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home : news : local news July 27, 2017

3/15/2017 7:56:00 AM
Nickel Plate wants to share the trail
The Times photo by Betsy ReasonThe Indiana Transportation Museumís Nickel Plate Road No. 426 diesel locomotive travels down the middle of Eighth Street in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse in November 2014.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

The Indiana Transportation Museumís Nickel Plate Road No. 426 diesel locomotive travels down the middle of Eighth Street in front of the Hamilton County Courthouse in November 2014.
By Alex Pollock

The Indiana Transportation Museum has brought in a developer and is proposing a way to keep the local Nickel Plate railway intact.

The railway was shut down last year due to safety violations that would cost $ 5 million to fix.

The new idea is to add tracks from the Indiana State Fairgrounds all the way up to 10th street in Noblesville. There would be weekend trains running year-round, giving visitors the opportunity to take trips into Indianapolis day or night.

The trains would run from Noblesville into Union Station downtown.

The trains would be ten cars long and have room for riders to bring along bicycles and canoes, and would also feature dining cars.

This idea comes in response to Noblesville and Fishers' announcement on Jan 30 of their plan to convert the Nickel Plate Railway into a pedestrian trail. A project that would cost approximately $ 9 million.

The announcement came with some backlash from citizens who were concerned about the effects of getting rid of one of Noblesville's historic aspects.

Fishers and Noblesville plan to split the cost of the conversion and believe the trail will help connect the two cities.

Citizens who were unhappy with the city's proposal to turn the tracks into a walking path are more on board for this new development.

"I thinks it's a shame that the cities of Noblesville and Fishers don't want to invest in repairing and helping to restore the Nickel Plates to preserve the heritage of the famed railroad line," said local resident Kelly Collins. "I think the plans to expand the tracks to Indianapolis and beyond is a great idea."

It is estimated that the new trains could potentially bring in around 100,000 visitors a year, and help boost local economies.

"Giving the people of Indiana a chance to travel by train and experience other parts of the Hoosier state would be wonderful," said Collins.

An online petition has been started to keep the railway from being converted to a pathway. The "Save the Nickel Plate" petition can be found at change.org.

Two community meetings are still scheduled for the public to voice their opinions on the options. The meetings will be held on March 21 and 23 in Fishers and Noblesville, respectively.

The Noblesville Mayor's office was contacted for comment, but did not respond to the request by The Times' deadline.

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