Ex-Boyne City RR "Ladybug" caught in Indiana Museum Dispute

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Ex-Boyne City RR "Ladybug" caught in Indiana Museum Dispute

Unread postby fmilhaupt » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:47 am

Former Boyne City/Boyne Valley RR GE 44-ton switcher #70, nicknamed "Ladybug" is one of the pieces of the Indiana Transportation Museum (ITM) collection that is at risk, now that the ITM has been ordered to clear out of its home in Noblesville, Indiana by July 12.

First, a short and simplified synopsis of the situation to date. ITM has been at odds with the City of Noblesville and its parks and Recreation Department for a number of years over continuing its lease at Forest Park, where the Museum has resided since 1973. Over the years, ITM has accumulated a collection of railroad equipment on the site, including various interurban and mass transit cars, a number of diesels, and a number of passenger cars and freight cars. The most highly visible piece in its collection is NKP 2-8-2 #587, which was restored to service a few decades ago, and has been down for repair for over fifteen years. ITM has, in previous years, run diesel-powered excursions on a former NKP line running both directions from Noblesville.

For several years, among other complaints, the City has been unhappy with the condition of much of the equipment at the park, and ITM's maintenance of the site, in general.

Other interests have been pressuring local governments to remove the trackage that ITM used to run trains from the park down to the Indiana State Fairgrounds on the north side of Indianapolis. Those tracks have no freight customers, and have been disconnected from the national rail system at both the north and the south ends for a number of years. Further, another party has expressed interest in running dinner trains on the line to the north.

The latest round in the ongoing legal saga in this case is a June 29 order by the Hamilton County Circuit Court (see http://www.rypn.org/forums/download/file.php?id=14650), which gives ITM until July 12 to remove all of its equipment from the premises. While ITM has already begun trying to re-establish itself in Logansport, it has not moved any of its own equipment there, to date, and has already scrapped some of the equipment in Noblesville.

Should the equipment not be moved by July 12, its fate is in question, as nobody knows what the city is likely to do with it. Sale and/or scrapping is among the likely options.

The whole saga is a bit more complicated than I've laid out here, and my assessment is that ITM bears a good deal of responsibility for its predicament. The Railway Preservation News "Interchange" forum (http://www.rypn.org/forums/viewforum.php?f=1) has a more complete rundown of the situation over the years in several threads.

The Boyne City locomotive has been part of the ITM collection for a number for years, painted to resemble the Nickel Plate's sole 44-ton switcher, #90, but numbered as #91. The "Ladybug" as it was known during its time in Northern Lower Michigan, was built in 1950 to dieselize the Boyne City Railroad, and ran on it until the first iteration of successor Boyne Valley Railroad folded in the mid-1970s. From there it was sold or leased to a switching concern in Chicago, after which it ended up at ITM. It is currently not in use.
-Fritz Milhaupt
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Re: Ex-Boyne City RR "Ladybug" caught in Indiana Museum Disp

Unread postby DaveO » Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:03 am

Reading the court order gives me at least some optimism about their collection. The court order states that as of July 12th, any remaining property on-site is considered abandoned. The city will have legal right to the items abandoned. Undoubtedly most items will end up scrapped/trashed. But they do have items that others were interested in acquiring. The ITM leaders seemed bent on the if we can't have it, no one else can have it argument. I think the city won't scrap the items until after giving others times to put a bid in for them. Much better from the PR standpoint and obtaining a few dollars here and there will help with what they have to end up scrapping/trashing.
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Re: Ex-Boyne City RR "Ladybug" caught in Indiana Museum Disp

Unread postby SD80MAC » Wed Jul 04, 2018 9:41 am

ITM has already started scrapping equipment. A Milwaukee Road SW1 was cut up yesterday. If it hasn’t been spoken for at this point, I fear the worst.
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Re: Ex-Boyne City RR "Ladybug" caught in Indiana Museum Disp

Unread postby fmilhaupt » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:30 am

It looks like there's still hope for #91/70- a list of ITM equipment that was linked over at RyPN shows it as having either been sold to the City of Kokomo or lined up to be moved to Kokomo under Museum ownership. The document was a bit vague. It is still on site at the park at Noblesville, however.
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