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 Post subject: Frankfort roundhouse
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:21 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
Handsome NKP Pacific by the roundhouse in Frankfort, Indiana in 1941:

http://abpr.railfan.net/abprphoto.cgi?a ... kp167b.jpg

The Pacific is long gone, but the roundhouse, last I knew, was still complete, with only moderate interest in saving it.


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse
PostPosted: Tue Mar 21, 2006 9:33 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5683
Bob:

Seems to me I read somewhere recently, that there is a new effort by Frankfort to same the roundhouse and coal dock. Maybe somebody out there can tell us some more.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:00 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 573
Location: St. Louis, MO
Some time back I thought someone posted info that NS had offered the turntable at Frankfort for sale on a "as is, where is" basis. Does anyone know how long this table is, by the way?


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:42 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
Posts: 2528
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
The Frankfort Rounhouse was recently placed on a list of "Most Endangered Historic Structures in Indiana." It is briefly mentioned in this artible in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbc ... 9185221901

Sorry for the long link. The main subject of the article, the Colgate factory in Jeffersonville, IN, is adjacent to the old Ohio Falls Car Company, later part of ACF.


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse/and locomotive ?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 12:21 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5683
Perhaps what the Frankfort roundhouse needs is an historic locomotive. Saving what amounts to an industrial building (which is what the ordinary public looks at it as being) would not garner much local support. But bringing an historic locomotive back to Frankfort, for placement in the roundhouse, might generate just enough interest.

I suggest as a possibility Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 # 624, currently on display in Hammond, Indiana. Although there have been instances in the past where cosmetic updates of her were undertaken, on the whole she has slowly been sliding downhill. Within the last two years or so, she was actually traded to a private individual although that deal never went through for some reason. So she still sits there. Bringing her back to Frankfort could be the shot-in-the-arm that the effort to save the roundhouse, turntable and coal dock need. After another cosmetic restoration, she could be kept inside, to be moved outside perhaps on certain days to be spun on the turntable. There might be enough interest from the public for an effort of this type to move this project off of dead center.

Les Beckman (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum/North Judson, Indiana)


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse/turntable?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 2:09 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 573
Location: St. Louis, MO
According to the Summer 2005 issue of the NKP Historical & Technical Society magazine Craig Pressler acquired the turntable from the Frankfort roundhouse. I don't have the magazine, just the title of this story in it from their web site. It says that the table will soon have a new home. Can anyone give us info on where this might be or any other details?


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort turntable to Indianapolis?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 8:23 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 573
Location: St. Louis, MO
After running down a copy of the NKP Hist & Tech Society magazine it seems that the turntable at Frankfort was 110' long, and was bought by folks involved with the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville. The magazine thinks it is planned for placement east of Indianapolis Union Station where it can be used by ITM trains into town. The museum is thought to also have or have had a 100' B&O table from that city which has been in storage since about 1984. Can anyone confirm all of this and tell us if the table has been moved from Frankfort yet? If it has it will be the 89th turntable to be moved for reuse by a museum or tourist line since 1946.


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 Post subject: Historic site
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 9:40 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
At the risk of editorializing, I hope the turntable stays where it is and the appropriate NKP equipment comes to it, not the other way around. I can never fathom why we rape and destroy real historic sites to try to create phony ones elsewhere. No wonder the public thinks we're just big kids playing with a 1:1 Lionel set.


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 Post subject: Re: Historic site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 2:09 am 
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Posts: 2090
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
bobyar2001 wrote:
At the risk of editorializing, I hope the turntable stays where it is and the appropriate NKP equipment comes to it, not the other way around. I can never fathom why we rape and destroy real historic sites to try to create phony ones elsewhere. No wonder the public thinks we're just big kids playing with a 1:1 Lionel set.

AMEN to that! I remember what a kid said at a well-known museum (won’t name names) when the docent proudly proclaimed that a certain structure they were standing next to used to sit at a certain town. The kid raised his hand and asked, “If it’s so historical, why isn’t it still sitting where it was built?” I’ve never seen a seven-year-old fluster a 60-tear-old so fast in my life! Out of the mouths of babes…


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 Post subject: Re: Historic site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:10 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 9:35 am
Posts: 8139
Location: Wilton, NY
As a movement, we've shown comparatively little interest in saving historic places like Frankfort, which, in my opinion, are the appropriate sites to collect railroad equipment related to the site. Somehow, we can come up with ideas and funding for schemes that border on being historically ridiculous (like a Reading 4-8-4 in Washington State - let's not start that thread up again please), but make negative comments about saving history where it happened.

