Posts Tagged ‘Mad River & Nickel Plate Railroad Museum’

Museum Moves NKP 757 Indoors

July 28, 2020

A former Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive how part of the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has been moved indoors.

In a post on its Facebook page the museum said it moved Berkshire-type locomotive No. 757 to the new Mary Cooper restoration building.

Once the locomotive undergoes a cosmetic restoration it will be moved outside to a display structure that has yet to be built.

The post noted that moving the 2-8-5 No. 757 indoors was a bittersweet move because many museum visitors have enjoyed seeing it.

“After spending the past 75 years outside the locomotive will need some attention to preserve it for the future,” the museum said.

It said special events are being planned so the public can view the 757 in its current location during the restoration process, which is expected to last a few years.

Mad River & NKP Museum Sets Holiday Caboose Rides

December 4, 2019

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will conduct its 5th annual Holiday Train event in Bellevue on Saturday and Sunday.

The hours are noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 per person with tickets available at the museum on the day of the event.

The event designed for young children and families and offers a short ride on one of the museum’s cabooses.

The cabooses are heated and enable visitors to experience the same ride as railroaders of a bygone era. The ride will last about 10 minutes.

Participants can enjoy hot coco and cookies (included with the ticket price) in a 1927 Nickel Plate Road diner.

Santa Claus will be greeting children in Monument Station where the gift shop will be open and selling train related items including books, DVDs, apparel, toys, memorabilia and collectibles.

All proceeds from this event will go directly to support the museum.

Due to the historical nature of the equipment used for this event, cabooses and dining car are not handicap accessible.

What I Came to See

July 18, 2019

Let the record show that my last railfan outing as a resident of Northeast Ohio was a trip to Bellevue on June 15 to take part in the annual Bellevue Day of the Forest City Division of the Railroad Enthusiasts, a Cleveland-based group.

And let the record show that the weather that day was lousy. It was overcast and I encountered rain en route that would be off and on until late afternoon when it became a steady rain.

My camera never made it out of the bag although I made a few images with my iPhone, including this wedgie shot of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 757.

I wasn’t going to leave Bellevue without getting an image of the Berkshire, which is the most recent addition to the collection of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum.

You’ve probably heard the story of how during its working life No. 757 was based in Bellevue. After retiring in June 1957, the 757 was stored for several years in Bellevue with the intent of it being donated to the city for static display.

But the city didn’t have the money to create a display site and the Mad River museum had not yet been created.

So the 757 went off to a Pennsylvania museum where it was on display for many years.

In time the Mad River group raised money and worked out a deal to bring the 757 back to Bellevue.

Fundraising to create a suitable display pavilion for the 757 is ongoing and for now it is located in the coach yard along Southwest Street.

Seeing a break in the rain I went for a visit and created this photograph. I don’t know when I’ll get back to Bellevue, but it might be a while.

When that happens I have unfinished business to take care of, namely getting another image of this Berk in better light. Maybe by then the restoration will be farther along.

Remember the Nickel Plate

May 2, 2018

Railroad museums exist to keep alive memories of the past as well as to show what it looked like.

Given that Bellevue was a major point on the Nickel Plate Road, it is not surprising that the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum seeks to illuminate that railroad’s heritage.

During a visit to Bellevue earlier this year I noticed that the museum has recently repainted a caboose in NKP markings.

I imagine that at one time having radio communications capability was seen as a major technological advance.

NKP 757 to be Acquired by Bellevue Museum

August 2, 2017

Two museums have worked out an agreement that will result in a former Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive moving to Ohio.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum said this week that the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania has agreed to send it NKP No. 757.

In Bellevue, the 757 will be placed on static display. NKP 757 is a 2-8-4 Berkshire-type that was built by Lima Locomotives Works in 1944.

“We are very excited to be able to bring the 757 back to Bellevue,” said Made River museum President Chris Beamer. “The absence of a mainline steam locomotive in our collection has been something we have wanted to correct for a long time.”

No. 757 last operated on June 15, 1958. The Nickel Plate had intended to donate it to the city of Bellevue, but it lacked a suitable place to display it.

The locomotive was stored in Bellevue for several years before being donated to the Pennsylvania museum in 1966.

Moving the 757 will cost $250,000 and the Mad River museum is raising funds to pay for that. It has launched a website to provide further information about the fundraising campaign.

