Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum adds small piece of history to its collection

Photo courtesy: Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum Current museum president Todd Flanigan (left) and former president John LaOrange (right) hold the builder’s plate of steam locomotive no. 2789. LaOrange was instrumental in bringing the locomotive to North Judson in 1988 and forming the organization. Photo courtesy: Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum
NORTH JUDSON, Ind. – The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has obtained a part of history and reunited two old friends with its newest collection piece.

The Museum now owns the original builder’s plate for Chesapeake & Ohio steam engine no. 2789, the museum’s crown jewel locomotive.

The cast iron plate displays the locomotive’s serial number and build date, similar to a VIN plate on today’s cars.

These plates are extremely sought-after by collectors and the Museum believes it was probably removed from the locomotive by the railroad in the late 1950s.

The locomotive was built by the American Locomotive Company in Schenectady, New York, in June 1947.

“Once these kinds of things are gone from a locomotive they are usually gone forever. To have an opportunity like this we simply could not let it slip away,” Kyle Flanigan, the museum’s secretary, said. “We are extremely grateful to be able to reunite the plate with the 2789.”

Both the locomotive and its plate are unique pieces of railroad history. The American Locomotive Company built more than 75,000 locomotives during its time in existence but only 56 domestic locomotives carried the same time of plate, which features the “Flying Alco” design. This design signified the transition from steam to diesel power.

The Museum is also trying to get steam locomotive no. 2789 on the National Register of Historic Places. This locomotive was the last in a series of 90 Kanawha-type steam engines built for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway.

To learn how you can see the locomotive and its reunited plate for yourself, visit the Museum’s website by clicking here or check them out on Facebook.

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