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.
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.
The museum has an indoor area with a number of small artifacts including dinnerware and waiter uniforms.
One of their prized possessions is the bell from the Lincoln Funeral Train.
In addition to the rail rolling stock they have a couple of nicely restored trucks.
What sets this rail museum apart from the others is nearly all of the cars are open for inspection, including numerous cabooses.
Outdoors are many more rail cars – including numerous box cars that house even more artifacts. Below is a telegraph desk.
They also have a nice collection of tools – note the ‘track level’
Many of the cars are connected together to pass between them. All have been restored to original vibrant colors.
A small station was brought from a nearby town.
It too is restored to original condition.
The cars are fairly packed into their yard – but as the rain came this was welcome.
A manual brake on a car.
They also have a beautiful postal car.
As well as some switching lights.
A diesel locamotive.
The venting on the side gave it an aerodynamic feel.
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.
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.