I was very impressed when I went to the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana to capture footage of NKP 765 performing over the 2009 Memorial Day Weekend. More about that another time.
About the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, encompasses former yards of three railroads that passed through the town. The first railroad came to North Judson just before the Civil War, and later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. The next railroad came in the 1880’s, and became part of the New York Central. The third also arrived in the 1880’s, and became part of the C&O. As the railroad industry changed, and giant mergers occurred, duplicate routes were abandoned. In North Judson’s case, all that remains are two short lines, one of which connects to CSX in Lacrosse, IN.
With three railroads going through it, you can imagine what North Judson must have been like in the day.
The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum dates to 1988 when C&O steam locomotive 2789 was relocated from a park in Peru, Indiana to North Judson, with the hope of restoring it. Since then the group has taken a donated building from its original site and reassembled it to create a backshop where restoration of 2789 can be performed. The building is large enough for other locomotives and cars to be worked on and kept out of the weather.
On the grounds, the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum volunteers have relaid tracks and switches, brought in historic structures, and created an environment that, well, feels historic. In fact, just before we made our visit, they had just completed moving Grasselli Tower from its former location in East Chicago, Indiana where it once controlled the interlocking for the B&O Chicago Terminal, EJ&E, and the Indiana Harbor Belt. The tower is to be restored and at least one switch will be controlled within, allowing visitors to get a feel of what interlocking towers did for the railroads.
The museum has over 30 pieces of rolling stock in varying degrees of restoration and operation. Many of the cars sport great looking paint jobs.
The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum grounds are open to the public on Saturdays (free admission!) and operates diesel powered trains with reasonable fares mostly on Saturdays. It’s a great place to visit and support. The volunteers I met with were all very friendly and enthused about what they are doing. Be sure to visit them soon.
I’ll write about the 765 another time, but I must tell you what really moved me that weekend. The 765 has a great whistle, and it sounded wonderful when I was out in the woods by that river bridge. On Saturday & Sunday the whistle became familiar as the train went back and forth between North Judson and Lacrosse.
But Monday….Memorial Day, they installed the 2789’s whistle on 765. That sent shivers up and down my spine the first time I heard it over the sound of the river and the early morning birds. I suspect there were long time Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum guys who were moved as well. Oh my!
Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum and NKP 765 on DVD!
Yes, you can hear it on our DVD Midwest Steam 2009, Part 1. Turn up the volume. Be sure to say thanks to the guys who made it all possible.
Steve Mitchell, Yard Goat Images