his organization further its efforts in the ongoing restoration of former Chesapeake & Ohio steam locomotive 2716 to operating condition.

“The water car itself is a valuable addition to the eventual operations of C&O 2716 and has historical relevance to Eastern Kentucky, particularly the communities of Irvine and Ravenna,” Campbell said.

“We have been glad to provide a safe haven for it but now, we believe its future is even more secure, as are the futures for the two Pennsylvania Railroad cars.”

KSHC also is providing temporary storage for NKP 587, which has been partly dismantled.

The 587 operated in excursion service between 1988 and 2003 and has since been sold by ITM to a private individual who KSHC said in a news release “intends to continue the trajectory originally planned when the 1918-built Baldwin locomotive was moved to Kentucky two years ago.”

The news release said the new owner of the 587, who wishes to remain anonymous, plans for the engine to remain in Ravenna for the foreseeable future.

KSHC indicated it will work with the 587’s owner on plans for fundraising and potentially transferring the locomotive into a newly-formed nonprofit designed specifically for the engine.

Jason Sobczynski, KSHC’s chief mechanical officer and CEO of Irvine Kentucky-based Next Generation Rail Solutions, will collaborate with the owner to develop a mechanical plan.

“It’s wonderful to see the future of the 587 looking brighter than it has in some time,” Sobczynski said.

 “While there is some major repair work ahead, it is a rare opportunity to return a locomotive to operation which needs what once was considered scheduled maintenance.”

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.

Everett Railroad Gets Vintage PRR Boxcar

October 25, 2019

The Everett Railroad of Pennsylvania has taken delivery of a former Pennsylvania Railroad box car that it acquired from the Indiana Transportation Museum.

A Facebook posting indicated that the railroad might restore the car to operating condition and run it behind its Alco 2-6-0 No. 11.

The car became surplus for ITM after it was evicted from its long-time home in Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana, in June 2018.

Some of the rolling stock left behind was sold at auction earlier this year.

Most ex-ITM Equipment Went Unsold at Auction

September 14, 2019

Most of the equipment up for auction this week that once belonged to the Indiana Transportation Museum failed to find a buyer.

Conducted by Ozark Mountain Railcar, the auction resulted in the sale of five of the 17 locomotives and rail cars.

Although the announcement of the auction had said any unsold equipment would be scrapped, a deputy mayor for Noblesville, Indiana, which instigated the auction, said some of the equipment, could get a second chance to be saved.

Steve Cook said some equipment might remain on the site of the museum’s former home in Forest Park on static display while other pieces might be leased to the Nickel Plate Express, a tourist railroad that operates between Atlanta, Indiana, and Noblesville.

Cooke said the city plans to clean up the museum site and transform it into a tourist attraction and southern terminal for the non-profit Nickel Plate Express.

The Nickel Plate Express began operating in 2018 over a former Nickel Plate branch line that once ran between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana.

It used a former Erie Mining Company F9 locomotive and former Santa Fe Hi-Level cars once used by Amtrak.

The portion of the branch between Noblesville and Indianapolis was in previous years used by ITM for its annual Indiana Fairtrain and other excursions.

That right of way is in the process of being dismantled for the establishment of a hiking and biking trail.

Sold this week during the auction were U.S. Navy boxcar No. 4828; Pennsylvania Railroad boxcar No. 497329; Milwaukee Road refrigerator car No. 37191; wooden outside-braced boxcar No. 2, which is believed to be of Wabash Railroad heritage; and PRR Railway Post Office Car No. 6523.

Going unsold were former Amtrak (Great Northern), steam generator car no. 661; Milwaukee Road EMD FP7A no. 96C, which currently wears a Monon Railroad livery; Milwaukee Road EMD F7B No. 68B; PRR Pullman sleeper No. 8007, Philadelphia County; and Santa Fe stainless steel coaches Nos. 3083 and 2400.

Cook said the city has not established when it will scrap the equipment it doesn’t plan to display or provide to Nickel Plate Express.

The museum was evicted from Forest Park in July 2018 by the city and dozens of locomotives and rail cars from its collection were moved elsewhere.

ITM retained possession of some equipment that it moved to Logansport, Indiana, where it hopes to establish a new museum site.

The collection also included Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587, which was moved to a museum in Kentucky.

No Bids Yet in ex-ITM Equipment Auction

September 11, 2019

Although it got off to a slow start with no bids being received, the company overseeing the sale of “abandoned” railroad rolling stock that once belonged to the Indiana Transportation Museum said that was to be expected.

The auction began on Monday and involves 17 pieces of equipment that for legal purposes is considered to have been abandoned to the city after ITM was evicted in July 2018 from its 50-year home in Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana.

John Susheck of brokerage firm Ozark Mountain Railcar told Trains magazine that no bids had yet been received for the equipment, but he expects that to change today (Sept. 11) because in his experience bidders typically wait for the last day of an auction to submit a bid.

“Every auction we’ve ever done has gone this way,” Susheck said. “Everyone is afraid if they place a bid now, someone would outbid them. It’s always at the last minute that everyone places bids. It’s kind of annoying, but that’s the way it works.”

Susheck said several items have seen significant traffic on Ozark Mountain’s website.

These have included former Milwaukee Road EMD F7A No. 96C and Pennsylvania Railroad Pullman sleeper No. 8007, Philadelphia County.

