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A Complete Day in Ohio Featuring the Mad River and NKP Museum 5/12/2021

by Chris Guenzler

Elizabeth and I arose early this morning in Fort Wayne and checked out then started the drive to Bellevue, Ohio. We stopped at Bob Evans in Defiance, Ohio and enjoyed a good breakfast. From here it was an easy drive to Bellevue and the Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum.

History of the Museum

One of the earliest railroads that ran through Bellevue in 1839 was the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad and the first engineer of the "Sandusky", Thomas Hogg.

The Mad River & NKP Railroad Society, a non-profit organization, chose this as part of our name when we formed. In 1976 we opened the museum as a lasting bicentennial project. Henry Flagler, who built the Florida East Coast Railroad once lived on the property where the museum is now located.

NKP is the AAR reporting mark for the Nickel Plate Road (New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad Company) which ran through Bellevue from 1882 until 1964 when it merged with the Norfolk & Western Railway. Bellevue was a hub for the Nickel Plate operations and a division point for the railroad's Buffalo to Chicago route. Bellevue housed the principal classification yards, the largest roundhouse in the system, all maintenance of way equipment for the road, the principal icing station, an engine terminal for both diesel and steam, headquarters of the general superintendent, and facilities that were used by four of the Nickel Plate's divisions.

Our Visit

I started to look around across the tracks.

Baltimore and Ohio caboose C2424.

Norfolk and Western SD9 2349, formerly 52 and originally Nickel Plate Road 349.

Norfolk and Western boom car and crane.

The boom car of Norfolk and Western 514900.

Norfolk and Western derrick crane 514900.

Pennsylvania Railroad 45 ton side arm pusher locomotive 2 used on the coal docks in Sandusky.

Northstar Steel Cargill Michigan Division S-5 864.

New Jersey Indiana & Illinois NW2 2.

New York Central Snowplow 3X665.

New York Central freight house.

Unknown boxcar.

Louisville and Nashville Railway Express Agency Baggage Car 1484.

Nickel Plate steel caboose 783 built in 1954.

Norfolk and Western caboose 557981 originally Illinois Terminal 981.

New York Central Baggage Car 9110.

Penn Central heavyweight observation car 7, originally New York Central 7, formerly owned by Ted Church.

Illinois Central 56-seat coach 2640 which later became an Autoliner car then Amtrak 5688.

San Luis and Rio Grande Pullman 9167 "Donizetti".

Illinois Central coach 2640 which is privately owned. Elizabeth was walking back toward the car and met George, the volunteer who was here to give us a tour. I saw him and immediately walked back to where they were. He first took us to the new Mary Cooper Building.

Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 757, back home in Bellevue. The last time we saw this engine was at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 2018.

France Stone Company 45 ton switcher 1776/1976.

Nickel Plate diner 104 built in 1927 and converted to Norfolk Southern maintenance-of-way car 920494.

The interior of 920494.

These doorknobs are fashioned from replica NKP conductor uniform buttons made by George. He then took us into the regular museum building and we went to the first room of car displays.

Nickel Plate wooden caboose 1047 built in 1882.

A 1929 Ford truck used by the Railway Express Agency.

Wheeling and Lake Erie wooden caboose 0911 built in 1937. We were next taken into the room behind the gift shop.

Lake Shore Chapter New York Central Lake Veterans china plate display.

Replica of the Sandusky, the first locomotive to run in Ohio.

Dispatching board.

Norfolk and Western Bellevue hump tower board.

Bellevue Terminal china.

Nickel Plate Road dining car table and uniforms.

The bell from the original Sandusky.

Lake Shore Electric display cases.

Railroad history through the years.

The bell from the Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train.

Two views of the Lake Shore Electric Railway cars. We then went into the covered open air area of the museum.

Amtrak dining car 8002 formerly Seaboard Air Line 6102.

Chicago, Burlington and Quincy 4714 "Silver Dome", the first dome car built in the United States used on the Train of Tomorrow.

The coach seats in the lower level of the "Silver Dome", a car which is being restored so we could not go up into the dome area.

Pullman 6-6-4 sleeper sold to Erie Railroad and became Erie 6 "American Life"

Nickel Plate Road coach 105 built 1949. Next George took us across the street to the exhibits behind the fence.

Mad River Railroad Museum Plymouth 18 ton switcher 76.

Lehigh and Hudson River hopper 1812.

Cleveland Electric Illuminating 0-6-0F 7 built 1943.

Milwaukee Road Metal Reefer URTX 31003.

Crossing shanty.

Milwaukee Road 52 seat coach 618, originally 531.

Curtice, Ohio depot outhouse.

The Wheeling and Lake Erie depot from Curtice, Ohio built in 1882 and moved to the museum grounds.

The interior of the Curtice station.

A public timetable rack.

A scale.

A view through the ticket office.

Historic plates and tickets.

The plaque outside the door of the Curtice depot.

N&W Railroad Safety and Mechanical Instruction Car 401, formerly an auto parts carrying car.

Toledo, Angola and Western tank car built in 1942. We would now be taken through the four Church cars which were incredible in their breadth and type of memorabelia displayed. These cars were once taken by the railroad to various towns and put on a siding where the townspeople could view the displays. Now sit back and enjoy this vast display of railroad history.

I hope you all enjoyed this trip through railroad history and if you want to see it for yourself, make a trip to Bellevue, Ohio. You will not be disappointed.

A Norfolk Southern switcher in the Bellevue yard passing by the museum.

Norfolk and Western steel caboose 518397.

Baltimore and Ohio S-4 9096.

Pullman Troop Sleeper 7407.

Wabash baggage car 354 built in 1926.

Nickel Plate Road caboose 700.

Nickel Plate Road bay window caboose 423.

Mad River and NKP Museum 25th Anniversary box car 1976 to 2001.

Nickel Plate Road Dynamometer Car 50041.

Nickel Plate Road gondola car 70130.

Nickel Plate Road GP-30 900.

Norfolk and Western SD9 2349, formerly Norfolk and Western 52 and Nickel Plate 2349.

Pennsylvania Railroad (United States Mail Railway) Post Office Car 6570.

Inside of the Post Office Car 6570.

The north end of the Church Cars.

Milwaukee Road H12-44 740.

Railroad Crossing Stop, Look and Listen sign.

Wabash F7A 671.

Side dump car.

Nickel Plate Road box car 25228

Milwaukee Road wooden ice bunker 37351.

The interior of Milwaukee Road wooden ice bunker 37351.

Grade Crossing Wig Wag signal. We thanked George for an excellent tour but it was time to say our goodbyes.

The Henry Morrison Flagler historical Sign.

The Museum across the street. We left two very happy railfans but now we had to become baseball fans. I drove Elizabeth and me to Progessive Field in Cleveland and we parked right across the street in a parking structure.

Chicago Cubs vs the Cleveland Inidians 5/12/2021

We walked across the street and stopped for a picture of our first visit to this ballpark.

The front of Progressive Field, formerly Jacobs Field, before we entered.

Views from the top deck on the way to our seats.

The views from our seats.

The first pitch of the game.

The flags shifted in center field during the game. It was a scoreless game until the sixth inning when each team scored one each. The game went to the tenth with the Cubs not scoring and the Indians won the game in the bottom of the tenth when Armed Rosario singled on a line drive to right fielder Jason Heyward. Josh Naylor then scored to win. From here we returned to the car and drove to Marion, Ohio but stopped in Mansfield at Arby's for dinner. Fortified, I drove us the rest of the way to the Best Western Plus where we wrote the previous day's story and called it a night.