Since my son was about 2 years old, he has had a strong love for trains. He especially enjoys learning about their mechanics along with the history of the railroad. Because of his curiosity for railways, my family recently explored the Indiana Transportation Museum. It is located inside Forest Park in Noblesville.
Prior to taking a guided tour at the museum, my family boarded a caboose pulled by an engine to ride along the railway. The ITM employees were very friendly and helpful in giving information on the history of the caboose and how it was used up until the 1980’s. Once inside the caboose, my son eagerly climbed up a ladder to ride in the small windowed projection on the roof, called the cupola. This is where the crew would normally sit in these elevated seats to inspect the train.
Once we returned to the Indiana Transportation Museum from our caboose ride, we took a guided tour by another friendly and knowledgeable employee. She let us climb up into an old engine that had been around since the 1940’s. My son had a grand time playing engineer inside it! One of the highlights of our tour was going inside a Railway Post Office Car, that was built in 1911. Post Office Cars had postal workers working inside them just as how they would work inside a post office today! It was fascinating to see the original mail bags still hanging from their hooks, and the numbered cubbies that were used to organize the mail. Being inside that car was like stepping back in time! The caboose ride and the guided tour are truly unique experiences, that I highly recommend checking out with your family.
With the exception of the gift shop, the museum is all outdoors, so come prepared with sun protection and comfortable walking shoes. ITM’s season begins around the beginning of April with regular operations ending the last weekend in October. During the regular season, it is open to the public only on Saturdays and Sundays. Normal hours on Saturday are from 10am to 5pm. Sundays the grounds are open from 10:30am to 4pm.
Admission to the grounds is $3 for ages 13 years and older, and $2 for children age 2 through 12 years of age. Children under 2 years old are free. Tickets for trains that board at the Indiana Train Museum have admission to the grounds built into the price.
Train ride ticket pricing varies based on which train you wish to ride. The short caboose rides are as low as $5, while the longer Dinner in the Diner Car with its four-course meal is $70 per person when it operates. The calendar of events contains links to train dates and prices.
The Indiana Transportation Museum is a non-profit heritage railroad, which operates a variety of excursions along 38 miles of former Nickel Plate Road line. ITM’s mission is to preserve and showcase Indiana’s railroad history by offering trips throughout the year using their vintage railroad equipment. The museum strives to inspire generations through the art, science and technological innovation of the railroad.
825 Park Drive