The Mad River museum has more than 50 pieces of equipment displayed or stored on 10 acres of property and five buildings. It describes itself as having the most extensive collection of NKP equipment and artifacts of any museum.

Negotiations to bring NKP 757 to Bellevue began earlier this year. The Mad River museum will own the 757 once it has been removed from its current site in Pennsylvania.

You Mean Penn Central Had Business Cars?

August 17, 2016

PC car 01-x

We all know that Penn Central didn’t care much for passenger trains. Scarcely had it begun operations following the Feb. 1, 1968, merger of the New York Central and Pennsylvania railroads when it began seeking to remove intercity passenger trains as quickly as regulators would allow.

PC’s attempt in March 1970 to remove nearly all passenger trains operating west of Buffalo, New York, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, helped prod Congress into creating Amtrak.

Knowing that history probably was the reason why earlier this year I was surprised to see a former Penn Central business car sitting at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue.

You mean Penn Central had business cars? Isn’t that the company that despised passenger trains?

I can’t recall having seen photographs of PC business cars but it made sense that PC would have a business car fleet because all large railroads had them.

Shown here is RPCX No. 7, which is now named The Seven.

I wasn’t able to find out much about the history of this car other than it was originally owned by the New York Central and, later, by the late Ted Church of Erie, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Church had acquired the car from a mayor of a city in New Jersey near Fort Monmouth and had it shipped to East Erie Commercial Railroad.

Along with his wife, Sally, Mr. Church lived on the car during the winter when they and their car would migrate to the Hartwell Railroad in Georgia. The Seven also operated on steam excursions out of Bellevue.

Mr. Church willed the car to the Mad River museum, which took ownership of it after his death.

In recent times, the car was leased for a time to the Dennison Railroad Museum before it was returned to Bellevue.

The car appears to be in good condition, at least for display at a museum.

I tried to imagine PC executives riding in this car on the back of the Broadway Limited, Pennsylvanian Limited, Manhattan Limited, the Spirit of St. Louis or unnamed Nos. 63 and 64.

I did find in a book about Penn Central passenger service a couple photographs of No. 7 in the consist of a PC passenger train.

Still, it is difficult to imagine PC executives wanting to travel between Philadelphia and Chicago in this car and having to endure some rough track.

Nonetheless, with a little imagination I could picture Alfred Perlman or Stuart Saunders on the open platform of No. 7 inspecting their property.

They couldn’t have liked much of what they saw so they probably went back inside the car for the remainder of the trip.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

PC car 02-x

PC car 03-x

PC car 04-x

PC car 05-x

Sights at Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

July 2, 2016


Last Saturday I went to Bellevue for the 40th anniversary of the Mad River and Nickel Plate museum.

Flagg Coal No. 75 was on hand giving caboose rides on the museum grounds. The two cabooses were recently repainted for the occasion.

NKP No. 783, a Wheeling & Lake Erie design but built for the Nickel Plate Road, was acquired last year.

NW 557981, a bay window caboose built for the Illinois Terminal, is a NYC design. The museum has owned this caboose for years.

Another piece of equipment with new paint is Wabash 671. An EMD F7, locomotive it hasn’t looked this good since it left the EMD factory floor.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon




Bellevue Museum Hosting Rail Festival Saturday

August 13, 2015
Photographers will not have to dodge traffic on Ohio Route 4 to get images like this one of trains using the hump in Bellevue's Moorman Yard. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

Photographers will not have to dodge traffic on Ohio Route 4 to get images like this one of trains using the hump in Bellevue’s Moorman Yard. (Photograph by Craig Sanders)

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum is sponsoring a railroad festival on Saturday (Aug. 15) at the Kemper Rail Park.

In conjunction with the festival, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Ohio Department of Transportation will close the outside southbound lane of Ohio Route 4 above Moorman Yard from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Parking will be available along Miller Road and photographers will be permitted to take pictures from the overpass of the operations of the hump yard.

The festival begins at 8 a.m. and the museum will host railfans for 24 hours of train watching. The Kemper Rail Park is located at the west end of Norfolk Southern’s Bellevue Terminal, the largest classification rail yard on NS and the second largest in the United States.

One hundred train movements per day through this area are possible with some trains having “foreign” locomotives.

Portable restrooms will be at the rail park and local restaurants will be offering specials and extended hours during the event.

