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Regional Short Line and Fort Wayne Railroad Partner for Indiana Rail Experience

By Events, Excursions, News

ANGOLA, INDIANA – The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc. and the Indiana Northeastern Railroad Company have announced The Indiana Rail Experience, a historic partnership that will contribute to the tourism economy and the quality of life in Northeast Indiana. Tickets will be available at indianarailexperience.org.

Beginning in 2022, the Fort Wayne non-profit will operate a series of passenger train trips, educational programs, and special events over the Indiana Northeastern, a 100-mile railroad line that connects Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

Events will include a wide array of excursions with Nickel Plate Road no. 765, a 1940s-era steam locomotive, which has become an international cultural attraction since being restored to operating condition in 1979. In addition to the 765, other historic locomotives and classic railroad passenger cars will provide unique offerings for children, families, and adults between July and October. A complete schedule and tickets will be available later in May and June. To get notified, click here. For sponsorship inquiries, click here.

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“Our railroad has helped drive the economy of this region since it was started to support local farmers,” explained Gale Shultz, President of the Indiana Northeastern. “We’re hoping to not only shine a spotlight on our community with the popularity of the 765, but let the world know that the region and the railroad are open for business.”

The Indiana Northeastern is an industrious short line railroad serving Northeast Indiana, Southern Michigan, and Northwest Ohio.

“This multi-year agreement will allow us to offer experiences to our friends and neighbors like never before,” said Kelly Lynch, Vice President of the Fort Wayne Railroad. “We couldn’t be more fortunate to work with a local, family-owned organization like the Indiana Northeastern. This partnership will bring joy to thousands of residents and visitors.”

In addition, events will be hosted in cooperation with the Little River Railroad, Norfolk & Western Business Car No. 300 Preservation Society, Steuben County Tourism Bureau, and the City of Angola. Sponsors include Berne Apparel, JICI Construction, The John H. Emery Rail Heritage Trust, McRail Insurance, and Trine University.

“We are thrilled that the Indiana Northeastern is boosting our recreation industry. Not only does this give our population more to do in the summer months, but the potential to expand these events into the off-season will be significant for our area,” said June Julien, Executive Director of Steuben County Tourism Bureau.

Formally incorporated 30 years ago in 1992, the Indiana Northeastern has revitalized the former Wabash and New York Central Railroad lines which had all but been abandoned by the 1990s. The short-line railroad success story now sees over 5,000 freight carloads a year, serves 25 industrial and agricultural industries in three states and supports over 500 jobs. The Indiana Northeastern maintains offices and a locomotive repair facility in South Milford and Hudson, Indiana, respectively.

With roots deep in state history and cultural heritage tourism, rail tourism in Indiana continues to be a burgeoning industry. The recently inaugurated Nickel Plate Express in Noblesville hosted 25,000 riders, and the events of the French Lick Scenic Railway in southern Indiana welcomed over 70,000 riders last year.

“In 2020, Indiana had an estimated 67 million visitors,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “Development is key to the Leisure and Travel-related industry and its growth, and this development in Northeast Indiana will be a great addition to visitor attraction and to the quality of life.”

“Our events routinely sell out and are in significant demand in Northeast Indiana. Our studies have shown that a more permanent railroad attraction in this region could welcome over 120,000 visitors on an annual basis,” added Lynch.

For 50 years, the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society has offered remarkable and inspiring experiences through the preservation, restoration, and operation of historic railroad equipment and artifacts significant to Northeast Indiana. An all-volunteer, award-winning, and safety-driven non-profit organization, it has operated Nickel Plate Road no. 765 for over 100,000 miles in public exhibition and passenger train excursion service and routinely welcomes visitors from all 50 states and half a dozen countries. As a part of its role in the rail tourism industry, Fort Wayne continues to restore and exhibit other historic steam and diesel locomotives, freight cars, and passenger cars from the Golden Age of Railroading, all of which are used to celebrate and preserve the area’s cultural and industrial heritage. Fort Wayne’s operations are funded by ticket sales, memberships, donations, grants, and sponsorships.

Steam in the Valley Returns to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

By Events, Excursions

Two celebrated non-profit organizations set to commemorate their 50th Anniversaries with special events planned for May

INDEPENDENCE, OHIO – Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) and the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc. (FWRHS) will once again partner to host “Steam in the Valley” and bring historic steam locomotive no. 765., a fourteen-wheeled, time machine that stands 15 feet tall and weighs 404 tons to the Cuyahoga Valley.

Steam in the Valley will be held for the first time in May on the 13-15 and 20-22. 2022 will mark the 50th anniversaries for both organizations and a decade of collaborating to bring the exciting sights and sounds of historic steam railroading to the Cuyahoga Valley Steam in the Valley will be the first major event held this year for both organizations as they celebrate their 50th anniversaries. Steam in the Valley will include a variety of historical train experiences for passengers of all ages.

As part of the living history event, all riders are invited to dress in their best 1950s attire, with prizes available for best-dressed passengers. Tickets are on sale now at cvsr.org/steam.

