The Times photo by Betsy ReasonThe Nickel Plate Road No. 426 engine pulls the train through the middle of Eighth Street in downtown Noblesville in 2014.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

The Nickel Plate Road No. 426 engine pulls the train through the middle of Eighth Street in downtown Noblesville in 2014.
I've read so many comments on social media about both sad and angry citizens who don't want to lose the Nickel Plate Rail Line.

That's after Fishers and Noblesville leaders on Feb. 28 made a joint announcement, proposing to convert the historic rail line to a greenway that they plan to call the Nickel Plate Trail. A 14-foot-wide trail paved pedestrian and bicycle trail would connect the two cities from 96th Street in Fishers to Pleasant Street in Noblesville, totaling 9.2 miles at a preliminary cost of $9.3 million.

Local officials are offering "community listening sessions," from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Fishers City Hall Auditorium, 1 Municipal Drive, Fishers, and again on Thursday at Noblesville City Hall, second-floor conference room, 16 S. 10th St., Noblesville.

There is a lot of buzz from people who plan to attend these sessions in support of the train, to oppose tearing out and replacing the tracks with trails.

Being billed as "listening sessions," I asked the City of Noblesville if attendees would be allowed to voice their opinions against the trail project.

Rob Herrington, the City's spokesman, tells me that the City Hall session would begin with a brief presentation about the proposal, with administration and department staff members being available to speak one-on-one with attendees to gather feedback and answer questions. Also, cards would be available for attendees who want to submit questions or feedback in writing for follow-up from the City via email. The public would be welcome to come and go from the "open house," which would be staffed for the full two hours.

The Indiana Transportation Museum (ITM) in Noblesville's Forest Park successfully operated the FairTrain, traveling daily from Fishers to the State Fair, annually transporting 40,000 Fair-goers, for more than 30 years, through 2015. Hoosier Heritage Port Authority, a nonprofit that maintains the 37 miles of rail lines from Indianapolis to Tipton, halted operations of the railroad in 2016 due to safety concerns, saying it would cost up to $5 million to make repairs.

The ITM, which is developing a plan that could save the rail, is encouraging people to sign a petition, at

From the many comments that I've read on social media, including Facebook and Next Door, it's evident that many in the community want to save the historic rail. One ITM post, alone, has received more than 830 shares, 205 comments and 500 emoji responses.

I wonder how many of these people will show up and share their opinions this week at the "listening sessions."

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