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Indiana Transporation Museum
The Indiana Transportation Museum is a unique museum that preserves portions of the Nickel Plate Road line, an old railroad line that formerly ran north from Indianapolis to Peru, Indiana. It offers a number of family-friendly train rides all over the Greater Indianapolis area and northern Indiana, but the museum itself is headquartered in Noblesville, Indiana.
In 1846, construction of the Peru & Indianapolis railroad line began with the goal to connect Indianapolis, the Wabash River and the Erie Canal. By early 1854, the line ran between Indianapolis and Peru, Indiana, stretching 73 miles in total. The railroad line had many owners, but, with rapid changes in transportation, its popularity faded in the 20th century. The Indiana Museum of Transport and Communication formed on September 1st, 1960, with the intention of preserving the historic railroad line. It legally changed its name to the Indiana Transportation Museum on June 2, 1983.
There are a number of train rides offered by the Indiana Transportation Museum. The Harvest Train leaves from Forest Park in Noblesville at various times throughout the fall and goes to a nearby pumpkin patch. There are games, pony rides, hay rides and face painting at the pumpkin patch. The Morse Lake Dinner Train is another train ride offered by the museum. Like the Harvest Train, it leaves from Forest Park and takes riders to the Morse Lake in Cicero, Indiana, for dinner. The Polar Bear Express is a particularly popular train ride offered by the museum, and it has been in operation for 20 years. Guests ride from Fishers to another train station decorated like the North Pole. While on the train, riders are given hot chocolate, a candy cane and a cookie. They also have the opportunity to listen to a Christmas-themed story, and they can meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. This train route is particularly popular, and reservations should be made far in Advance. Many other train rides leave from various other locations in the Greater Indianapolis area, including the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Downtown Noblesville and Arcadia.
The museum relies on volunteers to operate efficiently. It needs volunteers with mechanical skills, clerical skills and historical research experience for technical positions. It also needs people to take care of the museum grounds and to work in the museum’s store and on board its trains. Volunteers who complete a certified course can operate some of the museum’s trains. Prospective volunteers should visit the Indiana Transportation Museum’s website and fill out its online registration form.
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