Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad’

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.

ITM Being Evicted from Noblesville Home

December 28, 2017

The Indiana Transportation Museum is being evicted by the City of Noblesville from its site in Forest Park after its lease expires next March.

The city has cited its discontent with the manner in which the museum has maintained the property, which the city says needs to undergo an environmental cleanup.

In response Museum Chairman John McNichols said the eviction is a ploy by the city to bankrupt the museum, seize its equipment and then give it to a new operator of an excursion service that is expected to begin next year.

Saying that conditions at the museum are no worse than at an auto garage, McNichols claims the city is banking on the fact that moving the railroad equipment at the museum will be too expensive to do by truck.

City spokesman Robert Harrington disputed McNichols claims, saying the city wants the site cleared out as soon as possible so environmental cleanup can begin.

“We don’t want anything. We want remediation to begin so we can see what is safe to go there,” Herrington said.

ITM has been housed in Forest Park since 1965 and until 2016 operated excursion trains on a former Nickel Plate Branch line through Noblesville that once extended between Indianapolis and Michigan, City, Indiana.

Much of that branch has since been abandoned, but the tracks between Indianapolis and Atlanta, Indiana, are now owned by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority.

The Authority, which is controlled in part by the cities of Noblesville and Fishers, refused to allow ITM to operate over the tracks in 2016, citing safety concerns.

Earlier this year, city officials in Fishers announced plans to remove the track between Noblesville and Indianapolis and convert it into a hiking and biking trail.

The Port Authority later selected the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad to operate excursion trains between Noblesville and Arcadia.

Noblesville officials also requested an inspection of the museum grounds by state environmental officials in response to complaints about leaking oil drums.

That inspection, conducted by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency, found a host of environmental and health hazards, including PCBs and several rail cars believed to contain asbestos.

The city contends that museum officials have listed 1,064 items for waste containment and disposal.

“The ITM has not shown good stewardship with the resources entrusted to them for more than 50 years,” said Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear said in a statement. “The City of Noblesville is taking these proactive measures now to protect our residents and our heritage, to ensure Forest Park is cleaned up and to bring the trains back to our community with a new operator.”

ITM earlier this year signed an agreement to house at least some of its collection in Logansport, Indiana

Logansport Mayor David Kitchell wants ITM to make the Cass County city its permanent home.

“I talked to Mayor Ditslear about giving the ITM some extra time to move their assets if they need it,” Kitchell said. “We have about three sites that [the museum] could move into here.”

ITM has about $3 million in equipment, including eight locomotives, box cars and historical artifacts. About 30,000 people visit the museum each year.

Indiana Fair Train Won’t Be Returning

August 2, 2017

The Indiana Fair Train is no more. The Hamilton County Commissioners along with city officials in Fishers and Noblesville have agree to pull up the rails that the Fair train once used between Noblesville and the fairgrounds in Indianapolis and convert the right of way into a hiking and biking trail.

However, the plans including preserving the rails north of Noblesville and allowing a tourist train operator to use them.

The 37-mile former Nickel Plate Road branch line is owned by the county and the two cities.

Under the recently announced plan, nine miles of the branch will be converted to a trail with 28 miles available for rail operations.

The Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad has been chosen to be the operator of the rail line that is being preserved.

The fair train and other excursions over the NKP branch had been operated until 2016 by the Indiana Transportation Museum, which is currently based in Noblesville but has announced plans to relocate to Logansport, Indiana.

Selection of an operator was recently made by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which manages the line.

The authority received five applications to operate the ex-NKP branch and gave the highest score to Iowa Pacific Holdings, which until early this year operated the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State in conjunction with Amtrak.

However, Iowa Pacific wanted to operate the line south of Noblesville and provide freight service. That was at odds with the desire of the cities to remove the rails there to create a trail.

“The proposal  . . . allows for the preservation of the train going north from Noblesville while providing a year-round recreational trail amenity for our residents,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “The Nickel Plate Railroad played an important role in our history as a city and I believe the Nickel Plate Trail will honor that history while creating an amenity that so many of our residents have requested.”