Extended hours also will be offered at the museum with portable lighting in place for nighttime photography of NS trains and museum exhibits.

All activities at the museum grounds will be available at the regular admission price of $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $4 for children ages 3-12

There is no admission to enjoy the Rail Park. Additional activities may be added.

The Third Train was a Real Charm

March 31, 2013
Norfolk Southern train No. 310 with the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive in the lead saunters through Kimball late Saturday morning. At least four other Akron Railroad Club members would catch this train father down the line.

Norfolk Southern train No. 310 with the Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive in the lead saunters through Kimball late Saturday morning. At least six other Akron Railroad Club members would catch this train father down the line.

The forecast for Saturday called for mostly sunny skies so I just had to get out somewhere to photograph some trains. I thought about going to Berea, but I’ll be there next Saturday for the Akron Railroad Club’s Dave McKay Day.

I thought about going to Marion to try to get some Kansas City Southern power on the Q109 shuttle train. But I was told that that train doesn’t operate on Saturdays.

So I decided to do Bellevue on the chance that a heritage locomotive or two might show up.

The NS 8100, the Nickel Plate Road heritage unit, was reported to be in Bellevue. As I arrived in town, I spotted a grain train heading south (railroad east) on the Sandusky District.

I had a vague recollection that I had read online that a heritage unit – maybe the NKP one – had been in the power consist of a grain train delivered to Clyde on the Toledo District.

Could this be that train going somewhere else? I hot footed it southbound toward Frank, but got there too late to get a photograph. And there were no heritage units on this train.

I arrived back in Bellevue to see a slow train passing the Mad River & Nickel Plate Road Museum. There were a high number of Canadian National cars in the consist and I guessed that this was the 184, which always has CN power on the lead.

My guess was correct, but I had missed out on photographing this train. Strike 2!

I got situated in the parking lot across from the old interlocking tower that once guarded the crossing of the four railroads that served Bellevue.

I heard the yardmaster talking on the radio to train 310 with the NS 8100. That number sounded familiar. Was this the NKP heritage unit?

I called Roger Durfee to see if he knew about any heritage units being near or likely to reach Bellevue today.

He replied that the NKP unit was buried in the yard. I told him about hearing on the radio the 310 with the NS 8100.

Bingo. That’s the NKP locomotive. Roger was out photographing the Illinois Terminal heritage unit at Avon Lake but got excited about the prospect of catching the NKP heritage unit on the former NKP mainline.

I looked over my DeLorme Atlas and decided to try photographing the 310 at Kimball, a small town just east of Bellevue Yard. I’d never been there before but had a hazy recollection of having seen photos taken with NKP-style block signals in the image.

On the drive there, I confirmed that the 184 had CN power as I could see it working in the yard.

I found Kimball but the NKP-style block signals at the east end of the siding had been replaced by newer models.

I decided to use the signals as a prop along with an unused spur that leads to an old grain elevator.

The wait for the 310 seemed to be agonizingly slow. I had seen two trains thus far and had not been able to photograph either of them, only watch them roll by.

Every so often I’d hear the 310 talking on the radio. About 11, the 310 said it was ready to head east, but nothing happened.

The wait ended shortly before 11:30. I could see a headlight to the west and I confirmed through my telephoto lens that this was the 8100.

Man, those gold stripes on the nose never looked so good as they did coming down the track on this day.

Later, I found two more Nickel Plate “heritage locomotives” in Bellevue. But these are in a museum. I’m sure they’ve been past that grain elevator in Kimball many times.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

NS 8100 crosses over the switch of the spur track to a grain elevator. The elevator is still in use, it appears, but the track is seldom used, if it is used at all these days.

NS 8100 crosses over the switch of the spur track to a grain elevator. The elevator is still in use, it appears, but the track is seldom used, if it is used at all these days.

Splitting the signals at the east end of the Kimball siding.

Splitting the signals at the east end of the Kimball siding.

NS 8100 was not the only Nickel Plate heritage unit that I saw on Saturday.

NS 8100 was not the only Nickel Plate heritage unit that I saw on Saturday.

A pair of Nickel Plate diesels in the Mad River & Nickel Plate Road Musuem in Bellevue.

A pair of Nickel Plate diesels in the Mad River & NKP Railroad Musuem in Bellevue.