Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road’

NKP H Unit on the Original Nickel Plate

August 27, 2016

The Nickel Plate Road heritage locomotive of Norfolk Southern crosses the trestle in Painesville over the Grand River on Aug. 19.

In a modest way this has been my summer to chase Norfolk Southern heritage units.

In the past month, I’ve photographed the Conrail and Nickel Plate Road H units, both on the original rails of the railroad that they celebrate.

Shown above is NS 8100, the NKP heritage unit on original Nickel Plate rails as it crosses the Grand River in Painesville.

I still am searching for many more, including the Erie, New York Central and original Norfolk Southern. So I have a long ways to go to reach all 20.

Photograph by Peter Bowler

Petition Seeks ITM Board’s Ouster

August 27, 2016

An anonymous online petition is seeking to remove the board of directors of the Indiana Transportation Museum.

Indiana Transportation MuseumThe embattled organization has been unable to run excursion trains this year and reportedly has been or is under investigation by the Indiana attorney general’s office and the Federal Railroad Administration.

The owner of the tracks used by the museum, the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, has refused to allow it to use the 37 miles of former Nickel Plate Road rails, citing alleged safety and maintenance violations.

Already, the museum has been forced to cancel its trips during the Indiana State Fair and the likelihood of excursions being held this summer appear slim.

Trains magazine reported on Friday that the museum and the port authority had appeared to come to an understanding about what needs to be done to resume excursions, but it remains to be seen how that is going to work out.

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.

Sights at Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

July 2, 2016


Last Saturday I went to Bellevue for the 40th anniversary of the Mad River and Nickel Plate museum.

Flagg Coal No. 75 was on hand giving caboose rides on the museum grounds. The two cabooses were recently repainted for the occasion.

NKP No. 783, a Wheeling & Lake Erie design but built for the Nickel Plate Road, was acquired last year.

NW 557981, a bay window caboose built for the Illinois Terminal, is a NYC design. The museum has owned this caboose for years.

Another piece of equipment with new paint is Wabash 671. An EMD F7, locomotive it hasn’t looked this good since it left the EMD factory floor.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon




ITM Excursion Trains Still Not Operating

July 1, 2016

The Indiana Transportation Museum has yet to launch its summer excursion train schedule, continuing to be mired in the aftermath of a dispute between the museum’s current administration and group of seven volunteers who have filed various complaints about alleged improprieties in operations and finances.

The museum, based in Noblesville, runs excursions on a 37-mile former Nickel Plate Road route that is owned by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority.

Indiana Transportation MuseumAside from weekend trips, the ITM also operates shuttle trains to the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis in August.

An online report by Trains magazine said the museum is still awaiting permission from the port authority to use its tracks.

ITM chairman Jeffrey Kehler told Trains that the museum has completed all paperwork required by the authority and hopes to get approval to resume excursions no later than July 11, which is when the port authority’s board will next meet.

Port authority executive director Rhonda Klopfenstein said her agency is still reviewing information provided by the museum as to the condition of the railroad and ITM’s operating plans.

In the meantime, the Indiana attorney general’s office is looking into the complaints filed by the volunteers and the Federal Railroad Administration said it is reviewing the museum’s operations. However, an FRA spokesperson said the FRA’s inquiry is not an investigation.

Kehler in a statement issued in June termed the allegations made by the volunteers as false.

The volunteers in turn have characterized Kehler’s statement as false and misleading. They have also claimed that their dismissal was illegal and contrary to the museum’s own rules.

ITM suspended excursion operations in March and it is not clear how soon it could get back into operation once it receives the go ahead from the port authority.

Kehler told Trains that museum workers were unable to undertake the annual spring weed spraying, brush removal and spot track repairs.

Not being able to operate excursions has cost the museum ticket revenue, which it needs to survive. Kehler acknowledged that the dispute has damaged the museum’s reputation.

The museum is also facing the prospect that the FRA might reclassify it from a tourist-train operator to a short-haul passenger railroad. That change would impose on the museum more comprehensive rules and regulations.

Erie Heritage With the Erie H Unit in Cleveland

April 30, 2016



The Erie Railroad heritage unit has been assigned to Norfolk Southern intermodal trains 22K and 23K for about a month now. Sometimes it leads, sometimes not, but until today (April 30), I had not been able to catch it.
One challenge in chasing H units is to somehow work in the actual railroad the heritage engine represents.

Catching the New York Central on the NYC or the Pennsylvania on the Pennsy is like a double bonus. Getting the Erie on the Erie is difficult to do in northeast Ohio.

But the 22K, which the Erie lea today, traverses the former Nickel Plate Road east of Cleveland and it passes former although now abandoned tracks that the Erie used.

The Cleveland Union Terminal hosted passenger trains from the NYC, Baltimore & Ohio, NKP and Erie.

This is appropriate as the Erie heritage is based on the two-tone green colors of Erie passenger engines and trains.

Another Erie connection is the Terminal Tower complex seen in the background. Passenger trains ended their run here but Erie also had its headquarters located in this complex.

