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Nickel Plate Road Magazine Fall 2012 Along the Line column
Along the LineInformation regardingformer Nickel Plate routes and equipment Compiled by David Bender Oregon Rail Heritage Honors NKPHTS member Doyle McCormack L ongtime NKPHTS member Doyle McCor- mack (No. 180) has worked extensively over the past 12-plus years with a group of volunteers in the Oregon area to “restore” the Nickel Plate PA-1 No.190. Although it is a proj- ect of great importance to the NKPHTS, this restoration project is just one small part of the many rail projects and activities in which Doyle is involved. Doyle is the official engineer for the former Southern Pacific 4449, owned by the City of Portland, and he is behind the restora- tion of an NKP “fantasy” Alco RSD-4/5. Beyond his personal projects, Doyle has been active in one way or another in pretty much all of the rail heritage projects in the Portland region. All of Doyle’s hard work was recognized on Sept. 22, 2012, when the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation unveiled a plaque dedicating a por- tion of the new Oregon Rail Heritage Center in Portland in his honor. The facility was dedi- cated at a noon ceremony with the unveiling of the dedication plaque above the engine door of the “Doyle L. McCormack Engine House.” This singular honor was bestowed upon Doyle by a major donor to the project, Gordon Zimmer- man, who insisted that the facility be dedicated to Doyle. Fellow Portland area resident and Doyle McCormack’s ongoing NKP-related projects—the re-creation of NKP PA-1 No. 190 and “plausible NKPHTS member Jennifer White Wolf Crock fantasy” NKP RSD-4/5 No. 324—were on display at the ceremonial opening of the new Oregon Rail (No. 728) echoes these sentiments: Heritage Foundation on Sept. 22, 2012. trent stetz “Doyle’s has been a real kingpin of all the rail heritage efforts in the region. In my opin- ion, it is only fitting that one of the largest con- The original 190 ran on trains that oper- tributors to the facility ask that a portion of it ated between Chicago and Buffalo as well as New Life for ex-NKP be dedicated to Doyle... Without his efforts it is likely that none of this would be here today.” between Cleveland and St. Louis. The NKP PAs were based and maintained in Conneaut, Line in Indiana Along with the honor of the dedication plaque, Doyle McCormack’s hard work on the restoration of the NKP 190 will be continue to Doyle’s home town. Unfortunately, none of the real NKP PA locomotives survived the scrap- per’s torch. A deal with the City of Kokomo, Ind., Kokomo Grain, and U S Rail will reopen about 12 miles of the IMC line from Tipton to Kokomo be recognized by all who pass through the cen- In year 2000, Doyle was able to go to Mexico for rail use again. ter, as the the 190 is now on display on the 2.75- to purchase the former Santa Fe PA No. 62-L This Norfolk Southern-owned section has acre grounds of the facility. and 59-L, which had later become Delaware & been out of use and embargoed for nearly 15 On his restoration website, http://www. Hudson 18 and 16 respectively. The 62-L (18) years after then-operator Central Railroad of nkp190.com/, Doyle puts forth that the PA-1 is was brought to Portland’s Brooklyn Round- Indianapolis (CERA) and its parent Railtex perhaps one of the most beautiful diesel loco- house to undergo restoration as the “new” NKP was bought out by RailAmerica. At that time motives ever built; but his affection for the PA-1 190. Locomotive 59-L (16) is bound for Frisco, CERA also operated the Cloverleaf between and the 190 specifically goes well beyond the Texas, to be restored as a Santa Fe warbonnet. Kokomo and Frankfort of which the lease on aesthetics of the engine. Doyle’s father worked At the Brooklyn Roundhouse, volunteers have both lines was pulled and both have sat mostly for the Nickel Plate, and it was in the 190 that worked hard to rebuild this locomotive from the unused since. Doyle had his first diesel cab ride. Doyle him- ground up, including the installation of a new Kokomo Grain will put $5.5 million into the self later got his engineer’s certificate through prime mover, traction motors, cab controls and project which is said to include crossing reha- the Nickel Plate. electrical cabinets. bilitation, ballast, and new rail. Of note is that 4
above: The former-NKP line between Kokomo andTipton, Ind., has come alive again thanks to theopening of a new grain facility at Kokomo; thebad news is that the trackage down DefenbaughStreet may wind up being removed in the processof track rationalization. right: Looking west at theTipton depot along the old LE&W main line onOct. 8, 2012. The rehabbed line north to Kokomobranches to the right. both photos, john norwoodthis includes a new connection to be built from NKP Tower Faces Uncertain Futurethe old Kokomo Belt Line, a joint PRR-NKPline that was last used in the early 1990s. Trains will leave the IMC line (heading T he need for a tower to govern rail traffic at the intersection of the Nickel Plate and Illinois Central at Ramsey, Ill., has long since below: This view of the tower at Ramsey, Ill., look- ing northeast in 1998 reveals a nicely restored building guarding two abandoned rights-of-way.north) north of the Hoffer Street crossing and passed. Yet, drivers along U.S. Route 51 pass- The boxcar is on the former NKP R-O-W. mikego onto a new southeast connector that will tra- ing through this hamlet of some 1,000 residents schafer. bottom: A northward view of the tower inverse part of the old Delco Radio GM plant site in this south central Illinois hamlet can still see 1966 when it was still active. The NKP main linethat is now open after those plants were razed the tower—and a boxcar and NKP caboose— runs left to right (west to east) in the photo, witha number of years ago. It will rejoin the Belt west of the Meridian Highway. the IC’s north-south Charter Line main at right.line near the Bona Vista site near the Delphos This restoration project was the work of the nkphts collectionStreet and Defenbaugh Street intersection Save The Ramsey Tower committee, but thatwhere trains will traverse this short section to was several years ago and today work on thejoin the ex-PRR line through the East side of tower and nearby boxcar and caboose has di-downtown Kokomo to access Kokomo Grain’s minished to almost nothing. The tower oncefacility on Kokomo’s north side. Very likely the guarded the intersection of IC’s original “Char-IMC from this point north toward downtown ter Line” route between Cairo and Galena, Ill.,will be removed, and that includes the old Mar- and NKP’s Cleveland–St. Louis main line.shall Yard, and remaining Defenbaugh Street The project was the brainchild of Norrisstreet-running that remains on the old Belt, Price, president of the committee, and he stillas well as the Belt line Home Avenue crossing, remains the contact person for matters relatingand adjacent diamond as well as the street run- to the project. The Ramsey Public Library holdsning in downtown. Track will said to be main- all the information about the railroad and thetained for only 10 m.p.h. running just as it was tower. Interested parties may contact Norrisbefore it was embargoed in the 1990s. A deal is via the Ramsey News-Journal, 223 S. Superior,suppose to be in the works to use NS power, just Ramsey, IL 62080-0218.as the current arrangement that brings trainsover from Marion via the Marion Belt and Clo-verleaf over now CERA-owned tracks. Projectis set for completion in spring 2014. Also of interest is the extension of the “NickelPlate Trail” which is now taking place. The trailnow ends at Cassville just north of Kokomo, butthe remaining rail from Gano Street north toCassville is in the process of being removed forthe trail extension. Kokomo is said to also be in-terested in extending their “Industrial HeritageTrail” south along the IMC towards Tipton, so itwill interesting to see how they mix the rebuild-ing of the rail line and trail. The former UnionTraction of Indiana interurban line ran besidethe IMC through here, but most of its right-of-way has been obliterated and it is unclear if itwill be used for the trail part.—John Norwood 5