Nickel Plate Berkshire to be Ohio-bound

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Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum
STRASBURG, Pa. — Officials with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania say they'll soon transfer ownership of their historic Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive, S-3 class Berkshire 2-8-4 No. 757, to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum will be making its own arrangements for the eventual move of the No. 757 to Ohio. Ownership of the locomotive will be transferred upon its removal from the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

“Responsible stewardship of historic artifacts often requires making difficult choices about what you keep, what you acquire and how you invest your limited resources,” says Museum director Patrick C. Morrison. “Saying goodbye to the Berkshire will be sad for us, having been on our roster for more than 50 years. However, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has demonstrated their willingness to immediately restore No. 757, and we are very excited to see what they have in store for this important modern steam treasure.

"It is essential for organizations like the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania and the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum to work together to find ways to save historically significant objects like No. 757. No one organization can save every historically significant object and, in most cases today, it is quite literally a race against time to save these pieces from the ravages of time and the elements.”

Ironically, the Nickel Plate had originally set aside No. 757 in the 1960s specifically for display at Bellevue, a major junction on the line. But Bellevue locals were then unsuccessful in raising the estimated $7,400 needed to both relocate the locomotive and construct a siding at the proposed display site near a water plant, so the engine and tender were donated in late 1966 by the railroad to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for its then-proposed-and planned Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania — ironically the first locomotive acquired by a museum that would later house the overwhelming majority of extant Pennsylvania Railroad steam locomotives as well.

Over the decades, various parts have been switched or "traded" from No. 757 with other Nickel Plate Berkshires to help restore them to operation.

Five other NKP Berkshires exist: No. 759, which had a career in main line excursions under the High Iron Co. in the late 1960s and early 1970s, is at Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa. No. 755 is on static display at Conneaut, Ohio. No. 763 is under restoration at the Age of Steam Roundhouse Museum in Sugarcreek, Ohio, after its acquisition from the Virginia Museum of Transportation. No. 779, the last steam locomotive built by Lima Locomotive Works, is on display in Lima, Ohio. And most famously now, Nickel Plate No. 765 was restored to operation in the 1980s by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and remains in active main line excursion service today.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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