The Erie at one time was a Van Sweringen road. The Van Sweringen brothers owned a consortium of railroads including the Nickel Plate, Erie, Chesapeake & Ohio and Pere Marquette.

They were also responsible for building the massive Terminal Tower complex, a Cleveland landmark.

Their intent was to merge these holdings into a giant rail system. Alas, these plans fell through and while Pere Marquette did merge with the C&O, the Nickel Plate and Erie went their separate ways.

I wonder how today’s rail network would look had this merger happened. It would likely have been a dominant player in the rail scene.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon

A NKP 765 Chase Album Sampler

September 12, 2015
Crossing the Swanville trestle over Walnut Creek.

Crossing the Swanville trestle over Walnut Creek.

Akron Railroad Club Treasurer Edward Ribinskas took to the highways this week to catch the Nickel Plate Road No. 765 as it made a ferry move from Buffalo, New York, to Bellevue.

Ed initially intercepted the 765 at about 3 p.m. crossing Walnut Creek in Fairview, Pennsylvania.

From there he made a dash down U.S. Route 20 to Conneaut to get into place along Old Main Street to photograph the 765 and its train crossing Conneaut Creek.

The 765 made a service stop in Conneaut, which gave Ed plenty of time to get to Parrish Road at the far west end of the Conneaut Yard to capture the 765 charging out of town.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

The first of a two-shot sequence of NKP 765 crossing Conneaut Creek.

The first of a two-shot sequence of NKP 765 crossing Conneaut Creek.


The first of a three-shot sequence at Parrish Road on the west edge of Conneaut.

The first of a three-shot sequence at Parrish Road on the west edge of Conneaut.



We Didn’t Know Them as Heritage Units Then

September 8, 2015

img624-EditF1200F (1)

It is the summer of 1967 or 1968 in Brewster and Nickel Plate Road ALCOs sit on the dead line several years after the Norfolk & Western had taken over the NKP. It is hard to imagine that these switchers were heritage units at that early date. We just didn’t know it then.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Abbey Avenue Park Opens New Photo Angles

July 22, 2015

One of the benefits of the new Inner Belt Bridge Project in Cleveland is the addition of some new park areas near the new spans.

One such park, located on Abbey Avenue, has opened some new photo possibilities for shooting westbound Norfolk Southern trains s crossing the lift bridge on the former Nickel Plate Road over the Cuyahoga River.

A word to the wise: Don’t dawdle on getting to Abbey. Once the funding for the parks runs out the vegetation will be allowed to grow at will and the shot will be overwhelmed.

But for now here is what you need to know about shooting from Abbey Avenue park.

The park is located obviously on Abbey Avenue at the east end of the Abbey Avenue viaduct over the NKP and several city streets.

The parking area is right under the new freeway bridge and when trains aren’t moving on the NKP the view of downtown Cleveland is quite nice to behold.

To get there from Interstate 90 westbound, just exit at the Abbey Avenue/West 14th Street exit. It dumps you right into the parking lot for the park, which is right across Abbey Avenue.

From northbound I-71 or Ohio Route 176, exit at West 14th Street, go around the roundabout and head all the way to the foot of West 14th Street. Follow the signs for Sokolowski’s Restaurant to reach Abbey Avenue. The park and parking area are just to the west, a left turn on Abbey Avenue.

When you reach the park, you will find several angles available for shooting westbound trains coming off the lift bridge with the Cleveland skyline in the background. A wide angle lens works best, but a 50 mm lens can be used.

There is some clutter along the tracks that will limit some shots, but look around and choose the best angles for your type of lens, camera and personal tastes.

Lighting is best from about mid morning to mid afternoon, but during these hours you can usually count on trains like 205 and 23K to show up.

On July 4, we witnessed the 205 and a 65W empty oil train running back to back. I did two different angles and can’t wait to see the results.

The former NKP here is controlled by the Cleveland Terminal Dispatcher on radio frequency 161.250.

The lift bridge is manned, but only goes up to clear the big lake boats. There is plenty of clearance for smaller pleasure crafts and sightseeing boats like the Goodtime III.

Spend some quality time or just catch a train or two, but check out the scene at Abbey Avenue.

Article by Marty Surdyk

Leipsic Poised for a Signal Change

May 26, 2015

leipsic 1_17460679263_l

leipsic 3_18095093525_l

leipsic 4_18095093455_l

leipsic 5_18095093575_l

Leipsic 171_18089085072_l

Leipsic Tower_18030863286_l

This past Sunday I ended up in Leipsic, Ohio, the intersection of the former Baltimore & Ohio line between Toledo and Cincinnati, and the former Nickel Plate Road mainline across the state.

The old tower still stands although I don’t know for how much longer.

It is an NKP design; however, it was manned by B&O operators.

This is because the NKP was the second line to arrive at this location and by law had to pay for the cost of the interlocking.

The old B&O color position light signals are still being used. However, new signals have been erected and are waiting to be cut in. The new equipment makes an interesting comparison with the old.

I am reminded that the only constant is change. New engines replace old, new equipment and facilities replace the old and worn out.

I ended up getting a northbound and then a southbound CSX train in the late afternoon sun.

Article and Photographs by Todd Dillon