Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road No. 587’

Steam Saturday: Double Header in Bellevue

March 20, 2021

How is this for a steam double header? It’s June 17, 1989, in Bellevue and Norfolk & Western J Class 4-8-4 No. 611 and Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 light Mikado No. 587 have teamed up for an Independence Limited trip that began in Cleveland and would pause overnight later today in Muncie, Indiana.

The train’s ultimate destination was the National Railway Historical Society Convention in Roanoke, Virginia.

The 611 had earlier this month pulled excursions between Buffalo and Ashtabula, and even did a Conneaut-Bellevue round trip.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

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.”

Many Never to Operate Again

July 22, 2020

Pennsylvania Railroad 1223 at Carpenters on the Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania on Sept. 8, 1989.

Back in 1989 I saw such a variety of steam operating on main lines, branch lines and tourist railroads. Many of us thought this would be around for yearly outings. As it turned out it was not to be. Shown here are some of the locomotives that were operating in 1989 but now may never return in operation.

Article and Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Nickel Plate Road 587 at McComb, Ohio, June 17, 1989.

Canadian Pacific 1238 on Alleghany Central at Frostburg, Maryland, on Aug. 31, 1989.

Canadian Pacific 2317 on Tunkhannock Viaduct at Nicholson, Pennsylvania, Sept. 4, 1989.

PRR 1223 on the Strasburg Rail Road on Sept. 8, 1989.

Canadian Pacific 1278 on the Gettysburg Railroad at Biglerville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 9, 1989.

Canadian Pacific 1278 at Idaville, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 9, 1989.

Ringling Bros. & Barnum & Bailey Circus with Grand Trunk Western 4070 at Peninsula on the Cuyahoga Valley Line on Oct. 28, 1989.

NKP 587 Stranded 24+ Hours in Kentucky

July 12, 2018

Many railroad operating employees have stories to tell about going on duty and their train never turning a wheel during their shift.

Nickel Plate Road No. 587 had a similar experience during its trek from Indiana to Kentucky.

A truck hauling the steam locomotive from the Indiana Transportation Museum to a new home in Ravenna, Kentucky, got stuck for more than 24 hours on a country road in Madison County, Kentucky.

The driver of the truck, Ted Squier, said he was following the route provided him with a permit from the State of Kentucky when he because stuck between two curves.

He said if he had proceeded he might have flipped the load of his truck, spilling the 2-8-2 Baldwin-built locomotive onto the ground.

Squier said he should never have been routed to this road.

“I was 118 foot long and 185,000 pounds so I had no business being on this road. I should have been on a four-lane highway,” he said.

Two wreckers helped escort his truck out of its predicament.

A nearby resident and several other people worked through the night putting rock down on the road.

“They were out here all night long with bulldozers, the police were out here. They had my entire driveway blocked, wouldn’t let me through. I had to take out the ditch line to come through my house,” said Chad Isaacs, who lives in the area.

The route outlined in the permit had Squirer taking Panola Road in Waco.

NKP 587 Headed for Kentucky

July 3, 2018

Nickel Plate Road 587 is serviced in Logansport, Indiana, in September 1988 during its first revenue run after restoration.

A former Nickel Plate Road Steam locomotive has found a new home at a developing Kentucky railroad museum.

The Indiana Transportation  Museum has agree to move Mikado-type No. 587 to the Kentucky Steam Heritage Corporation, which is developing a museum in Ravenna, Kentucky.

The agreement also included a tool car and an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad Railway Post Office Car. ITM, however, will retain ownership of the 587, but KSHC plans to buy the RPO.

ITM last week lost a court battle to delay its eviction from a Noblesville park and must be out of the park by July 12.

KSHC said in a news release that it will rebuild the 100-year-old 2-8-2 built by Baldwin to operating condition.

The 587 has not operated since 2003 when its Federal Railroad Administration operating permit expired.

The Nickel Plate operated the 587 primarily within Indiana until retiring it in 1955. Until 1983 it was on static display in Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis.

But it was forced to move after its location was chosen to be the site of a new library.

It was restored to operating condition at Amtrak’s Beach Grove shops and pulled its first excursion train in September 1988 on Conrail between Indianapolis and Logansport.

During the late 1980s and early 1990s the 587 operated throughout the eastern United States, including on some trips that were part of the Norfolk Southern steam program.

Restoration of the 587 is not expected to begin immediately. KSHC said the Mikado will be stored until funds can be raised to pay for restoration.

Although ITM has engaged in periodic restoration  efforts, those had largely halted after the museum became embroiled in conflict with the City of Noblesville.

Underwood Machinery Transport of Indianapolis has been hired to move the 587 and other equipment to Kentucky.

That same company was involved in moving the 587 from Broad Ripple Park to the Beach Grove shops.

