Bellevue, Ohio – May 2018 – Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum

While I am a fan of all types of transportation, I am not a train fanatic like some. Still, even though we had recently been to a major train museum in Pennsylvania this Saturday brought up another opportunity to check out one closer to home – The Mad River and Nickel Plate Railway Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

The drive up to Bellevue paralleled a major rail line, and a stop in the town of Bucyrus to check out their historic station was interrupted as we waited out a 150 car freight trian.

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Eventually we made it to Bellevue and the Mad River – Nickel Plate Railway Museum. The name requires some explanation – Mad River is flows for 70 miles across Ohio. It gained it’s name from the ‘mad rapids’ that occur along much of the river.

The New York, Chicago and St Louis Railway was founded in the 1880s, but was based in Cleveland. It was given the nickname Nickel Plate from a local newspaper who thought it’s financial prospects were ‘nickel plated’ – or very good.

 

 

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The museum has an indoor area with a number of small artifacts including dinnerware and waiter uniforms.

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One of their prized possessions is the bell from the Lincoln Funeral Train.

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In addition to the rail rolling stock they have a couple of nicely restored trucks.

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What sets this rail museum apart from the others is nearly all of the cars are open for inspection, including numerous cabooses.

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Outdoors are many more rail cars – including numerous box cars that house even more artifacts. Below is a telegraph desk.

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They also have a nice collection of tools – note the ‘track level’

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Many of the cars are connected together to pass between them. All have been restored to original vibrant colors.

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A small station was brought from a nearby town.

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It too is restored to original condition.

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The cars are fairly packed into their yard – but as the rain came this was welcome.

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A manual brake on a car.

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They also have a beautiful postal car.

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As well as some switching lights.

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A diesel locamotive.

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The venting on the side gave it an aerodynamic feel.

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Literally across the tracks was an area with a few more restored cars, as well as a couple un-restored ones next to some cool giant, empty concrete silos.

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But alas we have reached the end of the road. This rail museum is well worth the visit, with their great collections in the rolling stock that allow you to actually go in and check them out.

Given that Bellevue is on multiple active rail lines the constant train whistles in the background made it even better. It was all very cool.

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Strasburg, PA – May 2018 – Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania near the small town of Strasburg. With over 100 locomotives and cars it is one of the larger rail museums in America. A trip to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania is highly recommended for any rail or transportation fans.

 

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The Rolling Stock Hall, designed like a large train shed is immaculately clean. From above the equipment almost look like model railroad cars.

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The collection covers from the late 1800s until the 1950s.

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The museum was built by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and continues today with support from a non profit group.

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All of the equipment housed indoors has been restored to near original condition.

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In addition to the rolling stock there are numerous other pieces, including benches from rail stations.

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While much of the equipment came from the famed Pennsylvania Railroad, other railroads are represented as well.

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But by far the largest collection is from the PRR.

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Some of the cars are open for inspecting, such as this ‘training car’.

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Another highlight is a full locomotive positioned over a maintenance pit that allows inspection underneath.

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The museum has a replica of the John Bull, a locomotive built in 1831. The original is at the Smithsonian.

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Nearby is the Red Caboose Motel – where you can spend the night in a caboose.

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Kelowna, BC – September 2017 – Myra Valley Trestles

High above Kelowna, British Columbia is the Myra Valley Trestles, a former rail line that has become a ‘rails to trails’. What makes this one special is it runs across 18 trestles and two tunnels in the 11 kilometer route.

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The trestles have had decking added for easier riding.

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The trestles are marked with both a sequential number and the distance from Midway BC, reminding riders of their previous use.

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The air was hazy from the numerous forest fires throughout BC. There were a couple very long, curved trestles made out of steel.

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The tunnels were short enough you didn’t need lights to see.

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The Myra Valley Trail is easily the best bike trail I have ever seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pittsburgh – July 2017 – Carnegie Science Center

The Carnegie Science Center, like most science centers, is geared towards children, but with an excellent railway model of the highlights of Pittsburgh I wanted to check it out.

An added bonus was the Robot Hall of Fame, as well as a submarine docked on the banks of the Ohio River!

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An interesting display showing the stress high heel shoes put on a woman’s ankle and foot.

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Forbes Field

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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater

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Danger Will Robinson….

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Washington, PA – June 2017 – Pennsylvania Trolley Museum

The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is about an hour south of downtown Pittsburgh, near the town of Washington, Pennsylvania. They are one of the oldest trolley museums in the country, having started in 1949 when the trolleys were still running. It is well worth a visit, one of the best streetcar museums I have seen, and we enjoyed our time there checking out the cars, with the bonus of going for rides.

One of their highlights is a New Orleans streetcar number 832. When New Orleans was disposing of some old streetcars to museums they ‘mistakenly’ allowed this car to go to Pennsylvania. It turned out this was the car used in the 1950s movie ‘Streetcar Named Desire’.

 

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The museum has a number of well kept ‘barns’, with numerous cars in each. The Fifth Avenue car was from the early 1900s when they were still horse drawn. The one below was used to take passengers through the week to work, and mourners to funerals on Saturdays.

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The West Penn Streetcar lines were represented.

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An interurban from Toledo.

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A newer PCC streetcar painted in the ‘PAT’ (Port Authority of Pittsburgh) colors.

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Cleveland – May 2017 – Harbor Views

Cleveland is a major port on Lake Erie, with most of the large commercial ore boats traversing the narrow, crooked Cuyahoga River. There is however a port at the entrance to the river, as well as an old Art Deco Coast Guard station, all with great views of the river, lake and city.

A marina on Whiskey Island (actually a peninsula) is home to the tug boat fleet, as well as some pleasure boats.

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The vacant coast guard station is a beautiful art deco building that the city is now restoring.

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The harbor lighthouse leads out from the safe waters behind the breakwater to the often turbulent water of Lake Erie.

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The mix of huge ore boats and small sailboats is interesting.

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An amazing collection of bridges cross the Cuyahoga, some are small lift bridges (the foreground is a lift bridge for the railroad), as well as high level bridges.

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The harbor crane with a background of a downtown skyscraper.

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Hilliard, OH – May 2017 – N Scale Model Trains

A rainy Sunday morning meant trying to find something inside to do. Fortunately there was a N Scale Model Train show in Hilliard, Ohio. N Scale is a very small scale, and the scenery that the various groups did was very intricate.

The model rail clubs came from throughout Ohio and surrounding states. The best was easily the Dayton N Scale club, as they had working carnival rides, ski lifts, and many others.

A German Rail Station

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With the small scale they build models in suitcases, and in this case, a guitar case.

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Some of the scenery the trains run through included a drive in movie theater.

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The ski lift.

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Clubs came from as far away as Indiana and New Jersey.

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The small, fast moving trains proved to be tricky to photograph.

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Another station.

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