The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society has reached an agreement with the City of Hammond, Indiana, for the moving of former Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive 624 to an undisclosed site where it will be restored.
Hammond has owned and displayed the 624 since 1955. Deterioration caused by prolonged exposure to the elements prompted discussions between the FtWRHS and the City of Hammond about a new home for the 624, a Mikado-type built in 1922 by Lima Locomotive Works.
FtWRHS officials said that the 624 could be restored to operating condition depending on what the society finds when inspecting it.
Kelly Lynch, a FtWRHS vice president, said space limitations at the society’s shops at New Haven, Indiana, means that the 624 restoration work will be undertaken at a private site in Northeast Indiana.
A private donor is funding the move of the 624 to that site and the restoration work. The FtWRHS will offer technical support.
The 624 is expected eventually to be displayed at the proposed Headwaters Junction railroad park in downtown Fort Wayne.
In a related development, the FtWRHS is also working to preserve a former Nickel Plate Road SD9 diesel.
Overseeing that project is former Akron Railroad Club member Chris Lantz.
Thus far, the society has sought to stabilize the locomotive in preparation for cosmetic restoration and eventual mechanical operation.
Initial work has involved removing surface rust on the car body doors, cleaning, painting and installing door latches.
No. 358 was built in 1957 by the Electro-Motive Division of General Motors. The NKP SD9 fleet was seen as a replacement for the railroad’s Berkshire steam locomotives, including No. 765, which the FtWRHS owns and operates.
No. 358’s original assignment was hauling coal trains on the NKP’s Wheeling & Lake Erie District.
It operated for NKP successors Norfolk & Western and Norfolk Southern through the early 2000s, often based in Bellevue.
FtWRHS officials estimate the cost of mechanical work and replacement parts at $100,000.