Indiana Transportation Museum
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|Reporting mark||ITMZ[nb 1] (Temporary equipment transfers/loans)|
|Dates of operation||1960–present|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Length||38 mi (61 km)|
The Indiana Transportation Museum (initialized ITM, reporting mark ITMZ[nb 1]) is a railroad museum that was formerly located in the Forest Park neighborhood of Noblesville, Indiana, United States. It owns a variety of preserved railroad equipment, some of which still operate today. ITM is currently moving to Logansport, Indiana.
The Indiana Transportation Museum 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.
In 2017 the museum was evicted from its home in Forest Park by the city of Noblesville. ITM is currently in the process of moving retained equipment to a site in Logansport, Indiana.
While located in Noblesville, 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, when evicted, owned by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, which is made up of the Indiana cities of Indianapolis, Fishers, and Noblesville. Excursion service on the line had been suspended due to a dispute with the HHPA. The museum 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, and to the southern terminus at approximately 39th Street in Indianapolis. The rail line originally extended further south but had 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 also 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 to 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.
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 for the restoration of this locomotive. In 2008, ownership of the engine was permanently transferred from the Indianapolis Parks Department to the ITM.
While in Noblesville, the Indiana Transportation Museum operated different excursions, ranging from holiday trains to shuttles in freight cabooses.
- The Morse Lake Dinner Train was a dinner train which operated from Noblesville to a variety of restaurants in Cicero, Indiana, 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 has been put on hold indefinitely.
- The Polar Bear Express was 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 gained its name because the stop in Tipton was at end of the track and adjacent to the Pizza Shack, where riders could eat. 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; private charters were also available.
The museum offers 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 #587; built by Baldwin Locomotive Works in September 1918 as Lake Erie & Western 2-8-2 #5541; under restoration since 2003. Moved to Kentucky for restoration in 2018.
- Nickel Plate Road GP7L #426; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in July 1953; operational since 2004.
- Indiana Transportation Museum GP9 #200; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in April, 1954 as Union Pacific GP9 #200; operational since 2000.
- Nickel Plate Road F7A #83A; built by Electro-Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road F7A #110C in December 1950; operational since 1985.
- Monon SW-1 #DS-50; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in February 1942; operational.
- Nickel Plate Road VO-1000 #99; built by Baldwin Locomotive Works as Crane Naval Depot VO-1000 #9 in April 1945; formerly on static display, it ws sold to the city of Kokomo.
- Nickel Plate Road 44-Tonner #91; built by GE Transportation as Nickel Plate Road 44-Tonner #90 in September 1950; formerly on static display, it was sold to the city of Kokomo.
- Monon FP7 #96C; built by Electro Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road FP7 #96C in January 1951; in storage.
- Milwaukee Road F7A #83C; built by Electro-Motive Diesel as Milwaukee Road F7A #72C in July 1950; under restoration since 2007.
- Milwaukee Road F7B #68B; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in July 1950; in storage since 1983.
- Indianapolis Power and Light 0-4-0 Fireless #1; built by H.K. Porter in 1950. It was sold to the Hesston Steam Museum in 2018; the tank/pressure vessel was scrapped.
- Milwaukee Road SW-1 #867; built by Electro-Motive Diesel in 1939; scrapped in 2018.
- 14 Stainless-Steel Budd Coaches
- Florida East Coast Private Car #90 "Henry Flagler"; sold to the Monon Connection Museum.
- Nickel Plate Road Business Car #1; sold to Felix Powell, on loan to NPE.
- Louisville & Nashville Diner #2728; sold to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.
- Monon Cupola Extended-vision Caboose #81528; privately owned, it was moved to Atlanta, Indiana.
- Nickel Plate Road Cupola Caboose #770
- Nickel Plate Road Bay window Caboose #405
- List of United States railroads
- List of Indiana railroads
- List of heritage railroads in the United States
- List of railway museums
- "Indiana Transportation Museum: Equipment". Equipment markings used on official railroad-owned rolling stock.
- "Indiana Transportation Museum Plan Expands Education, Entertainment and Excursion Trains from Tipton to Lucas Oil Stadium". Indiana Transportation Museum. Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
|Railroad Picture Archives — Indiana Railway Museum photographs from Noblesville, Indiana.|
|RailPictures.Net — Indiana Railway Museum photographs at RailPictures.Net.|