The famous Berks, which was a
diverse and extremely capable locomotive for the railroad (it was used
for everything from heavy freight to speedy passenger service),
soldiered on for the Nickel Plate as late as the summer of 1958. The end for the Nickel Plate began in the late 1950s when, as
competition became more and more fierce and mergers began pick up
momentum, management knew it had
to act and align itself with one of the larger eastern carriers to
assure its survival (particularly as, during this time, the Pennsylvania
and New York Central were contemplating merger and the C&O and
B&O had already merged along with the Virginian having become part
of the N&W in 1959).
|NKP NW2 #21 pulls a cut of cars through Chicago's Pullman Junction on April 7, 1966.|
As it so happened, the N&W was actually looking for some way to
extend its lucrative and vaunted coal traffic to the Midwest and found
such an extension by way of the Nickel Plate Road (the NKP was
interested in the merger since the N&W was a very wealthy
coal-hauling system). This new marriage resulted in a strong
system and resulted in other smaller railroads scrambling for some way
to remain competitive. These roads included the Wabash; Akron, Canton
& Youngstown; and Pittsburgh & West Virginia, all three of which
asked to become part of the new system as, which was granted. And,
after four years of negotiations, hearings, and planning the new, larger
N&W became a reality (all three additional railroads were merged
into the N&W) on October 16, 1964.
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Diesel Locomotive Roster
The American Locomotive Company
The Baldwin Locomotive Works/Lima Locomotive Works
Steam Locomotive Roster
|B-5 Through B-11, M||Switcher||0-6-0|
|C-17, U-2, U-3||Switcher||0-8-0|
|G-1 Through G-10 (Various), N-2, N-4||Consolidation||2-8-0|
|P, P-4, P-5, P-6, R||Ten-Wheeler||4-6-0|
|S Through S-3||Berkshire||2-8-4|
Notable Passenger Trains
Nickel Plate Limited: (Chicago - Buffalo)
Blue Arrow: (Cleveland - St. Louis)
Blue Dart: (St. Louis - Cleveland)
City of Chicago: (Buffalo - Chicago)
City of Cleveland: (Chicago - Buffalo)
Commercial Traveler: (Toledo - St. Louis)
New Yorker: (Chicago - Buffalo)
Westerner: (Buffalo - Chicago)
|The Nickel Plate was a regular customer of Alco products, even coming back to purchase second-generation equipment. One of its RS36s, #875, is seen here powering today's City of Chicago as it pulls into the Windy City's Englewood Union Station on April 21, 1965.|
The Nickel Plate itself never lived long enough to own many diesels,
especially since it was late to dieselize, and only contributed a little
over 400 units to the N&W, almost all of which were first
generation power. In spite of this the railroad’s main lines continue
to serve successor Norfolk Southern quite well today as high-speed
routes to the cities the NKP served. As mentioned above, several of
the Nickel Plate’s steam and diesel locomotives continue to not only
survive but also are fully restored and operational, most notably
Berkshire #765 and sister 763, which was just recently purchased by the
Ohio Central and is expected to be fully restored to operation as well.
Also, while not originally of Nickel Plate heritage, the only
soon-to-be-operating Alco PA in the country is adorned in NKP's
beautiful Bluebird passenger livery and numbered #190 just like the original.
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Other Classic Railroads Of The Midwest
Burlington, "Way Of The Zephyrs"
CA&E, "The Roarin' Elgin"
C&NW, "Route Of The '400'"
Rock Island, "Route Of The Rockets"
D&M, "The Turtle Line"
DT&I, "We Have The Connections"
GB&W, "The Green Bay Route"
IC, "The Main Line Of Mid-America"
IT, "The Road Of Personalized Services"
IHB, "Connects With All Chicago Railroads"
CMStP&P, "Route Of The Hiawathas"
Monon, "The Hoosier Line"
"Ship Soo To And Through The Upper Midwest"
St. Louis Southwestern
MN&S, "The Dan Patch Line"
M&StL, "The Peoria Gateway"
The Missabe Road
MoPac, "Route Of The Eagles"
CGW, "The Corn Belt Route"
DW&P, "Delivered With Pride"
BRC, "The Belt"
EJ&E, "Chicago Outer Belt"
KCS, "Route Of The Southern Belle"
Lake Superior & Ishpeming
Wabash, "Follow The Flag"
Santa Fe..."All The Way!"
St. Louis-San Francisco Railway