Volunteers and staff of the Indiana Transportation Museum are wrapping up preparations for this year’s FairTrain™ the historic passenger train has run to the Indiana State Fair for 30 years.
The Museum’s authentic train from the 1940’s is a big part of the non-profit’s educational program and the FairTrain is one of its biggest fundraising projects. Riding it is also a way experienced Fair-goers beat the traffic and parking congestion.
The train travels the Nickel Plate Railroad from the Fairgrounds through Castleton to Fishers. Trains are scheduled every hour and a half in each direction. Details can be found on the Museum’s website at: ITM.org
“Boys and girls love the train,” said Museum Board member and professional librarian, Lavonne Stage. “It’s a great opportunity for families to spend time together. The anticipation and excitement of the journey fires up kids’ curiosity about the history, science and art of the railroad.”
“One of the big things we want to emphasize this year,” said Museum Chairman Jeff Kehler, “is that people can board the train at the Fairgrounds station and ride to Fishers and back. Studies found many people in Indianapolis didn’t know that was possible.” To increase accessibility, the Binford neighborhood group, BRAG, worked with the Museum to open a stop at 71st Street.
For those who ride to Fishers, a short stopover lets people stretch, look over the train and visit the Museum’s store in the station.
The Fishers station is located on 116th Street 5 blocks west of the I-69 Interchange. The Indianapolis station is on the east edge of the Fairgrounds at 39th Street. The 71st Street stop is located one block west of Graham Road just off Binford Boulevard. Free parking adds to the train’s convenience and is available at both the Fishers station and the 71st Street Kroger store, a block from the train stop.
Reservations are not needed. Space is available on a first-come basis. Tickets can be purchased at the Fishers station, at the 71st and Binford Kroger store and on the train at the Fairgrounds station. All tickets are round trip. Adult fares are $12, Youth fares for ages 2 to 12 are $8 and children under 2 who don’t occupy a seat ride free.
There’s nothing like the FairTrain. While historic trains run elsewhere, no other organization has ever run 18 trains a day, now for 17 days in a row, for 30 years. Museum staff proudly claim their railroad schedules as many daily trains and moves as many people during the Fair as some commuter railroad routes.
For over 100 years railroads were the biggest most important industry in America. They exerted a powerful influence on peoples’ imaginations and helped give rise to Americans’ characteristic determination and can-do attitude. They shaped many aspects of modern life from science and technology to finance, law and the arts. The train helps bring the railroads’ stories to life so they can inspire future generations with the ingenuity, daring and dedication of the past.
The FairTrain runs from 8:45 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. throughout the run of the Indiana State Fair, August 2-18. For more information visit ITM.org
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