History of the Trail

Nickel Plate Road History

Nickel Plate Road is an interesting name for a railroad line. It earned the nickname because when it was being planned, there were four lines surveyed for the position. The competition was fierce for not only the line but also¬†the money that would be earned by having the railroad in the respective towns and cities. The editor of the Norwalk Ohio Chronicle referred to the New York, Chicago and St. Louis RR route as “Nickel Plated” due to the money that would be earned. The nickname stuck.

1846 Peru and Indianapolis chartered
1851 Peru and Indianapolis built, operated by Madison and Indianapolis RR until 1856
1853 First train to Peru
1864 P&I RR entered receivership
1864Line built from Peru to Michigan City. Became Indianapolis, Peru, and Chicago, a 159 mile line
1871CC&L sold to IP & CRR
1881 – 1886 – Line released to Wabash, St. Louis and Pacific
1887 – Line sold to Lake Erie and Western
1900 – 1922 – LE&W operated by Lake Shore & Michigan Southern RR
1920’s – Line came into New York, Chicago and St. Louis (NYC & StL) RR with nickname of Nickel Plate (NKP) RR
1933 – 1942 – NKP operated by Chesapeake and Ohio RR
1964 – NKP sold to Norfolk & Western RR
1990 – N&W merged with Southern to become Norfolk Southern RR
March 1999 – Segment from Cassville to Peru to Rochester was railbanked and bought by Indiana Trails Fund