Following a successful season of memorable events and recent recognition as Indiana’s “Best New Experience” from the Indiana Tourism Association, a 1940s-era railroad attraction has expanded its calendar of excursions in Northeast Indiana, Southeast Michigan, and Northwest Ohio for 2023.
Operated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and the Indiana Northeastern Railroad Company, the Indiana Rail Experience has events planned between May and December, including steam-powered fall color tours, Christmas train rides, and a hands-on Indiana Rail Camp for young adults and railroad fans. The season will begin with the Indiana Ice Cream Train operating out of Angola on Memorial Day weekend and special events on Father’s Day weekend.
Returning will be the popular all-day excursions to Hillsdale, Michigan, and Wine & Whiskey Trains that will operate throughout the year. Included in the calendar of events will also be a special Railroad Open House event featuring several steam and diesel locomotives at the Indiana Northeastern’s locomotive shop in Hudson, Indiana.
Ticket sales for the season’s initial events will begin on April 19th at 6:00 PM at indianarailexperience.org. Dates, venues, and trip details are subject to change.
Excursions will feature both diesel locomotives and historic Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 on select occasions. Trains include vintage passenger cars from the 1920s through the 1950s, with accommodations in deluxe coach, first-class, lounge, and dining cars. Group packages and private passenger car charters will also be available.
“This is only a new era not only for our organization but for cultural heritage tourism in the Northeast Indiana region,” said Kelly Lynch, Vice President of the Fort Wayne Railroad. “There is no other tourist railroad that connects three states together like this one and it presents a significant opportunity to use our transportation history and attractions as a way to welcome thousands of people to this region. This is just the start of a series of exciting announcements this year and we anticipate this program will continue to grow, especially in Steuben County.”
Operated entirely by volunteers, the increased number of events this year also means that the Indiana Rail Experience is recruiting this year for positions in event administration, docents, operations, gift store, on-board, and customer service roles. Interested participants can apply at fortwaynerailroad.org/volunteer.
Events will be hosted in cooperation with the Little River Railroad, Gramling Locomotive Works, Trine University, Norfolk & Western Business Car No. 300 Preservation Society, City of Angola, and City of Hillsdale, Michigan, and the Steuben County Tourism Bureau.
2023 PUBLIC EVENTS CALENDAR
All trips are roundtrips. Dates, venues, prices, and trip details are subject to change.
MAY 27th & 28th – ICE CREAM TRAINS
Steam-powered train rides departing Angola, Indiana. Tickets start at $15.00.
JUNE 17th – DONUTS & DADS TRAIN and SUMMER BBQ TRAIN
Steam-powered train rides departing Angola, Indiana during Father’s Day weekend. Tickets start at $15.00 for Donuts & Dads and $75.00 for the Summer BBQ Train.
JUNE 18th – TRI-STATE SCENIC EXCURSION
All-day, roundtrip steam excursion between Edon, Ohio, and Hillsdale, Michigan on Father’s Day. Tickets start at $99.00.
JUNE 24th – ICE CREAM TRAINS
Diesel-powered train rides departing Angola, Indiana. Tickets start at $15.00.
JULY 1st – ROLLING SMOKE CIGAR TRAIN
Diesel-powered cigar train with special guest Erik Espinosa. Departing Pleasant Lake, Indiana for Hillsdale, Michigan. Tickets start at $260.00 and include a variety of amenities and cigars.
For the following events, ticket sales will begin May 17th. Click here to get notified when sales begin.
JULY 7th & 8th – WINE & CHOCOLATE TRAIN
Diesel-powered train rides departing Angola for passengers 21-and-over. Tickets start at $75.00.
JULY 13th – 15th – INDIANA RAIL CAMP
Immersive, three-day railroad skills and educational camp for young adults to develop their passions and skills and for scouts to earn their Railroad Merit Badge. Camp admission and registration are $150.00.
JULY 15th – WINE & WHISKEY TRAIN
Steam-powered train ride departing Angola for passengers 21-and-over. Tickets start at $75.00.
JULY 16th – ICE CREAM TRAINS
Diesel-powered train rides departing Angola. Tickets start at $15.00.
For the following events, ticket sales will begin June 14th. Click here to get notified when sales begin.
JULY 29th & 30th – RAILROAD OPEN HOUSE
Featuring Little River Railroad, Gramling Locomotive Works, and Nickel Plate Road no. 765 in Hudson, Indiana. Admission is free. Train rides start at $10.00.
AUGUST 19th – SOUTH MILFORD MEMORIAL DEDICATION TRAIN
Steam train ride departing South Milford, Indiana. Ticket price TBA.
AUGUST 20th – TAILS, ALES & RAILS
Train rides for good dogs and their owners departing Pleasant Lake, Indiana. Tickets are $45.00.
For the following events, ticket sales will begin July 19th. Click here to get notified when sales begin.
OCTOBER 7th & 8th – INDIANA FALL COLOR TRAIN
All-day steam excursions departing Pleasant Lake for Hillsdale. Tickets start at $99.00.
OCTOBER 14th & 15th – MICHIGAN FALL COLOR TRAIN
Steam & diesel excursion departing Hillsdale for Angola. Tickets start at $99.00.
NOVEMBER 24th-26th – CHRISTMAS CABOOSE RIDES
Traditional diesel-powered Christmas train rides and group charters aboard Santa’s caboose in New Haven, Indiana. Tickets start at $10.00.
DECEMBER 8TH-10th – INDIANA SANTA TRAIN
Diesel-powered holiday excursions and events departing Pleasant Lake. Tickets start at $35.00.
DECEMBER 15TH – 17th – INDIANA SANTA TRAIN
Diesel-powered holiday train excursions and events departing Pleasant Lake. Tickets start at $35.00.