I've never been to Frankfort, but from photos have determined it is the most intact of remaining NKP roundhouse facilities, complete with its huge concrete coal chute. A few years ago, NKP 587 had some work done inside the roundhouse. There are 13 remaining NKP steam locomotives, 12 of which fit the era (the 4-6-0 at Steamtown was sold in 1920), plus several first generation diesels that would have worked alongside steam. Some of the steam locomotives are turning to rust in public parks, others are undergoing slow repairs that may or may not get finished before we die, with only one almost ready for the road. At Frankfort, they could at least be under a roof, whether they ran again or not.

NS might not be conducive to operating steam excursions out of Frankfort, but should that really matter? Operable locomotives could chuff or growl around some yard trackage, with an engineer-for-an-hour experience offered, providing income for the museum, and some visual excitement for the public..

But few among us seem to see or promote such potential for bringing history back to life where it happened. Even on the NKP Yahoo list, the only suggestion I saw for saving Frankfort was to turn it into an outlet mall, like the atrocity at Keene, New Hampshire. And its not just at Frankfort. The City of Evanston, Wyoming, which owns a fantastic 26-stall UP roundhouse that would require little more than minor repairs to the roof, doors and windows, some minor electrical upgrades and sweeping the floor to create a UP motive power museum, plans instead to spend millions converting it into city offices. Probably half of the 50+ extant UP steam locomotives once sat inside that roundhouse at one time or another, yet the only persons I know of to submit alternate ideas to the city's plan were Hume Kading and myself. Thus I ask again, are we really interested in saving history or just playing train?


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 Post subject: Re: Historic site
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 1:00 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5683
Bob:

I agree. I know Craig Pressler (he has provided assistance to our museum) and I can understand his wanting to see the Frankfort turntable preserved. I can also understand that it could be used to turn the 587 at the end of its run from Noblesville. But IF the Frankfort roundhouse was saved as a museum, then the table should stay in place. There are other turntables that could be used instead for Indianapolis. The key here is to get some action on the roundhouse. I think if some concrete action by the City of Frankfort, or some bonifide group, actually got the structure donated by NS, then Craig would probably be willing to sell the turntable to them for the amount he spent to purchase it. I am not sure that Craig reads RyPN, nor am I even sure that ANYONE from Indiana Transportation Museum does. But perhaps he could comment. If he is unwilling to consider such a move, then the preservation of the Frankfort roundhouse (and nearby coal tower) is in great doubt. The ball right now, is apparently in Craig's court.

BTW, the Monon Railroad line to Indianapolis crossed the NKP close to the Frankfort roundhouse. A museum within the roundhouse could also logically include Monon artifacts.

Les Beckman (Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum/North Judson, Indiana)


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort turntable
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 4:56 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:18 pm
Posts: 160
Location: Anderson, Indiana
As of a few weeks ago, the table remains in place in Frankfort and the buildings are still standing. Here is what I can add. Craig is a member of ITM, but ITM did not officially buy the table. Craig bought it from a contractor apparently hired by NS to tear down some of these buildings. I believe he simply wanted the table to be saved, but has no immediate plans for it.

Keep in mind that the Frankfort roundhouse is part of a larger backshop complex, in fact many outbuildings are also still in place at this facility. The roof on the roundhouse has deteriorated substantially during the past 5 years and the roof on the backshop sections isn't much better. The buildings are empty shells at this point.

I worked with a graduate student in Ball State's historic preservation program last year who was working on several proposals. There are a number of issues related to the site not the least of which is that NS still operates the yard next to the facility. Neighboring (former) industries also have some very serious environmental issues that have caused concerns related to the site. She was from Frankfort and I think she had some impact on getting discussions started again. I personally don't see ITM moving to the roundhouse if for no other reason than the huge cost of such a move and the lack of income generation potential in Frankfort as compared to running on the Port Authority track to the fairgrounds. This is only my opinion as a outsider obviously. Perhaps there would be a way to run on the former PRR line that crosses the NS (NKP) just to the east of the roundhouse.

