Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road steam locomotives’

Charting the Surviving NKP Berkshire Locomotives

September 26, 2019

Former Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 755 is only surviving NKP Berkshire that gets to watch a passenger train pass by twice a day.

With Nickel Plate Road Berkshire-type No. 765 in the spotlight this week on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, Ed Ribinskas decided to dip into his photo archives and create a montage of images of the six surviving NKP Berks.

The NKP acquired 80 Berkshires with the first 15 in the series being built by the American Locomotive Company. The Lima Locomotive Works built the remaining 65 engines.

NKP No. 755 has been on static display in Conneaut, Ohio, adjacent to the former New York Central passenger station, since October 1964.

Retired in April 1958, it sat in storage until being donated by the railroad to the Conneaut Historical Railroad Museum. It was recently given a new coat of paint.

In the photograph above, No. 755 is greeting the passage of Amtrak’s eastbound Lake Shore Limited, which has the Phase I heritage livery on P42DC No. 156.

You can see all of the gauges, levers and controls of the 755 just as the crew saw them in the 1950s because the cab is protected from the elements by a Plexiglas barrier.

NKP No. 757 sat for many years on display at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania near Strasburg after arriving there in 1964.

The 757 had been set aside for display in Bellevue, Ohio, but the city couldn’t afford the cost of setting up a display for it. So it went to Pennsylvania.

The two images of No. 757 below at the Pennsylvania museum were made in June 2015.

Since then the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue has acquired the 757 and plans to build a special shelter for it. It is shown in Bellevue in September 2019 after having arrived there last February.

NKP No. 759 is in the collection of Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

The 759 was restored to operating condition in 1968 and the following year pulled the Golden Spike Centennial excursion. It also pulled other excursions in the East until October 1973.

It is shown at Steamtown in October 2015.

NKP No. 763 was in the collection of the Virginia Transportation Museum where it is shown in July 1987.

The late Jerry Jacobson acquired it in 2007 and moved it to his Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugarcreek, Ohio, where it is shown on June 1, 2013, during an Akron Railroad Club tour.

One former NKP Berkshire is still in Lima where it was built.

NKP No. 779 was the last steam locomotive built by Lima and was released on May 13, 1949.

It is shown in Lincoln Park in Lima where it has been since 1963.

Finally, there is NKP No. 765 whose story is well known. It sat in a park in Fort Wayne, Indiana, until being restored to operating condition by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society 40 years ago.

It is shown below pulling an excursion at Avon Lake Sept. 27, 1987, back in the days of the Norfolk Southern steam program, and during moves in Ohio in 2015 on NS rails.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

NKP 757 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

NKP 757 on display in Pennsylvania not long before it moved to Ohio.

No. 757 is back in Bellevue.

No. 759 on display at Steamtown. It was part of the original collection of Steamtown USA.


NKP 763 when it was on display in Roanoke, Virginia.

NKP 763 is awaiting restoration to operating condition at the Age of Steam Roundhouse.

NKP No. 779 in Lincoln Park in Lima, Ohio.

At Avon Lake, Ohio, on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline on Sept. 27, 1987.

NKP 765 charges through tiny Dorset, Ohio, in Ashtabula County on July 23, 2015, on the NS Youngstown Line en route to Youngstown.

A Nickel Plate steam locomotive crosses a trestle built by the Nickel Plate to cross the Grand River in Painesville, Ohio. The 765 was making a ferry move to Ashtabula, Ohio, in July 2015.

Museum Planning Berkday Party for NKP 757

June 18, 2019


Nickel Plate Road 757 is currently on public display on one of the coach yard tracks at the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum.

In what is being billed as a Berkday celebration, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue will mark the 75th birthday of Nickel Plate Road No. 757 on Aug. 17.

The Berkshire-type locomotive will be feted during a party that is in part a fund-raising event to raise money to continue the restoration of the engine built in Lima, Ohio.

