Posts Tagged ‘Nickel Plate Road’

Alco PA Arrives in Scranton

May 21, 2023

An Alco PA painted in a Nickel Plate Road “bluebird” livery arrived at its new home in Pennsylvania last Friday.

The former Santa Fe and Delaware & Hudson unit was ferried across the country from Oregon to Pennsylvania by BNSF, Montana Rail Link, and Norfolk Southern.

A report on the website of Railfan & Railroad magazine said No. 190 was delivered to an NS yard in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and was then picked up by its new owner, Genesee Valley Transportation’s Delaware-Lackawanna.

The PA is to be displayed through June at Steamtown National Historic Site.

Steamtown to Display Alco PA-1

May 17, 2023

An Alco PA1 painted in the Nickel Plate Road “bluebird” livery will be displayed at Steamtown National Historic Site.

The locomotive is in the process of being moved from its former home in Oregon to Pennsylvania-based Genesee Valley Transportation.

The locomotive, built by Alco in 1948 for the Santa Fe, never worked for the NKP but is painted in a NKP livery.

It passed through Cleveland on Monday evening. A photo of that passage can be viewed on the website of Trains magazine at

The Steamtown display will begin with the arrival of the PA and continue for an unspecified period of time.

However, a report on the Trains website said the display is likely to end sometime in June when the locomotive is moved to GVT’s Von Storch Locomotive Shop in Scranton.

GVT said it will inspect the PA with an eye toward restoring it to operating condition.

Trains reported that as of Tuesday the PA was in Bison Yard in Buffalo, New York, but was expected to move eastward to Binghampton, New York, that evening. An NS local was expected to deliver the PA to Scranton from Binghamton.

The PA is expected to be used by GVT in mainline office-car and excursion service.

Once Worked for the Nickel Plate

April 19, 2023

Norfolk & Western GP7 No. 2418 is outside the shops in Brewster in September 1972. The unit was built for the Nickel Plate Road where it had roster number 418.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Alco PA Moving to Scranton from Oregon

April 19, 2023

An Alco PA locomotive painted in Nickel. Plate Road “Blue Bird” colors is moving to Pennsylvania.

No. 190 is being moved from the Oregon Rail Heritage Center to short line holding company Genesee Valley Transportation in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

A report on the website of Railfan & Railroad said the PA-1 was expected to depart Oregon this week. The PA was acquired by GVT from preservationist and former Ohio resident Doyle McCormack.

No. 190 is not an original NKP locomotive, but rather a former Santa Fe/Delaware & Hudson locomotive repainted into NKP colors. It was built for the Santa Fe but sold in 1967 to the D&H.

GVT said it would restore the 190 at its shop on the Delaware-Lackawanna. 

NS Resumes Using ex-NKP West of Cleveland

January 18, 2023

Norfolk Southern has resumed using the Cleveland District west of Cleveland for through freights.

Earlier this week we reported that in the past couple of months NS use of the former Nickel Plate Road mainline had been minimal.

Reportedly, NS has set a freight tonnage quota for the line and stopped running through freights there in late 2022 after the quota was exceeded. But with a new year underway the quota has been reset.

The route in question extends from Vermilion to Cloggsville via Lakewood and Rocky River.

Manifest freights 315 and 316 were the most frequent users of the route in the past.

NS Making Minimal Use of ex-NKP West of Cleveland

January 17, 2023

Norfolk Southern appears to have stopped operating through freights on the former Nickel Plate Road mainline between Vermillion and Cloggsville.

Local freight trains continue to serve shippers along the route, which passes through Lakewood and was the subject of controversy more than two decades ago when NS and CSX acquired Conrail.

At the time the discussion about concerns that NS would increase the number of trains on the former NKP, which has multiple grade crossings in Lakewood.

The last through freights known to use the ex-NKP, known as the NS Cleveland District, were Trains 315 and 316. Reportedly, those trains have operated between Vermilion and Cloggsville on an irregular basis.

In other Cleveland rail news, some of you may have noticed last fall two SW1500 switchers parked in Parma on CSX.

The units were painted in the livery of Canadian National but carried LTEX markings.

The units have been acquired by Cleveland Cliffs and have been spotted of late working industrial tracks in the Cleveland Flats.

The units are expected to receive Cleveland Cliffs colors and may be repainted at the facility of the Midwest Railway Preservation Society.

