Track Inspection: Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum

Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum

Hidden Gem in Ohio’s “North Coast Rail Belt”; 41 years as shrine to history and railroading

By Giles Kennedy

Chief Editor and Founder The Ohio Railroader Website

Founder and Chief Admin Ohio Valley Rails Facebook Page


To even start to write about this hidden gem in Bellevue; it is a daunting task.

But it was and is a pleasure to have finally visit here; that is a true understatement.


Mad River and NKP (reporting marks for NS predecessor Nickel Plate Road) Railroad Museum started as a bicentennial project for local residents and the Ohio National Guard in 1976.


What it has grown into is a well visited and maintained facility; the Northwest Central Ohio town has a great asset. The Mad River and NKP Museum is indeed a great place for railroad fans, history geeks and anyone with a family.

Kemper Rail Park; off the immediate property, is the newest addition.

A shelter house and concrete platform has a great area to view trains. You can visit here before entering the museum property or stop by afterwards to see all the trains. This great viewpoint rests west of Norfolk Southern’s Moorman Yard; former heart of the Nickel Plate Road aka the New York, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad.

Once the museum opens, start in the former home of the Bellevue Monument Company. Monument Station features the gift shop, a gallery of Nickel Plate Road memorabilia, The Lincoln Funeral Train Engine Bell, and a replica of the first steam locomotive to run in Ohio.

It also houses two cabooses and several restored passenger cars. Visitors can actually walk aboard these cars and explore the artifacts.

Once done exploring there, the static displays across from Monument Station is your next suggested path.

The main museum grounds features nearly three dozen restored pieces of equipment.

You enter through the Visitors Center entrance. Coming into the property; a Porter Steam Locomotive and a Plymouth Switcher greet you to enter the main grounds. Every open boxcar or former passenger car feature a theme of railroads that have been or nearby Bellevue.

Restored Railway Post Office cars, box cars, cabooses, and a troop carrier is housing artifacts donated by Mad River/NKP members.

Every railroad that has ran through and currently running in Ohio is represented.

After exploring the main museum grounds, visit the coach yard. It features former N&W, NKP, NYC, PRR and B&O equipment. This area is adjacent to the North Coast Inland Trail; a bike/hike trail that rolls through the region.

As mentioned on the initial sign; these are the hours and admission for the museum

Museum Hours

12:00 to 4:00 pm


Open Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend Daily

Saturdays and Sundays in May (prior to Memorial Day),September and October

$10 for adults, $9 for seniors, (Military Active Duty and Veteran Discounts Available), $5 Children ages 5-12, Kids 5 and Under Free


Group Tours and Packages are available. Please contact the Museum for details. 1-419-483-2222.

Or e-mail them at  

Or visit their Facebook page;

I had a excellent time visiting. Special thanks to George, a long time member and volunteer. He and I conversed about each other’s HO layouts and had a wonderful interaction.

He and many other volunteers make this a hands on experience. From the first family with a child ringing the Porter engine’s bell, to questions answered about the exhibits …they indeed were excellent hosts and curators to this great museum.

Please visit Bellevue and the Mad River and NKP Railroad Museum as often as you can.



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