No. 757 was based in Bellevue during its revenue service days. Retired in June 1958, the steamer was stored in Bellevue into the 1960s with the intent of donating it to the city for static display.

But the city lacked a railroad museum and didn’t have the resources to afford to create a display location.

The locomotive was moved to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania which displayed it for several years.

Mad River and the Pennsylvania museum in 2017 worked out a deal that would send the 757 back to Bellevue, where it arrived last February.

Tickets for the Berkday party will cost $75 per person and include admission to the museum as well as access to the cab of the 757.

The festivities will begin at the museum’s former New York Central freight house with a program explaining the history of the 757, how it was returned to Bellevue and the museum’s plans to display and use the locomotive.

Participants will then enjoy a barbecue buffet and birthday cake catered by Bone Boys BBQ in a 1927 NKP dining car parked next to the freight house. There will also be 757 merchandise for sale.

Presentations and meals will start at 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at the museum during regular business hours or by calling  419-483-2222 or 567-228-9866.

They can also be purchased online at Online sales will incur a $3 handling fee.

The party will be held rain or shine and no refunds will be given unless cancelled by the museum due to unforeseen circumstances.

No tickets will be sold at the door on the day of the event.

All proceeds will be used for the restoration and display of locomotive 757.

What’s in the Numbering of a NKP Steam Locomotive? Mystery, Intrigue and Subterfuge

August 31, 2016
NKP 765

Nickel Plate Road 765 pauses at Canton during a visit to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. When it returns in September it will be No. 767, a number it once wore as a stationary exhibit.

The visit of Nickel Plate Road 767, a.k.a., NKP 765, to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next month has been getting attention that the locomotive’s owner has been able to cash in.

“It’s handy when a nod to history can be good programming and also create some buzz. It’s already stimulated more ticket sales for our upcoming trips at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September,” wrote Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society vice president Kelly Lynch on

Recently, the FtWHS renumbered 765 to 767 for ceremonies held at an open house to reveal plans for the Headwaters Junction park that will eventually serve as the home base for the 765.

As part of that, the 765 was given number 767, which it wore during the decade it was on display in Lawton Park in Fort Wayne.

The story of how 765 became 767 and then 765 again goes back to the late 1950s when the NKP was retiring the last of its steam locomotives.

The NKP had 80 2-8-4 Berkshire type locomotives built in the 1940s by Lima Locomotive Works.

No. 767 was chosen to participate in a celebration held Oct. 4, 1955, to mark the completion of a track elevation project through Fort Wayne, Indiana, that resulted in the closure of several street crossings. Its role was to break the ceremonial ribbon across the tracks.

Nearly three years later, No. 767 was stored serviceable, but never returned to service.

Because of its participation in the 1955 ceremony, the City of Fort Wayne asked the NKP to donate the 767 for display in Lawton Park.

Reportedly, East Wayne Roundhouse Foreman, A.H. “Hap” Adang decided that No. 765 was in much better condition than the 767 and to donate it instead.

The 767 had been stored outside and vandalized. The 765, though, had been stored indoors, had been a crew favorite on the Chicago-Fort Wayne run, and was mechanically complete.

Workers renumbered the 765 to 767 and the real 767 was scrapped in 1964. For years no one was the wiser except a handful of NKP employees and any friends they had told about the number swap.

After the FtWRHS was formed in 1972, its member began hearing reports about the number swap that had taken place more than a decade earlier.

As they disassembled the 767, they found parts marked 765. The steam dome also had the manufacturer’s date for the 765. Lynch explained in a TO posting that the 765 never actually operated as No. 767.

Another FtWRHS member posting on TO said the NKP did not change the monthly, annual or Form 4 documents at Cleveland headquarter to match, so when the fake “765” went off to Chicago to be scrapped in 1964, the ICC Form 4s for the real 765 were trashed by the Interstate Commerce Commission

“That was a problem when we got the 765 ready to return to service in 1979,” he wrote. “We then had to have a mechanical engineer reconstruct the documents and certify the boiler calculations to put her back into service.”

