Nickel Plate Road Class H-6d Mikado type (2-8-2) locomotive #624 is parked in a large open space opposite the Hammond, IN, Civic Center near the intersection of Sohl Ave and Eaton St. The land was donated by the Erie Lackawanna Railroad in 1955, when #624 was donated to the city of Hammond by the NKP (the old Erie Lackawanna line was taken up in the late 1970s, and the nearby roadbed is now part of the Erie Lackawanna Trail).
#624 was given to the city of Hammond after the local newspaper, the Hammond Times, published an open letter to the President of the Nickel Plate on 4th January 1955 asking the railroad to donate a steam locomotive. The NKP obliged and, once recently retired #624 had been moved into place, a dedication ceremony was held on 13th September 1955. The President of the NKP was on hand, there were fireworks and eight shares of Nickel Plate stock were given to Hammond school children grades 4 through 8.
Although when we visited, we could only view #624 from the perimeter fence, the locomotive appears to be in a rather crapulous condition.
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The locomotive was built by Lima in 1922. Except for a brief spell on the Peoria Division, it spent the next thirty-three years hauling freight between Buffalo, NY, and Chicago, IL, until retired in August 1955 having covered 1,698,000 miles.
#624 has 63" drivers and 26" x 30" cylinders. With a 66.7 sq ft grate, 280 sq ft firebox and total heating surface of 4,626 sq ft, including 882 sq ft superheating, it operated at 200 psi delivering 54,700 lbs tractive effort. The engine weighs 318,300 lbs and the tender 185,700 lbs light, with a 10,000 gallon water and 16 ton coal capacity.
There has been talk for some time of restoring #624.
It is owned by the the Northwest Indiana Railroad Preservation Society, which has been searching for some time to find a location where the work can be carried out under cover.
The locomotive is on display with an ex-Milwaukee Road refrigerated reefer car. The caboose is steel bodied, bay window Chicago, South Shore & South Bend Railroad #1062.
Both items were donated to the city and moved to the site in 1976.
Like #624, the refrigerator car and caboose were in pretty rough condition when we visited.
Right, there is also a watchman's crossing tower parked in the lot, which was once located at Willow Court and Hohman Ave in Hammond.