NEW HAVEN, INDIANA – Through a cooperative effort with the Mad River & NKP Museum in Bellevue, Ohio, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS) has acquired crucial internal components necessary to restore the Society’s historic Nickel Plate Railroad diesel locomotive, no. 358.
Built in 1957, the “Special Duty”-type locomotive no.358 will become a mobile classroom and pull special trains for excursions and events as part of the Project 358 restoration project. In addition, the 200-ton teaching tool will help the Society illustrate the dramatic shift in technologies as railroads transitioned from steam locomotives like the Society’s world-famous engine no. 765, to diesel-electrical locomotives that ushered in the modern railroad industry.
Mad River donated a variety of traction motor cables and electrical equipment from their own cosmetically restored diesel locomotive, Norfolk & Western no. 2349, which is identical to the 358 and also originally built for the Nickel Plate Road.
“There are few organizations in our industry that have enjoyed such a long collaborative relationship,” explained Dwayne Fuhering, Mad River’s Vice President.
“We are excited and thankful to obtain these components and will get to work immediately installing them on 358,” said W.D. Miller, Project Manager for Project 358. “Our crews hope to have the 358’s engine started later this year.”
For over 40 years, both groups have partnered on a variety of projects, including offering the 765 space for winter storage and maintenance and co-sponsoring passenger excursions. Recently, Society members also recently assisted in Mad River’s relocation of historic Nickel Plate Road steam engine no. 757 for its own cosmetic restoration in Bellevue.
Fort Wayne, Indiana and Bellevue, Ohio were industrious railroad towns in the 20th Century and major terminals for the Nickel Plate Railroad. For more information on the two organizations working to preserve this important heritage, visit, fortwaynerailroad.org and madrivermuseum.org.
Project 358 has also been supported by grants and donations from Crown Battery Systems, Steel Dynamics, Inc., the Nickel Plate Historical & Technical Society, Inc., and Progress Rail, Inc.