Nessa was a Nickle Plate 2-8-4 Berkshire Number 767, She Worked on the NKP moving fast freight and passenger trains
between Chicago, Fort Wayne and Buffalo, New York. On July 15th, 1951 fate would intervene on Nessa's behalf for the first of three times. That evening, She was pulling the Nickel Plate Train no. 51. a freight train nicknamed the Flying Saucer due to its timetable speed – and She was headed westbound into Fort Wayne. At the railroad’s new terminal in New Haven, the Nickel Plate crossed the Wabash Railroad’s competing line to St. Louis. At 10:22pm, Wabash passenger train no. 13 entered the crossing at a crawl, having mistaken the Nickel Plate’s green signal for their own.
As Nessa’s headlight revealed the passenger train ahead, Her engineer put the 60MPH train into emergency, immediately setting the brakes. Within seconds, Nessa tore into the passenger train, shredding the Wabash buffet car in half and derailing both trains.
Unfortunately, four passengers aboard the passenger train were killed and thirteen others were hurt. Nessa's front-end and left side where it came to rest were demolished. Nessa was required extensive repair. and her crew managed to escape, though not without serious injuries.
Nessa was returned to service after rebuilding and in 1955, found herself in the newspapers once again. On October 4th of that year, She was used in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of a decades long effort to elevate the Nickel Plate Road through downtown Fort Wayne. The project, which removed a dozen grade crossings and unsnarled street traffic, lead to an explosion of development north of the St. Marys River. Despite Nessa's historic presence at the celebration, it was rumored to have developed an unusual “gait” after the 1951 wreck.
In July, 1958, Nessa and the railroad’s Steam Locomotives were stored serviceable, waiting for another call to service that would never come. As the City of Fort Wayne continued to expand, fate and Nessa would intertwine a final time.
Recognizing the impact that the elevation project had, the City requested that the Nickel Plate donate the engine used in the opening ceremony for display. As railroads across the country retired their steam locomotives, it became somewhat of a ritual to place retired engines in city parks or museums.
The Nickel Plate, however, had a problem: Nessa had been stored outside, vandalized and was generally not in good condition. The employees formulated a plan.
Only one steam locomotive in Fort Wayne had managed to elude outdoor storage for most of its retirement: Nick.(NKP 765) An engine favored by crews between Fort Wayne and Chicago, it had been kept in good condition and was mechanically complete. The order came to discretely renumber Nick As Her Sister, Nessa to 767. The effort was meticulous enough that the real 767 was also renumbered in order complete the swap. As far as the Nickel Plate was concerned, they were giving the city their 767. As Nick was installed in Lawton Park on May 4th, 1963 and Nessa, The original 767, was hauled to Chicago for scrapping, meeting her end sometime in 1964.