Over 3,000 visitors took part in the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society’s Annual Open House on August 19th, 20th and 21st, shattering attendance records for the event.
The railroad society was featured less than eight local articles in local television and newspapers and over 250 members visited the society for its first annual Members Day activities on August 20th.
The organization also unveiled new renderings for its Headwaters Junction project and announced a ceremonious renumbering of steam locomotive no. 765 to “767,” after the engine that opened the downtown railroad overpass in 1955. Following the Open House, The Journal Gazette penned a powerful endorsement of Headwaters Junction, saying it offered “downtown identity” and called it “iconic, family friendly.”
The engine will operate as “767” at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in September. At times, the crowds were more than the society’s facility could handle, with traffic backed up to Ryan Road and visitors parked along Edgerton Road once the society’s parking capacity was filled. In response to the wait times for caboose rides, the organization will transition to pre-sales for future Open House rides as they have with their popular Santa Train events, which are held in December.
“We are grateful and overwhelmed by the attendance this weekend. Events like this make it impossible to understate the popularity of railroading and railroad preservation, ” said Kelly Lynch, Vice President of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.
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