Bye Bye Berk!

The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania recently bid a fond farewell to our historic Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 757, the Berkshire.  The enormous 75-year-old engine is now under the ownership of the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum in Bellevue, Ohio.

No. 757 was one of 30 “Super Power” Berkshire steam locomotives built in 1944 by the Lima Locomotive Works of Lima, Ohio for fast freight service between Buffalo, New York and Chicago, Illinois by the New York, Chicago & St. Louis Railroad, better known as the Nickel Plate Road.  No. 757 continued operating until the railroad replaced the class with diesel-electric locomotives in 1958.

The city of Bellevue, Ohio, a strategically important railroad center and hub, was offered No. 757 by the railroad in the mid 1960s, but did not have a museum at the time to preserve it.  So, No. 757 became the first locomotive to be donated to the future Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, arguably saving it from an uncertain fate.  However, more than 50 years later, No. 757 is finally at home in the Buckeye State.

The decision to part with No. 757 was made largely to save it.  Museum officials maintain that the best way to preserve No. 757 was to donate it to another institution with the means and the plan to undertake its immediate restoration.

“Responsible stewardship of historic artifacts often requires making difficult choices about what you keep, what you acquire and how you invest your limited resources,” says Museum director Patrick C. Morrison.  “While saying goodbye to the Berkshire is sad for us, the Mad River & NKP Railroad Museum has demonstrated their willingness to immediately restore No. 757, and we are very excited to see what they have in store for this important modern steam treasure.”

So long, Berk, it’s been good to know you!