Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum

Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum News


Bring Back 757

Silver Dome Seat Cushions Arrive (11-11)

Today was a special day here at the museum. All the newly upholstered seat cushions and backs came in for the Silver Dome restoration. This was made possible by a grant from Tom E. Dailey Foundation Inc.. The interior of the Silver Dome is going through renovations now. We placed the cushions in the Seaboard Diner temporarily and will start installing seats when possible.

The Silver Dome was the very first dome car built in the United States.

Seats Seats

Bring Back 757 Progress (10/11)


Today we were honored to attended a monthly luncheon for Unit #147 of the National Association of Retired & Veteran Railway Employees (NARVRE). During the meeting, Kenn Rospert and Steve Wasserman of the Firelands Federal Credit Union presented us with a $5,000 contribution for the BRING BACK 757 Campaign in honor of NARVRE.

Thank you FFCU and NARVRE!

To date, we have raised $62,620 towards the bringing home of 757. That's fantastic but a long road still lies ahead. Please consider a financial contribution towards our effort here: Big or small, every donation counts.



Today the 757 was moved to the restoration yard at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. This will make future work sessions much easier. Thanks to the Strasburg Rail Road for helping with the move! We're still raising funds to help relocate and cosmetically restore the 767 here: Every dollar counts!

Watch the video here.


On October 6 and 7, a team of 5 volunteers and 2 contractors with the BRING BACK 757 campaign held a work session on the 757 at the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Several tasks were performed including:

    1. Verifying measurements and clearance information
    2. Cleaning and securing cab for supply storage
    3. Inspection, cleaning, and repacking of the trailing truck journals
    4. Inspection of the leading truck journals
    5. Tie up main rod on Fireman's side to allow movement on museum site
    6. Preliminary inspection and testing of individual brake components
    7. Lubricate running gear components in preparation for move within museum site

Visit the Museum's Facebook page here to see photos of the work session.

This work performed would not be possible if it wasn't for the generosity of our donors. Every donation supports our efforts in covering expenses, labor, and supplies to make these preparations. To learn more or to donate visit


Trains Bestows Museum with 2017 Preservation Award (10/8)

Trains magazine has awarded its $10,000 2017 Preservation Award to the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio, for the restoration of the dome on America's first dome car, Chicago, Burlington & Quincy's Silver Dome.

The award was announced at the Heritage Rail Alliance's annual meeting in Minneapolis on Oct. 7.

The grant will sponsor restoration of the dome, specifically focusing on replacement of trim and plexiglass which have discolored with time. Work on the dome coincides with the museum's effort to restore the entire car, including reupholstery, carpeting, and window sill work.

The award was made from nearly 40 applicants in this, the 18th year, for Trains' $10,000 grant.

"Museums and tourist groups submitted a variety of strong proposals from across the country; locomotives, passenger cars, freight cars, archives - we saw it all," says Trains Associate Editor Steve Sweeney. "We chose to support Mad River this year to encourage their efforts to stabilize, then restore the world's first dome car for future generations. That it exists at all is a tribute to early Mad River members who rescued Silver Dome from an uncertain fate in the 1970s."

"The Silver Dome is, without a doubt, the most historically significant piece of equipment in our collection and the restoration is sorely needed," says Chris Beamer, Mad River president. "Trains' preservation award has given us a virtual shot-in-the-arm and will take us a long way toward the end goal."

Cyrus Osborn, a General Motors vice president, first thought of the concept of a dome car while riding the cab of an F unit on the Rio Grande through Colorado in 1944. His dome idea was incorporated into the four-car GM Train of Tomorrow, completed in 1947. Meanwhile, the Burlington modified 1940 stainless steel coach Silver Alchemy at its Aurora, Ill., shops. When the car, renamed Silver Dome, re-entered service in 1945 on Burlington's Chicago to Minneapolis Twin Cities Zephyr, passengers loved the experience and encouraged the Burlington and about a dozen other railroads to place orders for their own dome cars. And those orders gave birth to an all-new train travel experience that we still cherish today.

Silver Dome passed into Amtrak hands in 1971, but it soon was sidelined as surplus equipment. Mad River bought the car at auction in 1978 and has since placed it under a shed to keep it from further damage.

Mad River officials and Trains will provide updates on dome work on the car throughout 2018.


Spending the Weekend in Strasburg (10/8)

A group from the museum have been spending the weekend in Strasburg preparing the 757 for movement. This is the first of many trips that will have to be made. - at Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania.

