Author Topic: ITM's new location?  (Read 2289 times)


  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 455
ITM's new location?
« on: August 20, 2006, 08:32:50 AM »
To borrow a phrase.....  "Can't we all just get along?"  ;D

Now on a serious note, someone in a prev. message said the museum was moving.  How far north?  Is it alot more land then the Forest Park facility?  Inquiring minds want to know.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2006, 12:46:54 AM by admin »


  • Engineer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • I'm a Hoosier Railfan!
Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2006, 10:07:00 AM »
Not much about the move can be said.... yet.  Here is text from the Noblesville Ledger article for those who did not read it yet in my post "Musuem looks for room".

Posted 2:52 PM February 21, 2006
Train museum looks for room
Repair shop move to Cicero could open doors to tourism
By Betsy Reason
February 21, 2006

CICERO -- The Indiana Transportation Museum has 5,000 tons of equipment on six acres in Forest Park in Noblesville and little space to repair or refurbish it. This year, the museum is looking at the idea of moving some of its operation to Cicero -- and town leaders see that as an opportunity for economic development.

"Leaving some of these things outdoors is like leaving your grandfather's '31 Cadillac under a tree in the back yard," said Craig Presler, a longtime member of the museum board, about the locomotives, trolleys and train cars that sit outside day after day, year after year. He said the museum owns a lot of train equipment, most of which has been donated through the years, but can't get more acreage to create repair shops in the park, which the museum has called home since its founding in 1960.

That's why moving the repair shops five miles north to Cicero could be the answer, said Presler, who's getting on board with the town's Economic Development Committee and exploring ways to help the museum bring more tourism dollars to the county.

Moving the shops out of the park would allow more of a show place for the finished equipment, yet the shops would be linked to the park and give meaning to the museum's trolley line, which currently runs only in Forest Park. He said visiting the museum would become more educational if guests could see not only the finished equipment but the work in progress.

"We wouldn't be moving the whole show up there. We would be spreading out. We'd be expanding our facilities to other points on the line," said Presler while standing inside a 9,200-square-foot pole building used as a repair shop on the museum grounds. "This is it."

Having 70,000-80,000 square feet of covered space, built over time, at a location just off the tracks, is Presler's dream.

If that happened, and a lot of the equipment was repaired so the train could run on a regular basis to and from Indianapolis, transporting a couple thousand people at a time would be easy, Presler said, "There'd be no museum like ours that could do what we could on this line."

Brian Selwa, vice president of the Cicero Town Council, sees the museum as an opportunity for the Cicero community. "I'm very excited about the economic impact."

Standing next to Presler in the museum's repair shop, Selwa commented, "You don't see things like this very often. It's a treasure for this area to have this."

Ford Hebner, president of the Cicero Economic Development Committee and a Hamilton County Convention & Visitors Board member, is looking at prospects years down the track.

"We want to work together to make this a viable facility and museum for future generations," said Hebner, who's formed a committee to explore ways to help the museum.

The Cicero businessman said the committee would research potential sites, work with the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority and look at financial options. His goal is to make proposals and recommendations and define the scope of the project by June.

If the train has more refurbished cars, the line could carry people from Indianapolis to Forest Park or to Jackson Township for special events, like riding the paddlewheel boat docked in Cicero when it's refurbished, said Hebner. He sees the trolley taking people to Strawtown Koteewi Park on the White River.

Jane Hunter, executive director of the Hamilton North Chamber of Commerce, said the museum's opportunity offers endless possibilities for Cicero. "I think it would be great, anything that we could do to bring more people into Cicero, to make them more familiar with what we have to offer, and to take advantage of the places we have to eat."

In mid-2005, the museum added The Waterfront Restaurant & Lounge to its Hamiltonian Express schedule, which already included Fletcher's of Atlanta and the Anvil Inn in Cicero, and hopes to add a fourth restaurant this season, Bleeker Street Eatery, a steak and seafood house which Cicero resident John Guion and wife Danielle plan to open in April, less than a block from the train tracks at 10 W. Jackson St.

Call staff writer Betsy Reason at (317) 444-5542.
Chris Homko


  • Engineer
  • ***
  • Posts: 123
  • I'm a Hoosier Railfan!
Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2006, 10:12:22 AM »
OK, now that you know that information.  I can add the following information for those with questions.  Why Cicero?  Why would they be interested in hosting a site for the musuem?  Bottom line is vision.  The Mayor of Cicero and his staff met Craig Presler and Dave Wilcox at an unrelated meeting (Craig, if you read this feel free to fill in the details).  Craig filled them in on the possible long range plans of the museum.  After hearing this, the Mayor decided that the musuem would be a good fit for their vision for Cicero.  Why?  Because the Mayor wanted Cicero to have an attraction that made Cicero unique and unlike all the other towns around Indianapolis that have been developed in suburbia "anytown USA's".

That's about all that can be said right now.  If you would like to know more, you can try to catch the town of Cicero/ITM meetings.  The last one was August 3rd at the Cicero Town Hall.  I do not yet know when the next one will be, but can ask if any of you are interested in attending.  I can add one more thing, no matter what you think of ITM, this project will and is moving forward as I write this.  This project is VERY important to the Town of Cicero.  So, that being said, any volunteers to join ITM to help with this project?  Now is the time, they need your help.  Committees have already been assigned, but your input and skills in what ever you may want to help with would be greatly appreciated.
Chris Homko


  • Dispatcher
  • *****
  • Posts: 455
Re: Railroad museum debates
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2006, 07:45:04 PM »
Ah I see...

Thanks for the info, I might e interested in the next meeting if anyone has the time and place.  I'm always up to being an audience member of any meeting, as long as work and football schedule permit.  

