Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road’

Warm Memories of NKP 767 in the Valley

January 28, 2017
Nickel Plate Road No. 765, operating as No. 767, approaches Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 24.

Nickel Plate Road No. 765, operating as No. 767, approaches Pleasant Valley Road on Saturday, Sept. 24.

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Reflecting on past steam trips in the Valley at Indigo Lake.

I waited for quite a while to get the NKP 767 crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula.

I waited for quite a while to get the NKP 767 crossing the Cuyahoga River north of Peninsula.

Now that winter is here and the warm days of summer and early autumn in 2016 are just another memory, how about some warm memories to take the chill out of the air?

Here are three images of Nickel Plate Road 767 — which is actually NKP 765 — when it was running on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad last September.

All were among my favorite images of the NKP 767 in action, but for various reasons they didn’t make the cut when it came time to post those photographs.

But I kept them with the idea of posting them during the winter. Perhaps NKP 765 willl return to the CVSR in 2017, but that remains to be seen. If it does come back as NKP 767?

Even if it doesn’t, we’ll always have our memories and photographs of when it was the 767.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

New Operator Sought for Indiana Rail Line

January 25, 2017

A new operator is being sought to provide rail service on an Indiana line that once hosted the popular state fair trains.

IndianaThe Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which owns the 37-mile former Nickel Plate route between Indianapolis and Tipton, said it was seeking a new operator after the previous operator, the Indiana Transportation Museum, failed to meet track maintenance agreements.

ITM has been embroiled in an internal dispute involving its management and some volunteers who have alleged that there have been financial improprieties and lack of adequate safety procedures

The museum previously operated the fair train and “polar bear” express excursions. Neither operated in 2016 and officials say the fair train might not operate in 2017 either.

Michael Obergfell, president of the port authority, said ITM could seek to operate the line again, but the authority was unlikely to allow that until several organizational issues are resolved.

Although probes by the Indiana attorney general’s office and Federal Railroad Administration have not made any findings of misconduct or wrong-doing, a consultant hired by the Port Authority concluded that ITM failed to comply with a track maintenance agreement between the museum and the authority.

Obergfell said several groups are interested in running trains on the line.

FtWRHS Reaches Pact With Indiana City on Moving, Restoring NKP Steam Locomotive 624

January 16, 2017

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.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyHammond 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.

FtWRHS to Acquire Another NKP Steamer

November 15, 2016

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society plans to move Nickel Plate Road No. 624 from Hammond to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

nkpThe 2-8-2 Mikado-type steamer is owned by the city of Hammond and will have a new home in the Headwaters Junction complex that the FtWRHS is building.

No. 624 will need cosmetic restoration to return it to its appearance when it was operational.

It is not clear yet if the 624 will be restored to operating condition.

New NS Vermilion Connection Expected to Begin Operations in 2017

October 12, 2016

A $12.5 million project to build a second connection between the Cleveland District and Chicago Line of Norfolk Southern near Vermilion is expected to be completed next year.

NS logo 2The 4,000-foot connection will enable eastbound trains on the Chicago Line to transition to the Cleveland District and continue either east or west.

Once the connection begins operations, NS traffic through Lorain, Bay Village and Lakewood is expected to double.

In particular trains bound for the NS route to Buffalo, New York, are expected to take the connection, including a pair of intermodal trains, the 205/206 and 22K/23K.

Currently, these trains operate via Berea and Rockport Yard, reaching the former Nickel Plate Road mainline on the Cloggsville Connection.

NS is funding the connection with its own money.

Central of Ga. H. Unit on the Former NKP

October 4, 2016

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Norfolk Southern No. 8101, the Central of Georgia heritage unit, passed through Cleveland around noon on Monday.

It was leading an 888 coal train en route to Buffalo, New York, and came through Painesville at 1:45 p.m., where Akron Railroad Club member Jeff Troutman caught it with his cell phone.

The train took the former Nickel Plate Road mainline all the way east from Bellevue after coming up the Sandusky District from Columbus. The train originated in West Virginia.

Photograph by Jeff Troutman

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

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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

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