He said that monthly inspection reports for the 765 in December 1958 show that for two days it was in stationary service, thus making the 765 the last Berkshire under steam at the Nickel Plate.

Further investigation revealed that there were ways to distinguish the 767 from the 765.

The 767 had been rebuilt after colliding in Fort Wayne with a Wabash passenger train on July 15, 1951.

That accident, which killed four people and injured 13, occurred when the engineer of Wabash train No. 13 mistakenly thought the clear signal at the diamonds for NKP train No. 51 was for his train.

The 767 struck the Wabash train in the buffet car at 10:22 p.m. after the 767 engineer applied his train’s emergency brakes. Both trains derailed.

No. 767 was rebuilt at the Conneaut shops and returned to service. In the process, the 767 received a six-sided number board.

Lynch said that the locomotive placed in Lawton Park had a flat, hand-painted headlight number board. Home address numerals were placed in the “flying” number boards.

The faux 767 was placed in Lawton Park on May 4, 1963. Ten years later it was removed from the park to begin restoration, which was completed in 1979.

The 765 has operated under other numbers on occasion including in 1993 when it ran as Chesapeake & Ohio No. 2765. It made trips in that disguise between Akron and Pittsburgh that August.

The FtWRHS has indicated that the 765 will continue to operate as the 767 for the remainder of 2016.

And that brings us back to a question someone asked recently as to whether the 767 number plate is original. For that matter, is the number plate of the 765 an original.

In his posting on TO, Lynch showed a photograph of the 765 at East Wayne shops in the early 1960s sans its number plate and number boards.

They may have been scrapped in 1964, might be in someone’s basement or one or more of them might still exist.

There is always a little mystery surrounding a restored steam locomotive.

Say Hello to NKP No. 767, a.k.a. NKP 765

August 20, 2016

Say goodbye to Nickel Plate Road No. 765 and hello to NKP No. 767. At least for now.

The Fort Wayne Railroad  Historical Society on Friday announced that it has renumbered its 2-8-4 Berkshire and it will be sporting No. 767 when it runs on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad next month.

NKP 765The number change was made in conjunction with an announcement of plans for the Headwaters Junction in downtown Fort Wayne, a railroad themed park.

Why No. 767? Because that was the number of the Nickel Plate steam locomotive that was hand in October 1955 to help Fort Wayne officials celebrate the opening of a $9 million track elevation project.

NKP 767 broke a ceremonial ribbon more than 60 years ago for the track elevation project.

When the NKP was retiring its steam locomotives, Fort Wayne interests asked the railroad to donate No. 767 for display in the city’s Lawton Park

Instead, Fort Wayne received No. 765 because railroad managers believe it to be in be condition for preservation. Railroad officials said the 767 was in rough condition.

No. 765 had regularly operated between Fort Wayne and Chicago and was a favorite among NKP crews.

However, when the 765 was placed in the park, its number board and number plate had been switched with the 767 and shop forces had repainted No. 767 on the  locomotive and tender.

Number 767 remained in place until 1974 when the Fort Wayne society began restoring the Lawton Park locomotive to operating condition.

Wanting to be historically accurate, the society renumbered it 765 to accurately reflect what it had been when built in Lima, Ohio, in 1944.

Society spokesman Kelly Lynch said the 767 number will stay on for the remainder of 2016.

The locomotive will have a 767 number plate and lighted number board. Magnetic numbers have been added to the sides of the cab and rear of the tender.

Also new on the locomotive is an oscillating red Mars light to the front of the smokebox and above the headlight.

Lynch noted that NKP Berkshires operated with such lights in the 1950s. The Mars light on the 765 was removed during its 1975 restoration work.

No. 767 will pull trips on the CVSR on Sept. 17, 18, 24 and 25 and tickets are now on sale for those excursions.