Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Express’

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.

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.

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.

Parked Rail Car Became Talk of Indiana Town

August 31, 2018

It seemed like a good idea at the time. An Indiana tourist railroad placed a vintage passenger car on an unused track in downtown Noblesville, Indiana, in part to publicize the launch of an excursion service.

But the city refused to allow them to place a banner on the car, so it sat on the rails for three weeks without anyone knowing why it was there.

“Everybody who comes in here asks about it, and I don’t know what to tell them except ‘It’s there, and it hasn’t moved,” said Rhonda Epp, 43, a bartender for 15 years at Syd’s Fine Foods and Spirits. “Last time I had so many questions about something was when some murderers were on trial across the street.”

The 1929 open window car will be used by the Nickel Plate Express, but the railroad didn’t have a place to put it so it wound up on the courthouse square  in Noblesville where the Nickel Plate Road’s Indianapolis-Michigan City branch ran in the street.

The car is not blocking vehicular traffic, said Dagny Zupin of the NKP Express.

“It’s a very high visibility area, so we are pretty confident nothing will happen to it there,” Zupin said.

The car was used by NKP executives as a business car at one time. It seats 16 passengers and has a kitchen, dining room and lounge room for business meetings, as well as private quarters for a porter and a cook.

Nickel Plate Express expects to start operating on Sept. 15 and the business car will eventually operate on its trains. It will be used for private parties, dinners and corporate meetings as the train shuttles between Atlanta and Cicero.

The car is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corporation.

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.

New Indiana Tourist Railroad Being Planned

October 27, 2017

A new Indiana tourist train operation is making plans to commence operations in spring 2018.

Known as the Nickel Plate Express, the trains will be operated by the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad and use a former NKP branch line between Atlanta and Noblesville, Indiana.

The line once ran between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana, but several portions of it have been abandoned.

The line in Hamilton and Marion counties has been inactive in the past year but had previously been used by the Indiana Transportation Museum.

The cities of Fishers and Noblesville want to abandon the tracks between the latter city and Indianapolis in order to create a hike and bike trail. That matter is now pending before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

Nickel Plate Express will be headquartered at the Arcadia Heritage Depot.

Although the tourist train operator has created a website, it has not listed any schedules, fare information or a service inauguration date.

However, the site said the trains will operate regular excursions Fridays through Sundays along the 12-mile track between Noblesville and Atlanta.

Departures will take place from Noblesville arriving in Cicero, Arcadia and Atlanta; to Noblesville from Atlanta; from Atlanta to Arcadia and the old spur or “Davon Y” between 216th & 221st Streets.

The website can be found at https://www.nickelplateexpress.net/