KSHC is already involved in another steam restoration project, rebuilding former Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2716, which is being leased from the Kentucky Railway Museum

Museum officials said acquiring the 587 will not affect the 2716 restoration project.

KSHC is also involved in developing a museum campus on a former CSX (Louisville & Nashville) yard in Ravenna, which is located 30 miles southeast of Lexington.

It plans to use the ex-RPO it is buying from ITM as a tool car for the 2716.

“We are trying to make the best of a bad situation” said Josh Spencer, ITM board member and director of assets. “We are optimistic that we can reestablish our operations elsewhere and eventually get 587 back running in Indiana again. We appreciate KSHC lending a hand at the 11th hour and getting the engine out of harm’s way.”

ITM and KSHC will share the cost of moving the 587, its tool car and ex-Pennsy RPO. The move is expected to begin on July 3.

ITM Raising Money to Restore NKP 587

November 4, 2017

The Indiana Transportation Museum has launched a fund-raising drive to restore Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive to operating condition.

The locomotive is due for a federally required overhaul. Those who donate to the cause will receive a tee shirt bearing a drawing of the Baldwin-built locomotive.

Built in August 1918 for the Lake Erie & Western, the NKP 587 was based in Frankfort, Indiana, for much of its life and sometimes saw service on the branch between Indianapolis and Michigan City, Indiana.

On the LE&W, the USRA light 2-8-2 locomotive carried roster number 5541. It received its current roster number in 1924.

After its retirement in March 1955, the 587 was donated to the City of Indianapolis, which put it on static display in Broad Ripple Park.

It was removed in 1983 and taken to Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops where it was restored to operating condition. It made its first excursion in September 1988 between Indianapolis and Logansport, Indiana.

Donations can be made at

When the Nickel Plate Road 587 Made its Debut

January 5, 2015

Nickel Plate Road No. 587 pulls its first public excursion train after being restored. The train originated in Indianapolis and traveled via Conrail to Logansport, Ind., and back.

Nickel Plate Road No. 587 pulls its first public excursion train after being restored. The train originated in Indianapolis and traveled via Conrail to Logansport, Ind., and back.

Where were you on the morning of Sept. 17, 1988? If you were a fan of mainline steam locomotives you probably were wishing you could figure out how to be in three places on the same day.

In Ohio, Norfolk & Western No. 611 was pulling a roundtrip between Columbus and Portsmouth. The Nickel Plate Road No. 765 was pulling a one-way ferry move from Bellevue to Brewster.

And over in Indiana the latest mainline steam locomotive to join the list of steamers was making its maiden run after being restored to operating condition.

I was a graduate student at the time at Indiana University. I had found out about the Nickel Plate Road 587 making its first public excursion from Indianapolis to Logansport, Ind., and return and had purchased a ticket to ride.

Sure, I was thrilled to be part of a “first,” but I was also happy to be able to get some new miles over routes that Amtrak’s Floridian had once used and over which I’d never ridden.

The 587 is a 2-8-2 USRA light steam locomotive built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in September 1918 for the Lake Erie & Western. It carried roster number 5541 and was renumbered 587 in 1924 after the Nickel Plate acquired the LE&W.

Retired in March 1955, the 587 was placed on static display in Broad Ripple Park in Indianapolis where it sat until 1983 when it was displaced by a library expansion program.

With the locomotive needing a new home, a group known as “Friends of 587” determined that the steamer could be restored and moved it by truck to Amtrak’s Beech Grove shops for the restoration work.

By fall 1988, the 587 was ready to stretch its legs on a mainline journey after a satisfactory test run on the Indiana Rail Road south of Indianapolis.

Conrail agreed to allow the train to pull a public excursion over a former Pennsylvania Railroad routing between Indy and Logansport.

I use the term “mainline” loosely because the tracks over which the 587 and its train would travel were a secondary line, although not in poor condition.

The Indiana Transportation Museum, which would later acquire ownership of the 587, provided a train of mostly former Santa Fe coaches.

The train boarded at Hanna Avenue in Indianapolis on the Louisville line and made its way north to the Indianapolis Union Railway tracks at IU interlocking, rounding the curve toward Indianapolis Union Station just as the Pennsy’s South Wind and Kentuckian once did.

However, the train ran on the bypass tracks south of the train shed as did Conrail freight trains and as CSX trains do today.

We then followed the route of Amtrak’s Hoosier State and Cardinal westward on the former PRR St. Louis Line to the site of the former Davis Tower where Chicago-bound Pennsy passenger trains made a right turn. The former St. Louis line west of here is abandoned.

Amtrak trains make a left turn off the ex-Pennsylvania at CP Clermont to get onto a former New York Central route, the Peoria & Eastern, but we kept going straight.

Our route took us through Lebanon and Frankfort. At Van Tower in Logansport we went around the wye and backed into town on the former Pan Handle tracks, crossing the Eel River before coming to a stop just east of South Third Street.

