Emergency rescue underway at Indiana Transportation Museum

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Nickel Plate Road No. 587 prepares to move today to a temporary home in Kentucky.
Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. Facebook page
NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Heroic emergency rescue efforts were underway Thursday to move rolling stock to safety at the Indiana Transportation Museum, which is under a court order to vacate its home of more than 50 years by July 12.

At least two organized preservation groups, Hesston Steam Museum and Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp., were on site today as the clock ticks toward the deadline. Kentucky Steam volunteers focused on removing Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587, which pulled mainline excursions on Norfolk Southern as recently as 30 years ago. A crane and trucks were on site to move the engine to Ravenna, Ky., where the group recently announced plans to site its headquarters in the former Louisville & Nashville shop. The Hesston group was making plans to remove a fireless cooker in part or in whole as a teaching tool or an operating engine at its site in northwest Indiana. Both groups are asking for donations to help cover the costs.

Other freight equipment had been marked “AOS,” which is the mark for Age of Steam Roundhouse in Sugar Creek, Ohio. And other pieces of the ITM collection were heading toward private hands. Anything left on site after next Thursday’s deadline will be considered abandoned and become the property of the city of Noblesville.

The move has already taken its toll. At least one diesel locomotive, a Milwaukee Road SW1, and several traction cars, were believed to have been scrapped earlier this week.

In addition to gaining fame in the 1980s with the NKP Mikado, the museum also ran a popular passenger shuttle train to the Indiana State Fair using F-units.

Further complicating the situation, the museum is isolated from the national rail network, which means anything that leaves must come out by truck.

The museum has been under stress since 2016 when operations were suspended in a dispute about track maintenance and other issues. Then came a local government plan to turn part of the line into a rail trail and oust the museum. The museum has since said it plans to relocate to Logansport, Ind., but needed more time to accomplish the task.

The court order is the latest development in a long and complicated legal battle between the museum and the city of Noblesville. The museum had asked for an injunction of a previous court-ordered eviction to allow the group additional time to move equipment, but that request was denied on June 29 by a county circuit court judge.

Trains will update this report as more information becomes available.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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