Indiana Transportation Museum
The Indiana Transportation Museum (initialized ITM, reporting mark ITMZ) is a railroad museum that was formerly located in the Forest Park neighborhood of Noblesville, Indiana. The museum has announced it is moving to Logansport, Indiana (home of the Iron Horse Festival) and is temporarily closed. Please check the museum website https://www.itm.org/ for updates.
The ITM owns a variety of preserved railroad equipment, some of which are still operable. It is an all-volunteer not-for-profit museum dedicated to preserving and showcasing railroads of Indiana, and sharing the equipment and information with the public, as well as operating trains to show how people traveled across the country in the past.
The Indiana Transportation Museum operated excursion trains on 38 miles (61 km) of a former Nickel Plate Road line, originally built for the Indianapolis and Peru Railroad and today owned by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which is made up of the cities of Indianapolis, Fishers, and Noblesville, Indiana. At this time (June 2017), excursion service on the line has been suspended due to a dispute with the HHPA. The museum has submitted a proposal to the Port Authority, requesting authorization to resume service.
The museum operated out of Forest Park in Noblesville and traveled to the northern terminus of the line in Tipton, Indiana or to the southern terminus at approximately 39th Street in Indianapolis. The rail line extends further south but has been abandoned.
The rail line originally connected to the Norfolk Southern railroad in Tipton, the CSX railroad in Indianapolis, and the Belt Railroad owned by Eli Lilly and Company. The railroad line had been operated as a freight railroad by the Indiana Rail Road, hauling coal to the Cicero power generating plant in Cicero, Indiana until the plant's conversion to natural gas in 2003.
The connection in Tipton was cut by Norfolk Southern in 1997 and the bridge connecting the line to CSX was removed by the Indiana Department of Transportation during the rebuilding of Interstate 70 in Indianapolis. In spring 2010 CSX railroad removed the diamonds connecting the southern portion of the Belt Railroad, thus isolating the line from the U.S. rail system.
The museum is home to many pieces of railroading history, with primary emphasis on locomotives and equipment relating to the Nickel Plate Railroad. Most passengers are carried in the museum's restored Budd cars that date back to 1937 and were originally in service on the Santa Fe Railroad and the New Jersey Transit Authority before being sold to the museum as scrap in the early 1980s. Several cars have been restored and others await funds for restoration.
The museum also has in its collection the 1898 private railcar of Henry Morrison Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad (FEC) No. 90.
At the beginning of 2003, the museum's operating steam locomotive, Nickel Plate 587, was taken out of service for a federally mandated boiler rebuild. Since then, work has been ongoing the past 8 years for the restoration of this locomotive. In 2008, ownership of the engine was permanently transferred from the Indianapolis Parks Department to the ITM.
The Indiana Transportation Museum operated many different excursions, ranging from holiday trains to shuttles in freight cabooses.
The Morse Lake Dinner Train is a dinner train that operated from Noblesville to a variety of restaurants in Cicero, IN near Morse Lake.
The Fair Train was the museum's biggest yearly event with ITM passenger trains transporting as many as 16,000 thousand people to the Indiana State Fair every day of the fair with 10 round trips each day of the fair during August. As of 2017, this excursion was put on hold indefinitely.
The Polar Bear Express wass held in the months of November and December. It included a train ride and a visit from Santa Claus.
The Harvest Train was held every weekend in October and was supported by the Hamilton Heights High School FFA, who grow and sell pumpkins alongside the rail line.
The Blue Arrow was run multiple Saturdays throughout the late spring, summer, and fall from Noblesville to Tipton. It is so named because the stop in Tipton is at the track end and adjacent to the Pizza Shack, where riders could dine. Riders also had the option of being shuttled to the nearby Pizza King or Jim Dandy Restaurant for their buffets, or on select dates, a meal at the Tipton Elks Club.
Special events included various festivals in Tipton, and the towns of Atlanta, and Arcadia, as well as private charters were also available.
The museum offered custom school tours, which may include a tour of the museum grounds and an excursion train ride.
The museum is a non-profit organization whose members donate volunteer time and money to the operation.
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 No. 587; built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in September 1918 as Lake Erie & Western 2-8-2 No. 5541; under restoration since 2007.
Nickel Plate Road GP7L No. 426; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in July 1953; operational since 2004.
Indiana Transportation Museum GP9 No. 200; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in April, 1954 as Union Pacific GP9 No. 200; operational since 2000.
Nickel Plate Road F7A No. 83A; built by Electro-Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road F7A No. 110C in December 1950; operational since 1985.
Monon SW-1 No. DS-50; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in February 1942; Operational.
Nickel Plate Road VO-1000 No. 99; built by Baldwin Locomotive Works as Crane Naval Depot VO-1000 No. 9 in April 1945; on static display.
Nickel Plate Road 44-Tonner No. 91; built by GE Transportation as Nickel Plate Road 44-Tonner No. 90 in September 1950; on static display.
Monon FP7 No. 96C; built by Electro Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road FP7 No. 96C in January 1951; in storage.
Milwaukee Road F7A No. 83C; built by Electro-Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road F7A No. 72C in July 1950; under restoration since 2007.
Milwaukee Road F7B No.68B; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in July 1950; in storage since 1983.
14 assorted Stainless-Steel Budd Coaches
Florida East Coast Private Car No. 90 "Henry Flagler"
Nickel Plate Road Business Car No. 1
Louisville & Nashville Diner No. 2728 (Under Restoration)
Monon Cupola Extended-vision Caboose No. 81528
Nickel Plate Road Cupola Caboose No. 770
Nickel Plate Road Bay window Caboose No. 405
Indiana Transportation Museum Overview
Reporting mark: ITMZ
Locale: Central Indiana
Dates of operation: 1960–Present
Track gauge: 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Length: 38 mi (61 km)
Former Headquarters: Noblesville, Indiana
Nickel Plate Road 2-8-2 Mikado steam locomotive No. 587 in the restoration shops at the Indiana Transportation Museum.
By Jeremy C. Schultz - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6350413
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Text: wikipedia.org. Images: Public Domain; http://www.commons.wikimedia.org (unless otherwise specified) and 17 U.S. Code § 107 fair use. References: Lewis, Robert G. The Handbook of American Railroads. New York: Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation, 1951, 2nd Edition 1956. Site Map Contact webmaster HERE.
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