Rails & Trails Pages

Monday, September 2, 2013

New York Trip 2013 Part 3

Today we are visiting the Nickel Plate Railroad Museum, officially called the Mad River and NKP Museum, in Bellevue, Ohio.  On the way there, we pass through Monroeville and find this unique little switcher.  Unfortunately, there was no one around to tell us about it.
The Museum is a treasure trove.  They have an extensive collection of rolling stock, most of which has been restored.  Many cars contain exhibits of memorabilia and pictures.  There is way too much to show in pictures so I will include some of my favorites.
Here is a nicely restored B&O caboose.
There is the neat 45-ton GE side rod center cab switcher, built for the Air Force.  It is very similar to the 50-ton switcher used on the Lake Superior & Mississippi Tourist Railroad in Duluth (http://www.lsmrr.org/)
Wouldn't this Chicago & Northwestern (CNW) RSD-5 look great running on a tourist railroad.  It is/was privately owned and formerly ran on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad!!
Most museums collect cars and engines but this museum has 2 Nickel Plate trailers.
"Atlas" is the name of this creature.  I think it was used in a steel mill to pull their slag cars or something similar.
The museum uses professional painters to paint their equipment with $200/gallon paint.  But it looks great and lasts a long time.  Here is a Nickel Plate caboose that was painted a couple of years ago.
Inside the caboose.
And the conductor's view out of the bay window, keeping an eye on his train.
Bellevue was an extensive railroad location (still is) that at one time hosted 5 different railroads plus the electric interurban passing from Cleveland to Toledo.  So it had 5 passenger stations!!  Here we see diagrams of the tracks and yard.
Troop cars were used to haul soldiers during war time.  Ever wonder what the inside of a troop car looks like?  They could haul lots of soldiers this way!
But the gem of the museum is the "Silver Dome." It was the first passenger car converted to dome service.  From Wikipedia:  The first successful dome cars were conceived by Cyrus Osborn of General Motors Electro-Motive Division (EMD). In 1944, while traveling in an EMD-built Rio Grande locomotive through Glenwood Canyon in Colorado, it was Mr. Osborn that recognized the wonderful views the passengers could enjoy from a panoramic dome. His idea was to provide a full 360-degree view from above the train in newly built "Vista-Dome" cars.[2] Mr. Osborn took the idea to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad (CB&Q). The CB&Q took a stainless steel Budd-built coach and rebuilt it at their shops in Aurora, Illinois, with the Vista Dome imagined and sketched by Cyrus Osborn. The dome area featured seats that were positioned lengthwise in the cabin facing double-pane windows which were designed to improve insulation. This first Vista Dome was called appropriately, Silver Dome. On July 23, 1945, the car was tested in the consist of the Twin Cities Zephyr.[2] Vista Domes quickly found their way into many Burlington Zephyr consists, culminating in 1949 with the inauguration of the California Zephyr.
Lower level inside the car.
Currently there is a fund drive to restore this car to original condition.  Note the unique dome, not like the curved domes we are used to seeing.
A short time ago there was a feature in TRAINS magazine about a great railroad viewing location in Bellevue, Indiana.  I didn't pay much attention to it as I would never get there, right??  Well they even built a viewing platform in the center of the "wye" for viewing trains.
And this is the view in one direction from the platform.
If you like to see vintage train rolling stock and/or memorabilia, put Bellevue, Ohio on your list of places to visit.

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