Any equipment that is sold will need to be removed by truck. Unsold equipment will be scrapped.

“I hate to see anything get cut up, but that place there has been mismanaged for a very long time and it was bound to happen,” he said. “It’s sad, but it is what is.”

Abandoned ITM Cars, Locomotives Up for Sale

September 9, 2019

The remaining pieces of the collection of the Indiana Transportation Museum that were left behind at its former home in Noblesville, Indiana, will hit the auction block today.

The auction is being conducted by equipment broker Ozark Mountain Railcar and includes two locomotives, a heater car and several passenger cars.

Starting at 7 a.m., on Sept. 9, the broker will accept bids through 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.

The reserve bid on some equipment is $950 while the reserve for the locomotives and heater cars is $4,800 each.

Equipment that is not sold during the auction will be scrapped.

ITM was evicted following a legal fight from its 50-year home at Forest Park in Noblesville in July 2018.

The museum did preserve some equipment that it hopes to display in Logansport, Indiana.

It is reportedly seeking to purchase track from the Logansport & Eel River Railroad on which to operate and store its equipment.

Among the equipment being sold at the auction are:

Former Amtrak (Great Northern), steam generator car no. 661, a 1950-built B-unit rebuilt by Amtrak into a steam generator for passenger service.

Former Milwaukee Road EMD FP7A No. 96C, a 1951-built locomotive currently painted in a Monon Railroad livery.

Former Milwaukee Road EMD F7B No. 68B, a 1950-built locomotive.

Former Pennsylvania Railroad Railway Post Office car No. 6523, a 1911-built RPO baggage car built by PRR’s Altoona shops.

Former PRR Pullman sleeper No. 8007, the Philadelphia County. A 13-bedroom sleeper, the roller-bearing-equipped car was retired in 1967 after 30 years of service on trains including the Broadway Limited.

Former Santa Fe stainless steel coaches Nos. 3083 and 2400. The cars are 1938 and a 1939 respectively Budd-built long-distance coaches, both of which have been used as a parts source for other cars. The reserve price on each car is $3,200.

Other items up for sale include Milwaukee Road refrigerator car No. 37191; Lake Erie & Western camp car no. X50571; PRR box car No. 497329; Swift Premium refrigerator cars Nos. 25011, 25019 and 25023; U.S. Navy boxcar No. 4828; Louisville & Nashville box car No. 112088; a wooden Wabash box car; and a wooden, outside-braced boxcar believed to have been built for the Wabash Railroad.

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Contract Reached to Sell Ex-NKP Branch Line in Indiana

August 6, 2019

The chances of a former Nickel Plate Road branch line near Indianapolis being saved for possible rail may have suffered a fatal blow last week when the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority reached an agreement with A&K Railroad Materials to sell 22 miles of track.

The Utah-based company is expected to begin pulling up the rails in 30 days. Following that, work will begin on creating a hiking and biking path to be known as the Nickel Plate Trail.

Under the contract, A&K will pay $289,000 for ownership of the track.

Five companies submitted bids to buy the track, which is in place between Noblesville and 38th Street in Indianapolis.

The line has been idle for the past two years after the Port Authority revoked the permission of the Indiana Transportation Museum to use the line for excursion service.

ITM had operated the Indiana Fairtrain between Fishers and the fairgrounds in Indianapolis. In past years the Fairtrain originated near Noblesville. The Fairtrain last operated three years ago.

News reports indicate that A&K plans to sell the track for scrap.

The Nickel Plate Trail will be 4.5 miles in length in Fishers and Noblesville, and 13 miles in length in Indianapolis. It will connect at the fairgrounds with the Monon Trail, which is also built on an abandoned railroad right of way.

Officials have said this will create a 40-mile loop linking Indianapolis, Carmel Westfield, Noblesville and Fishers.

Although the U.S. Surface Transportation Board has allowed the ex-NKP line to be railbanked, meaning it could be rebuilt as a rail line, officials say that seldom occurs.

Advocates for rail service on the ex-NKP line sought to promote a plan of having the trail and the rails co-exist, but Hamilton County officials rejected that on safety grounds. They also contended it would be too expensive.

An Ohio-based company, U.S. Rail Holdings, unsuccessfully sought to get the STB to force the cities to sell it the tracks so it operate freight trains.

Some of the companies that bid in response to a request for proposals to buy the tracks have since suggested that A&K may have overstated the amount of recyclable materials that can be salvaged and underestimated the amount of work involved in removing it.

Three of the five bidders didn’t offer to pay the Port Authority anything for the tracks and instead sought payment of $150,000 to remove them. The fourth bidder offered the Port Authority $7,300.

A report in the Indianapolis Star indicated that A&K will not be removing the rails at road crossings and repaving the torn-up streets afterward, which some estimated could cost more than $1 million.

“I don’t see how the metal alone can bring them that much in salvage fees,” said Joe Conjerti, co-owner of bidder Ohio-based Treno Service.

Another bidder cited the volatile price of scrap metal.

“It is risky,” said James Vibbert, vice president of Indiana-based All Track. “Steel prices are down, and the tonnage they [the cities] advertised was not tonnage that’s there.”

The track in question is owned by the cities of Fishers and Noblesville along with Hamilton County.

Four other companies decided after inspecting the tracks not to bid on the project because, they said, much of it the track was not salvageable because of deterioration or because it was not a coveted steel weight. They said they would be hard-pressed to make their money back.