Nickel Plate Road 587

For over a decade now, Nickel Plate steam locomotive 587 has been in the shops at Forest Park in Noblesville, Indiana, as its 15 year FRA mandated overhaul and inspection slowly progresses. I personally saw 587 in 2013, and it wasn't recognizable. You could tell it was a steam locomotive, but that was about it. 

Currently, there is a legal battle going down between the Indiana Transportation Museum, and the HHPA, who owns the tracks between Indianapolis and Tipton, that the Museum operates on. The HHPA doesn't own the tracks within the museum grounds, but diesel excursions like the State Fair Train (Which didn't run in 2016) are the primary source of revenue for the museum. So the 587's future seems uncertain.

Is there anyone on the forum who is involved with the Indiana Transportation Museum?

K&L Trainz has recently released a virtual model of 587!

Original Post

ITM has many, many issues. The exact status of 587 is the least of their worries. Are you aware ITM is landlocked? There is no rail connection at either end of the line. So even if 587 could run it has no place to go off the Indy-Tipton segment assuming ITM even gets rights to operate over it again. I keep hearing different things regarding what has happened which includes how to move forward assuming a solution can be found to satisfy all involved parties. The main thing is that ITM was supposed to put some/all of the revenue back into the track which apparently was not done which started all the legal troubles. Add in conflicts between the ITM board and the operating crews and there we are today...

A similar but not quite the same situation exists at HVRM (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum) up in North Judson - town owns the line but the freight operator that leases it has not allowed HVRM trains to operate over a portion of the line since May 11, 2016 - see http://www.hoosiervalley.org/saving-railroad-part-ii/  for details. I also understand a new freight operator has been selected (Lake States) back in September 2016 but at last report no paperwork has been signed for them to take over the freight operations.

Bottom line - and I know you're tired of hearing this - does no good to have an operating steam locomotive if there is no place to run it! If 587 were ready to be fired up tomorrow not going to do much good if it can't run on more than on the small bit of ITM owned trackage there at Noblesville. There is no connection to NS at Tipton and they won't allow it to be reinstated. At the Indy end CSX removed the diamond - even if ITM can reconnect there we all know how CSX feels about permitting steam on their tracks. I don't give 587 much hope to operate again until the situation is sorted out or it is trucked out to another museum and/or rail line that will allow it to operate.

An organization such as IRM (Illinois Railway Museum) is in the best position these days to operate equipment as they own the land, buildings, equipment and demonstration railroad. There is nothing like having full control over everything. No, IRM is not perfect but they do very well with what they have and keep making improvements to the place. Are you aware IRM's Frisco 1630 pulled 135 hoppers stored on IRM property back to the Union Pacific on May 29, 2016? Here's a video of the event:

645 posted:

 

An organization such as IRM (Illinois Railway Museum) is in the best position these days to operate equipment as they own the land, buildings, equipment and demonstration railroad. There is nothing like having full control over everything. No, IRM is not perfect but they do very well with what they have and keep making improvements to the place.

Not only do they own the right of way and museum campus, but have been buying adjacent "buffer" properties to prevent suburbia from encroaching and complaining about the noise.

Rusty

Rusty Traque posted:
645 posted:

 

An organization such as IRM (Illinois Railway Museum) is in the best position these days to operate equipment as they own the land, buildings, equipment and demonstration railroad. There is nothing like having full control over everything. No, IRM is not perfect but they do very well with what they have and keep making improvements to the place.

Not only do they own the right of way and museum campus, but have been buying adjacent "buffer" properties to prevent suburbia from encroaching and complaining about the noise.

These quiet zones going up are a load of crap for multiple reasons. First, the railroad was there WAY before the residents were there, and it takes them to work in some cases. Also, they didn't have to build right next to a   3-track main and suddenly say: "It's so noisy here! We need to send a complaint." Quiet zones are dangerous too. There have been many cases of people crossing the tracks at commuter stations and getting hit because they don't hear the train. But they should still be paying attention.

Rusty

I would love to see 765 run to IRM from Chicago. The museum grounds are adequate for an excursion, with enough space for photo runbys, an even surface for passengers to unload, a place to turn 765 around, and enough entertainment for passengers. I don't know if 765 will fit under the wires though, or if UP will let them run on their tracks. 