Madriver in Strasburg


757 Inspection Trip Video (9-17)

Here's a video of our inspection trip of the 757 earlier this year. A group of us will be going back in October to start movement preparations on the locomotive. This wouldn't be possible without the great donors who have supported us so far. If you'd like to see Nickel Plate 757 brought back home to Bellevue and become our next exhibit, please consider a donation.


Bring Back 757


The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum (MR&NKP) is pleased to announce the creation of an agreement with the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania (RRMPA) that would allow Nickel Plate Road Steam Locomotive #757 to return to Bellevue, Ohio. Plans are now underway to relocate the locomotive from Strasburg, PA, to the museum site in Bellevue for static display.

We are very excited to be able to bring the 757 back to Bellevue. The absence of a mainline steam locomotive in our collection has been something we have wanted to correct for a long time. To have the chance to return the 757 to Bellevue is an incredible victory for our organization," said museum President Chris Beamer.

The locomotive is a Berkshire type (2-8-4 wheel arrangement), the staple design that was made famous by the Nickel Plate Road (NKP). It was built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1944 and was last operated on June 15, 1958. As steam locomotives were retired on the Nickel Plate, several were saved by the railroad as monuments to the towns along the line and donated accordingly. 757 was saved for Bellevue, Ohio, Nickel Plate's largest classification terminal. Unfortunately, at that time, Bellevue did not have a railroad museum and the city was unable to provide and fund a display site. After being stored at Bellevue for several years, the railroad donated the locomotive to the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania in 1966.


Ten years after Bellevue lost its steam locomotive, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum was founded. Since then, the MR&NKP has grown to encompass 50 pieces of equipment, 10 acres of property, five buildings, countless artifacts, and a rail viewing platform. The MR&NKP is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is operated and maintained by volunteers with no government assistance. Admission to the museum, fund raising events, and donations are the museum's primary sources of income. The MR&NKP has the most extensive collection of NKP equipment and artifacts of any museum, however owning an actual NKP steam locomotive has eluded the museum since its inception.

In early 2017, the MR&NKP and the RRMPA entered into negotiations to bring 757 back home. Within the past few months, the RRMPA and the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission has agreed that 757 does not have as strong a connection to Pennsylvania's railroading history as some of their other locomotives and railroad cars, which also require considerable attention. They have made the difficult decision to deaccession 757 from their collection, with the intention of transferring the locomotive to an organization that has a better connection to the locomotive's history and is willing and able to immediately restore it.


The MR&NKP will begin movement preparations as funds permit and will be granted ownership of the locomotive after its removal from the RRMPA site. "The people of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania have been great to work with on this project and toward the common goal of preserving our country's railroad heritage," Beamer added.

This is a rare opportunity and may not be available again. The MR&NKP estimates the relocation, restoration, and preparation of a special exhibit site will cost $250,000. The Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum needs your help to bring this iconic locomotive back home to Bellevue. Please visit for more information and/or to donate.

For email updates on the project, sign up at

Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum
233 York St.
Bellevue, OH 44811
Media Contact: VP Dwayne Fuehring
(419) 483-2222



Bring Back 757 Podcast

Want to learn more about the BRING BACK 757 campaign?

Vice President Dwayne Fuehring was a guest on The Roundhouse Podcast a couple weeks ago and discussed the effort with host Nick Ozorak. Listen to the podcast at


New Museum YouTube Channel!

We have started a YouTube channel for the museum videos. This is the only video uploaded at this point. It's just a brief slide show of the museum. More to come later. Thanks for watching!


FOR SALE: History of the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad

STRAP RAIL INTO THE WOODS. MAD RIVER AND LAKE ERIE RAILROAD, "OLD LINE," between Sandusky, Ohio and Tiffin, Ohio via Bellevue. 1825-1860. By C.W.Wise. Illustrated.

Available from Mad River and NKP RR Society. 233 York St. Bellevue, Ohio 44811 or call Ruth at 419-483-6235. Price. $20 plus $4 shipping and handling. Also available in the MR & NKP RR Bellevue Museum gift shop. Drop by and save the shipping cost while enjoying the museum.

Get Your Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum Anthology !


The Anthology is a book written about the railroad history of Bellevue and Northern Ohio. It documents the making of the Mad River and NKP Railroad Society Museum. It is a collection of stories about the hard work and dedication of the people, who made the museum one of the finest railroad museums in the United States. Click here for more information.

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