One of the switchers once worked for the Soo Line while the other came from the Kentucky & Indiana Terminal.

Grand Opening Set for Renovated Indiana Station

June 9, 2022

Indiana tourist railroad Nickel Plate Express and officials in Noblesville, Indiana, will hold a grand opening on Saturday to celebrate the renovation of the historic Hobbs Station.

The depot is in Forest Park where it has stood since being moved there in 1967.

It was built in 1948 to serve the Nickel Plate Road in Tipton County and was for several years part of the now defunct Indiana Transportation Museum.

The Noblesville Parks & Recreation Department spent $1.6 million to renovate the station, which officially opened on June 6.

The renovation included landscaping and walking paths, a restroom addition, historic signs and paved parking. A covered platform was constructed in the boarding area.

The station will serve as the southern terminus of the 12.4-mile Nickel Plate Express, which operates between Noblesville and Atlanta, Indiana.

During the grand opening on Saturday, the Nickel Plate Express will have departures from Hobbs Station at 10 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person for the 45-minute excursions.

The first 200 passengers will receive a commemorative Hobbs Station lapel pin.

Trestle Tales: Heritage on Steel

February 8, 2022

In the past decade, Ed Ribinskas has considered tracking Norfolk Southern heritage locomotives to be one of his many everyday chores.

If an H unit was leading a train that would pass through Painesville, he would grab his camera and head over to the Riverside Drive grade crossing if he could.

The Nickel Plate heritage locomotive made an appearance on March 30, 2013. Others that have passed by included the Southern H unit on April 26, 2014, the New York Central H unit on May 27, 2015, and the Erie H unit on April 10, 2016.

After construction of the new bridge over the Grand River got underway in March 2017, Ed sought to be a little creative in his photo composition by working the construction activities into his image as can seen above.

Some examples included catching the Erie heritage unit on July 15, 2017, the Savannah & Atlanta H unit on June 2, 2018 and the Central of New Jersey H unit on Nov. 25, 2018.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Trestle Tales: Finding the Out of the Ordinary

February 7, 2022

Rivers are not static. They shift course and their levels rise and fall. These developments can damage bridge abutments as happened in spring 1985 when NS had to reroute some trains and issue slow orders for others until the Painesville trestle over the Grand River could be repaired (top photo).

Over time, some bridge abutments have been replaced, the results of which can be seen in the images of the Triple Crown RoadRailer trains crossing the trestle in April 1989.

The former Nickel Plate Road route between Cleveland and Buffalo never had the high level of traffic as the parallel CSX and former New York Central route, but it had its share of out-of-the ordinary sightings.

On Oct. 27, 2004, Norfolk Southern sent an Operation Lifesaver train from Rockport Yard in Cleveland to Ashtabula and back.

The encroaching vegetation is evident on the east end of the bridge as compared to what it was in the views recorded 15 years earlier.

Another unique movements that crossed the trestle was the eastbound Lake Shore Limited using the NS route due to a CSX derailment in Painesville. Amtrak Train 48 was photographed on Oct. 13, 2007.

On July 23, 2015, a large crowd of railfan photographs turned out to photograph Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 no. 765 cross another NKP institution on a ferry move from Cleveland (Rockport Yard) to Ashtabula to be in position to pull public excursions between Ashtabula and Youngstown.

Finally, on Aug. 3, 2016, the NS business train led by F units passed through Painesville.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

New Kid on the Block

November 24, 2021

I found this freshly painted GP15-1 in a sharp livery for the New Castle Southern Railroad in its namesake city in Indiana.

It was at the head of a cut of covered cars that had been positioned on a siding next to a city street and a portable unloading device.

The NCSR began operating in September a 21-mile former Nickel Plate Road branch between New Castle and Beesons.

The short line leases the track from Norfolk Southern which earlier this year canceled the lease held by the C&NC Railroad, a.k.a., Connersville & New Castle, which had operated the branch since Dec. 22, 1997.

At Beesons the C&NC and now the NCSR make a connection with the Big Four Terminal, which operates a former New York Central (Big Four) branch to Connersville.

A portion of that former NYC route south of Connersville is now used by the White Water Valley tourist railroad to Metamora.

NCSR No. 1671 is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corporation and I was unable to determine its heritage.