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admin 08.12.2014

The National New York Central Museum is located at 721 South Main Street, across the tracks from the Elkhart, Indiana Depot in what was once a New York Central freight house. NYC Bay window caboose #21084 is a typical example of the cabesse in use during the later decade or so of the NYC's lifetime. While the interior of the NYC caboose was a mess, the conductor's seats, at least the frames, were in tact.
The inside spaces of the National NYC Museum are divided into commercial, catering and exhibits. One of the first exhibits inside the museum proper is a replica of a typical Station Office from the steam era or early transition period.
The next large exhibit was this one of railroad related signs, large track tools, lanterns and jacks.
The National New York Central Museum is located across the tracks from the old Elkhart, Indiana Depot.
This year we decided to visit The French Lick Scenic Railway in French Lick, Indiana and the National New York Central Museum in Elkhart, Indiana.
There are also a few small railroad related structures on the grounds that serve as workshops and storage sheds. The locomotive is berthed next to the loading platform of the old freight house with ramps ans stairs which provide access to the cab and to the engine compartment.
You can see portions of the 'hood', NYC #3001 and PC #4882 together with some of the museum's rolling stock on storage tracks.
No access to the inside of the locomotive was provides so visitors are limited to walk around this behemoth. As can be seen in the photo, access to the inside of the car was provided by semi-permanent stairs.


This is the view a conductor would have had looking forward through the right hand (engineer's side) bay window.
This display of tools from the Elkhart shops gives the visitor some idea of the complexity and size of the equipment routinely services by railroad personnel. They appear to be of relatively modern design and purportedly were taken out of service in the mid-1940s. Unfortunately there were no labels or tags explaining what many of the larger tools were used for.
Here the depot is in the background as a Canadian National train accelerates after a crew change. They have a quite extensive collection of locomotives and rolling stock which includes NYC Mohawk #3001. No wonder you nearly always see the engineer leaning out of the side cab side window in images from the steam era.
Portions of the locomotive's shell, engines, generators and control cabinets are 'cut-away' so that museum visitors can see some of the interals of the major components.
It is sad to see such a magnificent example of 20th Century engineering wasting away in the Northern Indiana weather conditions. The building seems to be well kept and is used by the museum to store maintenace equipment. The three photos here show two sides of a large peninsula layout and the back shop or control area for the layout. We enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the engineer's and fireman's seats and get a feel for what they might have seen and felt when the engines were active.
A real plus is that visitors can climb up into the cab, twist valves and pull levers, look into the firebox and climb around on the tender.


This is probably why many conductors are shown leaning out of the side windows of their cabeese in the many videos we have of NYC trains. The Museum Store has a good selection of NYC related photos and prints, some NYC related memorabilia and numerous trikets for young and old. According to the docent present while we were in the museum each train runs on its own loop of track. I particularly enjoyed sitting on the conductor's bench in the NYC bay window caboose and look forward past a short string of cars for what must have been a quite authentic view. If the exterior is any indication of the condition of her innards, she is in dire straits indeed.
In addition, Elkhart is a major interchange center for Chicago traffic so almost any line can be seen passing by the museum's grounds. The museum has begun a campaign to restore #3001, one of only two such locomotives to escape the scrapper. While the museum hopes to restore the loco I fear they have a monumental task ahead of them. Several main components of the running gear, the whole firebox grate system and muriad small components of the locomotive are missing. I have no doubt that the locomotive could be restored, but it will be a long and costly undertaking.



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