ITM has a wye near Noblesville on the line owned by the Port Authority and I think Craig had wanted his B&O table to go in at the State Fairgrounds on 38th St in Indianapolis. The north end of the line that they use (Tipton), no longer has a connection to the NS main to Frankfort. When they run the state fair train it is usually push-pull given the very tight schedule, so I would doubt they'd be able to turn an engine for this trip even with a table in place. Cost of reinstallation is probably the biggest issue with the fair grounds. I think ITM is trying to work out the INDOT TE funding issues for 587's FRA work right now, so I suspect this is the first priority for them. As for the table going in at Union Station downtown, this is not at all likely for several reasons. The first is that the former NKP (Port Authority) line ends before 10th Street in Indianapolis where a bridge once took it to the elevated tracks used by Conrail (now CSX). This bridge would have to go back in and quite a bit of line laid to get into the Union Station. There isn't much going on at Union Station right now for it to be a destination. The track between 10th Street and say 30th Street needs substantial work to be used by excursion trains.

David Farlow
Whitewater Valley Railroad


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort turntable
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 5:15 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
Posts: 5683
David:

Thanks for the update. A little better news than that reported earlier in the thread that the turntable was slated for installation in Indianapolis. So if the Ball State graduate student managed to get discussions started again, do we know where they stand today?

BTW, Bob Yarger's report that the ex-NKP Ten-Wheeler at Steamtown would not fit into the Frankfort roundhouse era is true as far as it goes. But that engine (NKP # 44) had sisters that remained on the Nickel Plate roster into that era.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort roundhouse/and locomotive ?
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 1:52 pm
Posts: 76
Les Beckman writes,
I suggest as a possibility Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 # 624, currently on display in Hammond, Indiana. Although there have been instances in the past where cosmetic updates of her were undertaken, on the whole she has slowly been sliding downhill. Within the last two years or so, she was actually traded to a private individual although that deal never went through for some reason. So she still sits there

Les, I had not heard that NKP #624 in Hammond had been sold, but the latest issue of Calumet Heritage newsletter states that it must be moved in order to build a new high school on Sohl Avenue. The article states that there has been an ongoing effort by the city to save the “Erie Railroad Switching Tower currently owned by the Indiana Harbor Belt.” The author suggests that locomotive and tower be combined with the preservation of IHB Swing Bridge #316 over the Grand Calumet River. At one time the city seems to have conciderred such a plan. The article states that this center swing span bridge is the last of its type, which seems untrue unless there is something unique about the type of through-truss used. It also states that it was the last center swing span constructed in the U.S. (1896), which I somewhat doubt. Nevertheless, only about one-half mile separate these artifacts and there is a public park at one end of the abandoned bridge. To date the controversy seems to center on opposition to the proposed demolition of the old high school, clearly a sentimental favorite. Also a change in city administration seems to have stalled or terminated the project.

My half-joking comment is that many museum operations are looking for long turntables. Why not preserve a historic center-pivot swing bridge and turn your engines on the bridge. As a through truss, it would require a very shallow pit. I’m not sure of the length or if it’s pin-connected construction (and thus easy to transport), so don’t take my daydream seriously.


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 Post subject: Re: Frankfort turntable
PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 8:51 pm 

Joined: Wed Oct 26, 2005 11:18 pm
Posts: 160
Location: Anderson, Indiana
Les,

I suspect the project is stalled for the standard issue of funding. I do not know if Frankfort has submitted for any TE funds this year, certainly these would apply. They would still need a 20% match for the funding and it is often hard to get more than $500K per application, though not impossible. Historic Landmarks Foundation might be in a position to loan money to them for roof stabilization, which would have to happen soon to save the structure. They would only do this if a plan is formulated and more importantly supported by the community. I don't think it has progressed that far. I would say the situation is still bleak, but perhaps still a situation. It is very late in the game as it usually is to save the building. The best hope was when it was offered by NS right after they moved out the car shop people, but those days were some time ago.

I am almost certain that whatever plan is being proposed has substantial elements of adaptive reuse for the backshop buildings. The only way I think the city would be talked into saving it would be if it can offer some beneficial usage directly to the community.

I think nearly all (if not all) of the tracks serving the shops and the turntable have been removed. Those from the table into the stalls still remain however.

Bob mentioned 587 being worked on in the roundhouse and I presume he meant when it was still owned by the NKP. The restoration of it took place in the Amtrak (Big 4) Beech Grove shops.

David Farlow
Whitewater Valley Railroad


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