The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum (MR&NKP) is pleased to announce the creation of an agreement with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (RRMPA) that would allow Nickel Plate Road Steam Locomotive #757 to return to Bellevue, Ohio. Plans are now underway to relocate the locomotive from Strasburg, PA, to the museum site in Bellevue for static display.
“We are very excited to be able to bring the 757 back to Bellevue. The absence of a mainline steam locomotive in our collection has been something we have wanted to correct for a long time. To have the chance to return the 757 to Bellevue is an incredible victory for our organization,” said museum President Chris Beamer.
The locomotive is a Berkshire type (2-8-4 wheel arrangement), the staple design that was made famous by the Nickel Plate Road (NKP). It was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1944 and was last operated on June 15, 1958. As steam locomotives were retired on the Nickel Plate, several were saved by the railroad as monuments to the towns along the line and donated accordingly. 757 was saved for Bellevue, Ohio, Nickel Plate’s largest classification terminal. Unfortunately, at that time, Bellevue did not have a railroad museum and the city was unable to provide and fund a display site. After being stored at Bellevue for several years, the railroad donated the locomotive to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 1966.
Ten years after Bellevue lost its steam locomotive, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum was founded. Since then, the MR&NKP has grown to encompass 50 pieces of equipment, 10 acres of property, five buildings, countless artifacts, and a rail viewing platform. The MR&NKP is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is operated and maintained by volunteers with no government assistance. Admission to the museum, fund raising events, and donations are the museum’s primary sources of income. The MR&NKP has the most extensive collection of NKP equipment and artifacts of any museum, however owning an actual NKP steam locomotive has eluded the museum since its inception.
In early 2017, the MR&NKP and the RRMPA entered into negotiations to bring 757 back home. Within the past few months, the RRMPA and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has agreed that 757 does not have as strong a connection to Pennsylvania’s railroading history as some of their other locomotives and railroad cars, which also require considerable attention. They have made the difficult decision to deaccession 757 from their collection, with the intention of transferring the locomotive to an organization that has a better connection to the locomotive’s history and is willing and able to immediately restore it.
The MR&NKP will begin movement preparations as funds permit and will be granted ownership of the locomotive after its removal from the RRMPA site. “The people of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania have been great to work with on this project and toward the common goal of preserving our country’s railroad heritage,” Beamer added.
This is a rare opportunity and may not be available again. The MR&NKP estimates the relocation, restoration, and preparation of a special exhibit site will cost $250,000. The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum needs your help to bring this iconic locomotive back home to Bellevue.