I know IRM has buffer land - didn't want to confuse anyone here about what that meant as most museums/tourist lines have not gotten into this yet if there is a potential need for it. I know IRM and Strasburg (through a partnership with Amish farmers I believe) have bought buffer land. Are there other museum and/or tourist lines that also have buffer land? It's a good idea for locations that are seeing growth that may impact a museum's campus and/or rail line's right of way in the future.

A bigger issue is the rails to trails crowd - there are a few rail operations in New York State having difficulties with the trail crowd as political support there seems to favor the trails. We're literally getting off the tracks here from the original topic though... well, maybe not that much as I think it has been discussed that some of ITM's current right of way *may* become a trail if certain parties have their way. Not everyone wants the trains - can't please everyone but I do hope ITM can continue as it was/is a nice operation - and their Fair Train was an unique operation.

Railfan Brody posted:

I would love to see 765 run to IRM from Chicago. The museum grounds are adequate for an excursion, with enough space for photo runbys, an even surface for passengers to unload, a place to turn 765 around, and enough entertainment for passengers. I don't know if 765 will fit under the wires though, or if UP will let them run on their tracks. 

Union Pacific policy is only UP owned and operated steam can operate on UP trackage. That is 844 - and 4014 if/when it is restored to operational status in the future. 3985? Slim chance of 3985 seeing operate again but might be possible after 4014 is done?

Remember that SP 4449 has an excellent record operating on the Southern Pacific but after UP took the Espee over it has not operated on UP regardless if it was ex-SP or original UP trackage. If it weren't for BNSF (and the P&W shortline) 4449's operations would really be limited. If 4449 can't operate on UP they sure aren't going to allow 765 to do so.

 

Only way 765 might be able to go to Union is if Metra buys the Belvidere line from UP but so far any real action to start Metra service on that line has gone nowhere. It has been discussed in the past elsewhere how nice it would be for IRM visitors to ride Metra out to Union and have a platform transfer to IRM. Right now Metra on the Belvidere line seems to be a dead issue again. Think even if it happened UP would retain ownership so not sure about Metra being able to allow 765's use anyway. Now if the Chrysler plant at Belvidere closes someday in the future UP may no longer want it as the bulk of the traffic is Chrysler-related. Not sure what else they have for traffic on it. Either a shortline or Metra may be able to acquire it then.

Also keep in mind 765 probably will have issues being turned on IRM's wye. 1630 barely makes it thru on one leg of the wye (think it was the east leg IIRC) so they avoid using it. Like Strasburg does, 1630 spends half it's time shoving the train. Besides, there is no place to turn 1630 at the east end of IRM's mainline.

One other thing - IRM owns Santa Fe 4-8-4 2903 which fits under the wire. I'm sure 2903 is a bit bigger then 765 so the 765 should fit too!

645 posted:
Railfan Brody posted:

I would love to see 765 run to IRM from Chicago. The museum grounds are adequate for an excursion, with enough space for photo runbys, an even surface for passengers to unload, a place to turn 765 around, and enough entertainment for passengers. I don't know if 765 will fit under the wires though, or if UP will let them run on their tracks. 

Union Pacific policy is only UP owned and operated steam can operate on UP trackage. That is 844 - and 4014 if/when it is restored to operational status in the future. 3985? Slim chance of 3985 seeing operate again but might be possible after 4014 is done?

Remember that SP 4449 has an excellent record operating on the Southern Pacific but after UP took the Espee over it has not operated on UP regardless if it was ex-SP or original UP trackage. If it weren't for BNSF (and the P&W shortline) 4449's operations would really be limited. If 4449 can't operate on UP they sure aren't going to allow 765 to do so.

 

To be clear, the Union Pacific has NEVER "turned down" the SP 4449 group from ANY operations on UP. The main fact is, the SP 4449 group has NEVER asked the UP to "operate 4449 on their lines! There really isn't any suitable locations on the former SP lines in Oregon to operate one day excursions to anyway. 

Hot Water posted:
To be clear, the Union Pacific has NEVER "turned down" the SP 4449 group from ANY operations on UP. The main fact is, the SP 4449 group has NEVER asked the UP to "operate 4449 on their lines! There really isn't any suitable locations on the former SP lines in Oregon to operate one day excursions to anyway. 