Thanks again.


  • President
  • *****
  • Posts: 1503
  • The train's are on their way back!!!!
Re: ITM's new location?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2006, 12:53:21 PM »
It is a dam shame that I.T.M. couldn't get the rest of the old I.M.C. district up toward Kokomo,In. There are endless possibilities for this museum. Logansport, Peru, Marion, La Fayette, In. just to name a few of the big railroad towns in the area that don't have or use to have museums that represented the railroad industry. I'm not saying that I.T.M. should even move to any of these towns, but with all that extra rail line and all that equipment, if the money was there to set up shop at Cicero,In. Then why not at Tipton also. The I.T.M. if they should ever become so desired should consider operating their museum in seperate little divisions. Ofcourse i realize it all takes money, what doesn't? If i had to decide I.T.M.'s fate at Noblesville, and by no means i would want to. I guess i would just have a couple of display buildings down in Noblesville where they are at now.                                        Maybe keep the trolleys and interurban equipment there for sure. Keep some of the restored engines, cars, and cabooses there too. Then build a shop up north, something that can be heated, and with a paint booth. Then take all the most derict equipment and move it out on to that old power plant spur some place where the public and vandals can't see it. I don't know what to tell them. That is I.T.M.'s decision as to what they do.                                                              Sometimes i wish that there could be a Indiana State railroad preservation society and / or museum. A group that can pick two or three sites in Indiana to display to display railroad artifacts and / or equipment that the other museums in the state can't afford to preserve or restore. This group would be dedicated to restoring what the the general public call junk!!!! The rail buffs call it ancient treasure. There funding would be from donations and grants. But if it were an Indiana owned group it could go through some sort of a budget. Any of the museums in the state could loan out something in their collections to this group to restore and / or display. I guess i'm just day dreaming again. But if it were to happen i know what towns i would go to. And two of them still have all of their servicing facilities. If it were possible in southern Indiana i would go to N.S.'s ex.SOUTHERN RWY. terminal in Princeton,In. In central Indiana it would have to be N.S.'s ex. N.K.P. terminal at Frankfort, In. as far as northern Indiana is concerned i often wondered why no one ever considered using part of the old Kingsbury Ordinance Plant up near Kingsford Hieghts, in. At one time there use to be over 90 miles of track in this facility. Now there is a mere fifteen. The endless possibilities. I'm sorry you all had to here me babal on and on!!!!!!!!!   sorry!!!!!!


  • Administrator
  • Tycoon
  • *****
  • Posts: 5581
  • indrr admin
Re: ITM's new location?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2006, 02:40:31 PM »
There are two very good reasons for keeping ITM in Hamilton County, besides the fact that it is already established there.  

The first is the high population density within reach of the museum.  Probably at least a fifth of the state's population is with an hour's drive of Noblesville.  This means a lot more people can get there and be a part of the museum, both as visitors and volunteers.  A drawback to the museums in North Judson, French Lick and Terre Haute is their relative inaccessibilty.

The second reason is that Hamilton County is the richest in the state.  This means potentially more money coming into the non profit museum.  It also means that each community potentially has funds to commit to hosting a museum.  This is the biggest reason why Frankfort and Tipton haven't developed their ideas of train museums or related facilities.  Whereas Cicero could have the vision and the money to make it happen.

On the flip side of those two reasons, are the fact that a higher population concentration means more people to complain about the noisy trains, to vandalize the equipment/tracks, and to criticize the way things are done (being as the museum is visible to more people).  And, being rich, the complainers can put money where their loudmouths are.

If the museum moves out of Noblesville and farther up the line, it would make the most sense to keep some things in Forest Park.  A depot, either Hobbs or some other, should be there for the sake that the park is a destination.  Some finished equipment could be on display there as well.  Most shop work and all storage would be moved offsite though, as that is the dirty and noisy and ugly part of the museum that Noblesville is afraid will eat small children and pets if left in the park.

Enough babble from me for now... ::)
Nathan Bilger
Board Admin, Webmaster


  • Guest
Re: ITM's new location?
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2006, 02:22:44 PM »
A real, working shop area has been in the ITM cards for along time. Anyone who visits the museum can see some of the  repair and servicing being done. There is no more usable space at the park so spreading out is almost out of the question.

ITM has been very concerned with the complaints directed at the appearance of the museums grounds. Some of what has to be done as up-keep of the museums rolling "exhibits" is, as Hathan has pointed out, not very pretty. Moving the dirty work to someplace else succeeds in improving the presentation of the present location and giving the dirty work a place where is can spread out, be out of sight and even improve the museum experience for visitors by adding another "exhibit" (a shop area).

The IMC Indy-Peru line would have been the "perfect" museum line. Too bad that if is now broken into pieces. The Idianapolis end is with-in the reach of ITM. Mass transit for the line is an overblown promise of performance that will not significant impact the real problems of traffic in centrtal Indiana reagion or Indiananpolis.

The study done of the lines potential for tourist and museum "events" in connection with the central city sporting and convention activity shows a huge potention and at a cost that, when compared to the mass transit study estimates, is a steal!!!

The museum came very near to owning the line. That is another story and one that will make a grown man cry. If that had come to pass, the Belt Line connection would not be out of service, the shippers up at 96th street would some other options and the track would be fixed. (Ever try to get a grant to fix property you don't own?)

Standing-by for mass transit, though a good intention, is proof of my fathers saying: "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".          

If anyone is concerned about the museum "leaving town", don't be. Noblesville will have the museum whether it wants it or not for a very long time.

The ITM is going to grow from a good local and regional attraction to one that will have a very recognizable national image.