Logansport Mayor Dave Kitchell

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David L. Shank, APR

Shank Public Relations Counselors, Inc.

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Indiana Transportation Museum plans new location in Logansport

Potential new site emphasizes Logansport’s history as a rail hub.


LOGANSPORT, INDIANA – July 14, 2017 – The Mayor of Logansport, Indiana and the Noblesville-based Indiana Transportation Museum have discussed establishing a northern Indiana location for the Museum’s trains, rolling stock and excursions.

The announcement of a memorandum of understanding is Friday, July 14, 1 p.m. at the IvyTech campus, 1 Don Heckard Way, near Logansport.

The memorandum of understanding begins the process for Mayor Dave Kitchell’s office to provide support for the Museum’s first presence outside of Hamilton County.

The announcement comes on what for 20 years was the starting day of the former Logansport Iron Horse Festival. The Festival was once the largest railroad festival in Indiana. For several years after the start of the festival in 1981 steam train excursions operated from downtown to France Park west of the city, or to Anoka southeast. Diesel excursions to Peru and on Logansport’s north side were also part of the Festival.

The Indiana Transportation Museum, headquartered in Forest Park, 825 Park Dr., Noblesville, is a non-profit museum and heritage railroad operation founded in 1960. The Museum mission is to engage and inspire generations regarding the rich culture and heritage of America’s and Indiana’s railroads by bringing to life the art, science and technology that defined the industry.

The Museum exists as a community-centered partner for the region and Indiana for education, tourism development, economic benefit and preservation of our rich heritage. The Museum sees visitors from across Indiana, the United States and the world. The Museum’s trains, crews and track are certified by the Federal Railroad Administration.

“Our mission preserves the great legacy of railroading tracks perfectly with Logansport’s history as an early Hoosier rail center,” said Museum Board Chair John McNichols. “Together we can not only preserve our shared history, but find ways to expand the vision of historic railroads in Indiana. The Logansport Museum will be an expansion of our state-wide vision.” The Museum is best known for its State Fair Train (sm), the Polar Bear Express (sm) and other excursion trains.

McNichols pointed out this is part of a regional strategy based on sound business decisions and positive economic impact for the communities the Museum serves and will serve.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to be working with the Indiana Transportation Museum, its board and volunteers,” Mayor Kitchell said. “The Museum board recognized the potential in Logansport that has led us to this day. It is an exciting one for our community and for Hoosier and the Midwest railroad enthusiasts. We’re eager for Logansport to be its permanent home that will serve them and exhibit the significance of our transportation history for future generations.”

Now our 21st Century families and children will experience railroad history and better understand the impact rail had on our community and their ancestors, Kitchell said.

Logansport’s transportation history began with Michigan Road, the first north-south road in the state, which still exists. The Wabash & Erie Canal operated in Logansport beginning in 1838 when the city was founded. Railroads appeared in the 1850s, with Logansport ranking second only to Indianapolis in the number of rail lines.

The Vandalia Railroad, which was later absorbed by the Pennsylvania, was among various railroads, including the Wabash, which produced the fabled Wabash Cannonball passenger train. Pennsylvania Railroad passenger service operated in Logansport in the 1970s with trains that included The Floridian and The Kentuckian.

The merger of the Pennsylvania and New York Central into Penn Central precluded the ownership by Conrail before its lines were either abandoned or sold to small private carriers. Steam engines were once manufactured in Logansport. One remains on display at the B&O Museum in Baltimore.