The Indiana Transportation Museum, founded as the Indiana Museum of Transport and Communication in 1960, has been engaging and inspiring future generations with Indiana’s rich railroad history for more than 50 years. Upon changing the organization’s name to the Indiana Transportation Museum in 1983, the organization experienced exponential growth as an asset for the people of Indiana in tourism and education regarding the art, science and technology of the railroad industry. The railroad was an industry that was instrumental in building the United States of America into a progressive society.
From humble beginnings, to hosting thousands of guests each year, the Museum has been propelled by a team of dedicated and experienced individuals. In 1983, the Museum operated the first Indiana State FairTrain under the support and guidance of local and state leaders. The Museum does so to this day by transporting thousands of people over 17 days with 10 daily trips from the northern suburbs of Indianapolis to the State Fair.
However, the excitement doesn’t stop there. In 1988, the Museum took the national stage with restored steam locomotive Nickel Plate Road 587, representative of the machines that moved America during the Great Depression, World War I and II as well as changes in society and culture. Currently, the Museum is working to again bring this icon of America back to operation through an extensive overhaul, and when completed, will serve the Museum’s growing Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad as an example of what it was like to travel in the romanced era of passenger rail. Through the heritage railroad, guests experience railroading of the early 20 century, linking communities, events and regional tourism.
Since the 1990’s, the Museum has worked to grow its Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad by continuing to provide service to events like the Indiana State Fair, dinners, concerts, community festivals, pumpkin patches, and the North Pole during the holidays. This staple of tourism in Indianapolis and the surrounding region attracts several thousand visitors each year, and continues to grow as a professional, educational institution to preserve America’s rail heritage.
The Museum is unlike any other in the United States in that one can travel the rails like those before them in trains representative of the past with service of the same essence. Over the Museum’s 34 mile Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad from Indianapolis to Tipton, Indiana, thousands are reliving the industry that connected friends, families and commodities for over a century, traveling between cities and rural communities.
The Board, volunteers and staff of the Indiana Transportation Museum invite you to climb aboard the Nickel Plate Heritage Railroad to travel back in time to when railroads were the lifeblood of American society.
This is your Museum.
Experience how the Museum is “engaging and inspiring future generations” through the art, science and technological innovation of the railroad.