I disembarked and took a few photographs and watched the crew service the train. Here are a few of those photos, all of which have been scanned from color negatives.

The journey to and from Logansport was made without incident. The train was no speedster but wasn’t crawling along either.

I don’t recall how close we were to the published schedule, but we probably were not too far off.

I rode behind the 587 twice more before moving away from Indiana in 1991. One trip was a one-way journey in April 1989 from Indianapolis to Bloomington over the INRD and the other was a June 1991 journey over the former LE&W between Frankfort and Muncie.

I would then have one more encounter with the 587, riding an excursion from Indianapolis to Worthington, Ind., and return over another former Pennsy secondary line.

I have not seen the 587 since then and online reports indicate that it is landlocked at the ITM where it continues to undergo another rebuilding.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

The service stop at Logansport enabled passengers to get out and get a good look at the locomotive.

The service stop at Logansport enabled passengers to get out and get a good look at the locomotive.

There is always work to do with a steam locomotive. The crew attends to the NKP 587 in Logansport.

There is always work to do with a steam locomotive. The crew attends to the NKP 587 in Logansport.

Note the boy at left watching the crew service the NKP 587. Is he a steam fan today because he was here on this day?

Note the boy at left watching the crew service the NKP 587. Is he a steam fan today because he was here on this day?

The excursion train sits idle in Logansport during the service stop.

The excursion train sits idle in Logansport during the service stop.

I didn't take notes to accompany my photos, but judging by the tired looks on the faces of some of these passengers I'm guessing that this photo was taken during the return trip.

I didn’t take notes to accompany my photos, but judging by the tired looks on the faces of some of these passengers I’m guessing that this photo was taken during the return trip.

All Aboard for a Day in Northern Ohio

September 22, 2010

The Akron Railroad Club is trying a new event in 2010. On Sunday, September 26, 2010, we will have a Day in Northern Ohio (DINO) set up to record railroad operations in our backyard. The idea is borrowed from a similar annual day in America event sponsored by a railfan magazine.

For DINO, we invite ARRC members to go out and photograph trains at their favorite northern Ohio railfan locations. The results of our efforts will be the feature of the 2011 member’s night program.

The other sidebar to this event is that we would like you to keep a log of the trains that you see during the day. We will add up these numbers to get an idea of exactly how many trains visit the area on this typical Sunday.

You don’t have to travel around to participate in the event. You can just park at your favorite railfanning spot and railfan for the day.

What boundaries do we set for northern Ohio? We don’t mean literally the northern half of the state from the Pennsylvania border to the Indiana and Michigan borders.

The western boundary is the Vermilion River, which Norfolk Southern crosses in Vermilion on the Chicago-Buffalo routes of the former New York Central and Nickel Plate Road.

Another western boundary is Greenwich, a CSX hot spot featuring the crossing of the CSX New Castle Subdivision (former Baltimore & Ohio Chicago-Pittsburgh mainline) and the Greenwich Sub (former Cleveland-St. Louis route of the Big Four).

Within this western territory lies Wellington, the crossroads of the CSX Greenwich Sub and the Wheeling & Lake Erie’s Hartland Sub between Bellevue and Spencer. Nearby Spencer features the crossing of two W&LE routes, the Bellevue-Brewster line and the former Akron, Canton & Youngstown line between Akron and New London.

Berea, of course, is a major northern Ohio hotspot and there are always train watchers there. This is a good mid-point location to check the progress of trains traveling through the area.

To the east, good spots to hang out include Willoughby, Perry, Ashtabula or Conneaut. These places feature action on the Cleveland-Buffalo routes of CSX and NS. Ashtabula is the northern terminus of the NS Youngstown Line while Conneaut is the northern end of the Bessemer & Lake Erie.

To the southeast in Ravenna, the NS Cleveland Line to Pittsburgh passes over the CSX New Castle Sub. Farther west, Bedford in the Cleveland southeast suburbs features some interesting photo spots as well as heavy action on the NS Cleveland line. Although it is doubtful that it will be operating on Sunday, Bedford also hosts the Cleveland Commercial Railroad.

The Akron-Warwick area is important to this event. This is the mid-point of the CSX New Castle Sub. Akron is an important hub of the W&LE, not to mention the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. The Ohio Central and R.J. Corman interchange with CSX at Clinton (Warwick), although in the past year and a half neither railroad has routinely operated on Sundays. Maybe we will get luck this year.

This Sunday will feature a pair of trips on the CVSR pulled by NKP steam locomotive No. 765 that will run out of Akron between the regular CVSR scenic excursions. We will include these CVSR operations in our count.

Train counts and symbols, and other information can be sent by e-mail or regular mail to Bulletin editor Marty Surdyk ( or to ARRC President Craig Sanders (, who is webmaster of the ARRC blog.