Author Topic: Story about NKP Express - move to Atlanta, Ind.  (Read 944 times)


  • Brakeman
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Story about NKP Express - move to Atlanta, Ind.
« on: November 05, 2018, 10:42:06 AM »
Here's a story that ran in the Hamilton County Reporter about the Nickel Plate Express move of the F9 engine, the cars and the switcher to their operations in Atlanta, Indiana. Click the link to check out the photos as well.

Nickel Plate Express began running themed excursions from Atlanta on Sept. 15. They now run through Arcadia and across Morse Lake to Cicero. Nickel Plate Express has quickly become a popular attraction in northern Hamilton County, often selling out every available seat.

Somewhat surprisingly, the train did not reach Hamilton County entirely by rail. Schumann Transportation Service, LLC (STS) and Paddack’s Heavy Transport & Paddack’s Towing moved the cars, the engine and the 50-ton switcher by both rail and road. Representatives from both companies were kind enough to speak to The Reporter about their part in helping bring this project together.

Tom Schumann of Schumann Transportation Service, LLC told The Reporter, “The Nickel Plate Express was actually referred to us by a satisfied customer. Tom Hoback then reached out to STS to see if we could help assist in their moves.”

Paddack’s Heavy Transport & Paddack’s Towing Owner Jeff Ripley had worked with Schumann and his crew on other projects and was brought in for their particular expertise.

“When NKP Express hired Schumann’s team for the job, it seemed like we were a natural partner,” Ripley said. “We were local, had the necessary equipment for the job and had worked successfully with Tom before. Before moving the Santa Fe Cars, we moved Nickel Plate Express’ smaller engine (the 50 tonner) from Lapel to Arcadia. They were satisfied with that experience and our team worked well with Operations Manager Bret Davis.”

The cars had to be disassembled, moved to Atlanta, then reassembled by these two companies.

“The cars were brought into Anderson by the CSX,” Schumann said. “They were delivered to Central Indiana & Western, who then forwarded the cars to Lapel. STS then forwarded the cars to Atlanta Pacific Rail, LLC via rubber tires to Arcadia where they were then reunited with their steel wheels.”

According to Nickle Plate Express Communications Coordinator Dagny Zupin, Schumann’s team had to remove the trucks from each Santa Fe car before they were moved.

The “trucks” are the steel wheels which sit directly on the rails and are massive in their own right, which means they had to have their own dollies. Dollies, in this context, are trailers that sit low to the ground for transportation.

According to Zupin, for the last leg of the trip Ripley and the Paddack team first loaded the train components onto Schumann Transportation Service’s trucks, then later unloaded them in Atlanta to get the train on local rails.

“Tom’s team removed the trucks and delivered them to Arcadia,” Zupin said. “Then, Paddack’s team used the rotators to pick the cars up five to six feet before sliding a dolly underneath. Tom Schumann personally drove each car to Arcadia, where Paddack’s team was waiting. The trucks were unloaded, and Paddack’s team used their rotators to lift the Santa Fe’s and set them back down on the tracks.”

There are four Santa Fe cars, meaning that process had to be completed four separate times.

“Originally the job seemed like it was going to be an incredibly difficult one,” Ripley said. “But after we dug into the project and assessed it like any other job, we figured out a solution. We took into account the weight of the cars to decide what equipment we would need to use. We put our heads together with Tom Schumann’s team to come up with a plan. We have special ‘rotator cranes,’ which Schumann’s team strongly preferred to regular cranes. Rotators can move in, set up, load and unload quickly. A typical crane takes two to three trailers worth of counterweights and rigging and would typically take two-thirds of a day to set up. There were six pieces of rail equipment to move and each piece of equipment would have taken two cranes. Looking at the time it takes to set up the cranes and the amount of equipment there was to move, using traditional cranes just wasn’t an option and would have caused the Nickel Plate Express team to be delayed in there start.”

The rotator crane Ripley mentions is a recovery mobile crane with a boom that can slide 360 degrees. The boom is the actual arm of the crane, the rotator is the name of the whole truck, with the crane attached.

“Transporting rail bound equipment is actually STS’s specialty,” Schumann said. “Most of our trailers are railbound trailers, and our drivers have all had specialized training on how to safely and successfully load and unload railbound equipment.”

Schumann has been doing this kind of work for more than two decades.

“We got into hauling over dimensional loads in 1995,” Schumann said. “Each load came with its own set of challenges, but in the end that’s what made us thrive as a company and that was definitely rewarding.”

For Ripley’s company, however, this was not just another day at the office.

“This was a little out of the box for us!” Ripley told The Reporter. “We move a complete variety of heavy objects – we will haul a heavy bucket for a machine separate and then haul the machine itself. We transport and pick up machines that weigh up to 145,000 pounds through multiple states. Moving the train cars primarily involved the wrecker service side of the business and the rotator. Paddack’s used their cranes to lift the Santa Fe Cars five to six feet in the air so a trailer could be slid underneath the Santa Fe Cars.”

According to Schumann, the Nickel Plate Express team was easy to work with, helpful and accommodating.

“It’s always nice to work with passionate people preserving railway history,” Schumann said. “We couldn’t have done it without the help of Tom and Sue Hoback, and the Nickel Plate staff, Brett Davis, Wiley and Mark Brown and Paddack’s Towing and Recovery Service. This list gets pretty long, so if we forgot anyone, we do apologize. So to anyone and everyone that helped out, we appreciate it!”

Ripley agreed that everyone involved in this project pulled together to help create success.

“The team at Nickel Plate Express has been extremely professional and very easy to work with,” Ripley said. “Tom Schumann and his crew were great to work with. I don’t think we could have pulled this move off if our two teams hadn’t been in sync every step of the way. Doing work like this takes time and it takes patience, so working with professionals who understand that helps a lot.”


  • Brakeman
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Re: Story about NKP Express - move to Atlanta, Ind.
« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2018, 11:21:18 PM »
Check out this video made during an excursion of the new Nickel Plate Express operating in Hamilton County out of Atlanta, Ind. - lots of happy families and smiling kiddos having a wonderful time.