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© May 25, 2005 

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Cabooses are not a Memory at Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum

Nickel Plate Road Caboose #471 built in 1962.  It arrived at the HVRM on July 8, 1995

Written by Todd Flanigan  

The Chesapeake & Ohio K-4 Class Kanawha #2789 was the beginning of the museum.  The 2789 a 2-8-4 type was built by American Locomotive Works in 1947.  2789 was taken out of service by the C&O in 1955.  In 1961, through efforts of the Miami County Steam Association, engine 2789 was placed on static display at the city park in Peru, IN.  2789 was relocated to North Judson, IN in 1988 and resides at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.  Efforts are slowly progressing to repair and restore the engine to operating condition.

Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum, Inc., is a 501- (C)(3)nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring together people who are interested in maintaining the history and heritage of railroading.

HVRM members in front of C&O #2789
(#2789 is a 2-8-4 restoration in progress built in 1947) 

From left to right: (kneeling) John LaOrange (HVRM President), Chuck Nuss , Steve Newland, (standing) Mark Knebel, Tom McKee (behind Mark), Harold Lambirth, Jason Jordin, Dave Cook, Tom Tittle, Bob Alberts, Alan Franson Joe Kingsbury.  On the locomotive, left side from the bottom: John Shultz, Cheri Shultz, Jeff Kehler. Derick Thomas, on the locomotive, right side bottom: Kyle Flanigan, Todd Flanigan, Micheal Tognetti.

Since 1988 the concept of building a working railroad museum is becoming a reality.  Track and switches have been re-laid on the abandoned right-of-way of the Erie Railroad through North Judson. 

Three former C&O railway shanties have been relocated to the museum site.  A 60’x100’ building donated by McGill Mfg., was relocated and reassembled in 1994-95.  This now serves as the museum’s back shop.  A new 24’x50’ depot was constructed in 1999. 
The HVRM maintains a working museum and display site that was developed from donated railroad equipment, locomotives, and rolling stock.  HVRM had operated on a small section of track (approximately 3-4 blocks).  The museum had always  hoped to someday go the 16 miles southeast on the J&K Line to Monterey, IN.  In 2003 our hopes were lost as the J&K line filed for abandonment and the rails pulled up.  Through generous donations, the museum received approximately 1 mile of the J&K Line (formerly known as the Erie). 
C&O #7311
HVRM now uses this for caboose rides.  A 2nd mile was donated without track.  We hope to relay this some day.
In 2004  not a hope, but a dream became reality.  After the J&K stopped operations CSX chose to do the same with their track into North Judson.   If this happened the museum would become isolated and the rich railroad history that built North Judson would be gone.  HVRM did everything it could to save the line.  Fortunately, the LaPorte County Co-Op in Malden and the town of North Judson also wanted to save the line.  Through combined efforts, we pulled it off!  The town of North Judson now owns about 33 miles of former C&O track from North Judson to Malden; and from LaCrosse to Wellsboro.  The line is now in service. The Chesapeake and Indiana was the chosen operator. 
Repair work on Bessimer caboose wheels
The 9 mile line from North Judson to Lacrosse has no current customers.  HVRM is planning to use this portion of the line this summer for it’s caboose train rides. 

We have come a LONG way since 1988.  The new depot is amazing.  It has hundreds of old photos and displays.  The depot also has a very nice gift shop. 

C& O #2789 in front of the HVRM depot

Work at HVRM is slow at times, but very steady.  This past year we finished a WWII troop sleeper car.  Several bunks and other WWII artifacts make a unique display.  It also houses an N scale layout of the 4 railroads that interchanged in North Judson (NYC, PRR, Erie and C&O).

A 60’ X 60’ addition was finished on the front of the shop.  A new switch was completed that will lead to the rail storage yard and the 100’ turntable that is awaiting installation.

There is always something to do and see at HVRM.  Our operating season is May thru September, with special events throughout the year.  Special outings can be arranged (scouts or group outings, etc.)  The museum is open on Saturdays and Sundays.  Come out and take a historic caboose ride.

For more information go to:  HTTP://HVRM.RAILFAN.NET   


Written by Todd Flanigan  

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