Thank you for setting me straight on the facts regarding 4449 potentially operating on the UP - thought it was asked at least once after UP took over the Espee.

I did meet Mr. Ed Dickens once very briefly a few years ago and subject of SP 4449 and other non-UP steam operating on UP came up. Mr. Dickens told me at that time only UP owned and maintained steam is permitted to operate on UP trackage.

645 posted:
Hot Water posted:
To be clear, the Union Pacific has NEVER "turned down" the SP 4449 group from ANY operations on UP. The main fact is, the SP 4449 group has NEVER asked the UP to "operate 4449 on their lines! There really isn't any suitable locations on the former SP lines in Oregon to operate one day excursions to anyway. 

Thank you for setting me straight on the facts regarding 4449 potentially operating on the UP - thought it was asked at least once after UP took over the Espee.

I did meet Mr. Ed Dickens once very briefly a few years ago and subject of SP 4449 and other non-UP steam operating on UP came up. Mr. Dickens told me at that time only UP owned and maintained steam is permitted to operate on UP trackage.

Well, that may be HIS "policy" but prior to the retirement of Steve Lee, the UP actually ASKED our group (SP 4449) on two different occasions to join their 844 in operations. The first time, back in 1999, was the dedication of the J. R. Davis Yard in Roseville (which was eventually delayed enough so that just UP 844 and 3985 handled the big event), and the second time was for the double header operation in 2007 out of Tacoma, Washington.

 

645 posted:

ITM has many, many issues. The exact status of 587 is the least of their worries. Are you aware ITM is landlocked? There is no rail connection at either end of the line. So even if 587 could run it has no place to go off the Indy-Tipton segment assuming ITM even gets rights to operate over it again. I keep hearing different things regarding what has happened which includes how to move forward assuming a solution can be found to satisfy all involved parties. The main thing is that ITM was supposed to put some/all of the revenue back into the track which apparently was not done which started all the legal troubles. Add in conflicts between the ITM board and the operating crews and there we are today...

A similar but not quite the same situation exists at HVRM (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum) up in North Judson - town owns the line but the freight operator that leases it has not allowed HVRM trains to operate over a portion of the line since May 11, 2016 - see http://www.hoosiervalley.org/saving-railroad-part-ii/  for details. I also understand a new freight operator has been selected (Lake States) back in September 2016 but at last report no paperwork has been signed for them to take over the freight operations.

Bottom line - and I know you're tired of hearing this - does no good to have an operating steam locomotive if there is no place to run it! If 587 were ready to be fired up tomorrow not going to do much good if it can't run on more than on the small bit of ITM owned trackage there at Noblesville. There is no connection to NS at Tipton and they won't allow it to be reinstated. At the Indy end CSX removed the diamond - even if ITM can reconnect there we all know how CSX feels about permitting steam on their tracks. I don't give 587 much hope to operate again until the situation is sorted out or it is trucked out to another museum and/or rail line that will allow it to operate.

An organization such as IRM (Illinois Railway Museum) is in the best position these days to operate equipment as they own the land, buildings, equipment and demonstration railroad. There is nothing like having full control over everything. No, IRM is not perfect but they do very well with what they have and keep making improvements to the place. Are you aware IRM's Frisco 1630 pulled 135 hoppers stored on IRM property back to the Union Pacific on May 29, 2016? Here's a video of the event:

I have family that's been directly impacted by the shenanigans pulled off by the ITM board - sorry that I can't spell things out, but a lot of good people have been dealt with in what can only be termed a sh***y manner.  It may be hard to resume any semblance of normal operation at ITM when (more likely if) the problems are dealt with and the folks causing the harm removed from the operation - it's a very sad situation...

For those that want more information on the problems at the Indiana Transportation Museum, see the Indiana Railroads Bull Session Forum.  There are a couple different threads of information and plenty of bickering and finger pointing to go along with it.   Unless something dramatic happens, the best thing that could happen to 587 would probably be for it to come to Fort Wayne.   Not saying it would or could or should, but at least it would be in safe hands that know how to take care of it, and at some point it could at least be properly displayed, if not operated.

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