Founded in 1972 by private citizens seeking to preserve remnants of the steam railroad era, CVSR operates through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, over what was once the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Since then, it has offered train rides and alternative transportation through the park and welcomes more than 150,000 visitors a year.

“Steam in the Valley has become an annual tradition at the railroad,” said Joe Mazur, CVSR President and CEO. “Steam locomotives ran on the same tracks through the Cuyahoga Valley as early as the 1880s, and a steam locomotive was an integral part of CVSR’s early years, which is fitting as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary year. We look forward to bringing part of that history back again this year.”

Originally built in 1944, the 765 operated between Chicago and Buffalo, New York for the Nickel Plate Railroad, whose offices were headquartered in Cleveland. Retired in 1958 and restored by the all-volunteer group in 1979, the 765 is a roving railroad attraction and one of the last locomotives of its type in operation. Its annual visits to CVSR have welcomed more than 6,000 visitors annually from 34 states.

“In the last half-century, our organization has been proud to see the 765 emerge as a unique kind of time machine and enchant thousands of people throughout the country,” said Kelly Lynch, Vice President of the FWRHS. “These events not only fulfill our dream to enrich people’s lives with unique and educational experiences but align perfectly with the mission of CVSR to blend recreation and education with railroad history. The Cuyahoga Valley is one of our favorite venues.”

Steam in the Valley will feature day and nighttime trips. Experiences include a variety of excursions including, Dinner on the Train, Murder Mystery trains, Cocktails on Rails, night rides and photo sessions and more. Tickets range from $25-$135 depending on excursion and seating class. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased through CVSR. To book tickets and to learn more, visit cvsr.org/steam.

About Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc.
The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Inc. (FWRHS) is an all-volunteer not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that provides hands-on educational and recreational experiences through the preservation and operation of historic railroad equipment. It has operated Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive no. 765 and other vintage trains throughout the country for 50 years. For more information, visit fortwaynerailroad.org.

About Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad
Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) is a private sector, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) volunteer supported organization operating in partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) and is dedicated to the preservation of passenger rail transportation in Cuyahoga Valley and the historic Ohio & Erie Canalway. CVSR has been providing excursion rail service for 50 years. For more information about the railroad, visit CVSR.org.

Railroad Society Announces 2021 Season

By Events, Excursions, Uncategorized

NEW HAVEN (July 15th) – The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (FWRHS) has announced its 2021 slate of events and excursions, the return of historic steam locomotive No. 765 to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad in Cleveland, Ohio, and the operation of the Autumn Colors Express in Huntington West Virginia.

“After hosting a successful but limited capacity event last October, we’re looking forward to the opportunity to educate and entertain the general public aboard our attractions once again,” said Joe Knapke, FWRHS President. “We’re grateful that our members, donors, and volunteers helped us weather 2020’s uncertainties.”

Nickel Plate Road locomotive no. 765 will be under steam at the Annual Open House in New Haven, Indiana in August, and operate over three weeks for Steam in the Valley at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic on September 3rd, 10th-12th, 17th-19th. Tickets for Steam in the Valley go on sale July 20th at cvsr.com at 9 AM.

Exclusive Throttle Time tickets will permit railroad fans to operate the iconic steam engine on September 13th for a six-mile round trip. Throttle Time ticket sales begin July 21st at 12 PM for FWRHS members and 6 PM for the general public at fortwaynerailroad.org.

Society members will also be co-hosting the Autumn Colors Express from October 21st through 24th. These all-day first-class passenger trains will carry passengers through the heart of the New River Gorge National Park during peak fall color. Tickets for these diesel-powered excursions are available now at autumncolorexpresswv.com.

The Society’s annual events in New Haven include the Railroad Open House and train rides on August 20th – 22nd and the Pumpkin Train on October 9th and 10th. This year, the 19th Annual Santa Train will return one week earlier on November 27th and operate the next three weekends in December, giving passengers more opportunities to take a train ride with Santa Claus. Ticket sales begin November 3rd.

The FWRHS is also teaming up with the Mad River & NKP Museum in Bellevue, Ohio for Berkshires in Bellevue –  two weekends of events between September 24th and October 3rd. Bellevue and Fort Wayne were once major terminals for the Nickel Plate Road, and the 765 will operate train rides and special events at the museum to honor the community’s heritage as a railroad town.

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Earlier this year, Society volunteers completed an extensive restoration of a century-old Wabash Railroad caboose, which will expand capacity for the organization’s popular train rides and offerings. In addition to the caboose, volunteers are in the final stage in the restoration of vintage Nickel Plate Road diesel locomotive no. 358. The classic diesel locomotive will be used on regional tourist railroads and in tandem exhibition and excursion with the 765.

Volunteers also continue to make meaningful progress on the rebuild of a one-of-a-kind Lake Erie & Western freight car, with a fundraising goal of $3,500 to complete the project. Donations can be made online at fortwaynerailroad.org/donate.