The Nickel Plate Road Historical & Technical Society

NKPHTS 2016 Calendar

Front Cover Front Cover
HURON BLISS: Ten-year-old laker Ernest T. Weir waits on a August 1962 summer morning while a pair of Hulletts dig out 12,000 or more tons of taconite loaded at Lake Superior ports. The empties shoved "around the horn" at the Wheeling District "fast Plant" will be loaded and pulled up to the South Yard by a switch engine. The tonnage will be made into two blocks. One block will be moved by a Norwalk-based "Short Turn Around" from Huron to Hartland. A Brewster road train will grab the second block at Huron and double the blocked cars together at Hartland.
Willis McCaleb photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
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FORMER ALLIES: A Lackawanna coach brings up the rear of Erie-Lackawanna train 7, the Pacific Express, at an unidentified location in May 1963, as it makes its run toward Chicago. The NKP trailer and DL&W coach represent a team that fought the Erie Railroad for every carload headed toward New York or Chicago. That alliance ended in 1960 when the Erie and the DL&W merged, making NKP a competitor of the new EL system. Now it is but a chance encounter of a free roaming piggyback trailer and a downgraded coach to remind us of days gone by. Thos. Gascoigne collection
January
January
WEST END RUNNERS: An 800-series diesel denoted that it was equipped with an Automatic Train Stop system and could run as lead power on Chicago Division tracks. Resting between 1964 daily races to Ft. Wayne or Bellevue, two-year-old RS-36 No. 865 trades notes with 1959 Alco RS-11 No. 858 about how fast runners handle slow orders. Neither locomotive is old enough to have had a chat with Alco/Brooks steamers that pulled the 1906 coach in the background. The 865 may have genetic memories of that coach as it includes the ATS as well as the main and auxiliary generators from retired Alco PAs that shared duties with Brooks 4-6-4s.
Jim Boyd photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
February
February
IN THE MORNING: A pair of PAs are making track speed as train No. 6, the City of Cleveland, nears Thornton Junction and the crossing with the Pennsylvania Railroad's Erie & Pittsburg branch. Company photographer Willis McCaleb enjoys the heat of the cab on this shadowless winter mid-morning. The engine crew appreciates a clear block/home signal and clear order board, and the PAs are having a sweet time of it, too, as the club-diner-lounge, sleepers and RPO were dropped from the consist at Cleveland. In just over 100 miles, the Bluebirds will turn over their consist to DL&W E-units.
Willis McCaleb photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
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March
March
DEATH SPIRAL: When the NKP opened, the passenger train consists were a baggage, second-class coach, and first-class coach. Such was the case until Vanderbilt allowed end-to-end service in 1893. The passenger operation bloomed modestly under the Peerless Trio ad campaign of B.F. Horner. But in time, the automobile and Interstate highways won out and reduced the passenger train to its infant state. Here No. 6 at Conneaut, Ohio, makes one more sad journey pending its demise. The bicycle warning sign serves to take us back to the days when boys flocked to the tracks when they heard the passenger train arriving.
Willis McCaleb photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
April
April
A GOOD INVESTMENT: In 1903 the Toledo, St. Louis & Western and the Grand Trunk Western acquired the work-in progress of what was to become the Detroit & Toledo Shore Line Railroad. Upon the D&TS' completion, the Clover Leaf had a dependable connection to the Motor City and a constant moneymaker. Geep No. 44 idles at Lang Yard near Toledo in its original tangerine and blue Grand Trunk paint scheme. Soon it will get a NKP black-and-gold make over.
Emery J. Gulash photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
May
May
TAKE A RIDE ON THE READING: The Norfolk Southern heritage unit 8100 honoring the NKP coasts through West Trenton, N.J., on April 30, 2014, with an "Oil Can" train. From here to Wayne Junction, N.J., the big GE ES44AC will share the tracks with Philly-bound Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority electric suburban MU trains. Years before, this was the Baltimore & Ohio/Reading/Jersey Central "Royal Blue Route" between Washington and New York. NKP black with yellow multi-stripes looks as good today as it did half-a-Century ago.
Olev Taremae photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
June
June
Train No. 7, the Westerner, to allow a Cleveland Union Terminal switching crew to remove the New York-Cleveland sleeper and make other changes to the head end of the train. High-nose 874 and 875, built in 1962, were the only RS-36s that received steam boilers for heating and cooling passenger trains.
Thos. Gascoigne collection
July
July
NEVER ENDING STORY: As soon as a railroad is opened for business, the rebuilding begins. Bigger and heavier rolling stock and environmental decay demand upgrades. Here, NKP pile driver X240 does the heavy part in replacing the end wall of a short trestle. It is 1964 in this photo, and steam lives on the Nickel Plate through this specialized piece of equipment.
Norman Blackwood photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
August
August
A WAYS FROM HOME RAILS: A Nickel Plate "puller" (transfer job), likely heading to Chicago & North Western's Wood Street Yard west of downtown Chicago, tugs along a caboose built for the Lake Erie & Western in 1888. Interestingly, it's Oct. 2, 1965, so this is technically now a Norfolk & Western operation, so the train in a sense spans three generations of railroads, though it looks for all the world like an NKP run. The view looks northward from about 21st Street as a Chicago Transit Authority train of 2000-series cars (rare for this line) head for the Loop on the Douglas Park Line.
J.J. Buckley photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
September
September
HOME BRED PONY: Puttering up from the Fast Plant, W&LE Class B-5 No. 3968 heads for the yard office at Huron, Ohio in September 1950. To achieve maximum utilization of the modern Brewster, Ohio, shops, the W&LE took on construction of both 0-6-0s and 0-8-0s. This 1937 locomotive became NKP 368 in June 1951, but was laid up in September 1952.
Thos. Gascoigne collection
October
October
CRUISE CONTROL: Berkshire 753 pounds across the Pennsylvania Railroad's South Chicago & Southern branch at Burnham Tower in Hegewisch, Ill., at 35 m.p.h. with an eastbound freight out of nearby Calumet Yard. In a few miles there is a good chance a stop will be made in Indiana at Osborn Yard to pick up more meat and perishable traffic delivered by the Indiana Harbor Belt. Once out of the Chicago area, What is likely train 56 will get to the 60 m.p.h. road speed and push it all the way to Fort Wayne. This April 1958 shot shows 753 with just two more months of service before being laid up at Bellevue. J.J. Buckley photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
November
November
BEFORE HULCHER: A railroad could be as modern as possible, but its "We'll do it ourselves" attitude resulted in scenes like this at Continental, Ohio, in April 1962, where a small army of various crafts has descended upon the derailment site via wrecking trains and track speeders to put the railroad together again. A train from each direction brought a "big hook" and its master operator, old sleepers for car men, a retired diner to feed the troops, and first-generation boxcars and gondolas loaded with cables, winches, and myriad replacement parts to allow rerailed cars to be coaxed to the shops.
Willis McCaleb photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection
December
December
THE QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED MANY TIMES: What happened to the NKP - and before it was the TStL&W - when it reached Madison, Ill., and encountered the barrier of the Mississippi River? The Litchfield & Madison was the answer, as were a number of other terminal roads on the east bank of the river. The NKP directly owned 10 percent of the shares of both the L&M and Illinois Terminal. The NKP indirectly owned another approximately 6 percent of the L&M. The L&M is of further interest and importance to the NKP historian in that it was the southernmost portion of the old Chicago, Peoria & St. Louis Railroad. J.J. Buckley photo, Thos. Gascoigne collection

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