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Help Revive World-Renowned Hoosier History

We’re sparking imagination by restoring one of Indiana’s last, priceless interurbans to operation for future generations.

Explore this page or select a button below to learn about, as well as, engage with Electrify 429.

*As of May 13, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service has designated HHTC as a 501 (c)(3) public charity - making donations tax deductible within limits.

 

Why 429?

Moving, empowering and inspiring Hoosiers

It’s 1925

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- the world’s changing faster than the speed of light, the American economy is booming, and the State of Indiana is quickly developing industry, culture, and opportunity. You wait patiently at a small station shanty at a crossroads near your farm in rural Alexandria, Ind. - a small farming community between Muncie and Fort Wayne. You meet a younger gentleman named Rufus Thomas, eager for a brighter future, traveling to nearby Anderson, Ind. to attend high school - the first in his family to do so.

A brand new interurban (large, intercity trolley) rolls up to a rapid stop at your crossing - its shiny red paint, gold lettering, and green roof garner attention of the senses. It’s Union Traction Company of Indiana No. 429, named “Noblesville”, fresh from the factory in St. Louis. You climb aboard, greet the conductor, and sit upon a plush, green seat surrounded by faux wood-grain Mahogany walls, brown linoleum, warm lighting, and brass fixtures. The pleasant atmosphere puts you at ease as you cruise at upwards of 80mph towards Indianapolis across streams, rivers, and fields. Your fellow passengers in the nearby smoking section tip their hat towards you as they sip coffee and read the Wall Street Journal, cigar in-hand, lounging upon green, leather seats.

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You arrive in Indianapolis and exit at the famous traction terminal (the largest in the world for electric trains), at nine tracks wide and an office nine stories tall. You move about the busy trolley shed across multiple tracks - a terminal that serves 500 trolleys a day and moves more than seven million passengers per year. You exit the terminal onto Illinois Street and enjoy lunch on Monument Circle before a brief business meeting in a nearby office building. You later purchase your fare of one dime and re-board for the trip home, traveling on sister car to No. 429, No. 437 “Marion”, passing the Indiana Statehouse as other cars move around you bound for all corners of the state and beyond.

This is the legacy of Indiana’s electric railway story - our ancestors’ ordinary, yet extraordinary daily lives - people just like you. This is the power of Hoosier fortitude and ingenuity. Together, we’re working to revive our world-renowned electric railway history for future generations by bringing the last remaining interurbans and streetcars back to life along with the stories of their people - culminating in a world class, immersive electric heritage railway. With treasures like No. 429, we’re building a preservation and interpretive tourism asset like none other - telling real stories as well as providing real education, immersion, and transportation.

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As America pressed onward, the reign of the automobile and utility/transportation regulation by FDR brought the end of the interurban in 1941. This led to life as a gravel pit office followed by 40 years of dormancy tucked in the back of an Indiana museum for No. 429 - but, today, that changes. We dawn upon a new era as we embark on the journey to bring Union Traction No. 429 back to life - ending a slumber of nearly 80 years.

Together, we will tell the stories of our world-renowned electric railway heritage and our ancestors with the passion they deserve, and together, we will spark imagination.

Together, we will #Electrify429


So, what's the difference between and interurban and a streetcar? What are they?

An interurban, like No. 429,  was designed with comfort in mind for high-speed, long-distance travel between cities as well as the occasional movement of perishable goods, like flowers or milk, from farm-to-city.

A streetcar was designed to move people short distances intra-city from one point to another at lower speeds. One would typically take the streetcar to go shopping, go to work downtown, or visit a friend across town.

About the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company

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Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. was founded in 2018 as an Indiana nonprofit corporation to save the last remaining pieces of Indiana’s electric railway heritage. The organization exists to spark imagination in people across all walks of life through experiencing the art, science, culture, technology and economic empowerment of Indiana’s world-renowned electric railway industry from the 20th century. Read the full incorporation press release.

Our Mission

Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. exists to spark imagination in people of all ages by bringing all walks of life together to experience the art, science, culture, technology and economic empowerment of Indiana’s world-renowned electric railway industry from the 20th century.

OUR VISION

Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. is developing a world-class organization to preserve the legacy of Indiana’s electric railways and the people who made it possible. This will be an immersive experience that is educational, entertaining and authentic as a true mode of transportation.

project scope, timeline, and required capital

scope

overview

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Electrify 429 is expected to take a regular team of at least 10 personnel nearly five years to complete at a cost of approximately $450,000. Accomplishing this goal would place No. 429 in operational condition for its 100th birthday in 2025. Currently, No. 429 is stored at a private, sheltered site with other Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. trolleys on a long-term lease through the generosity of two supporting families. Eventually, No. 429 and the rest of the collection will be relocated to a permanent site in Central Indiana, once secured.

While the organization’s goal is to secure a permanent site with a site strategic plan by 2023, development work may expedite this goal’s completion prior to the completion of the project, as the organization is currently exploring multiple property options with various local entities. HHTC expects to relocate No. 429 near or upon completion to HHTC’s permanent home.

While a modest number of hours will be volunteer-based, volunteers with trade skills have been recruited to provide pro bono labor. As outlined, professional services will be contracted out for highly-skilled projects, such as motor rebuilds.

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Expertise

The following timeline and outline have been compiled through the consultation of various industry experts and outside parties. HHTC’s leadership team also possesses nearly 90 years of combined experience in the railway preservation field in addition to professional experience in marketing, education, emerging technology, new venture startup, and industrial equipment.

fundraising channels

Electrify 429’s fundraising plans call for an anticipated mix of public crowdsource funding, grants (including matching), and corporate donations / sponsorships. HHTC will engage the public through a number of incentives, programs, and updates throughout the course of the project.

Project timeline and projected capital requirements

The project will consist of four phases, which include:

Phase 1: Smoking Section (Summer 2019 - Fall 2019]

Estimated Capital Requirement: $5,000

Scope: Phase 1 will consist of a cosmetic restoration of the smoking section within No. 429. This 10-seat compartment was utilized for smoking passengers. This phase will demonstrate the capabilities of the team, as well as, the cultural, artistic, and industrial significance of the artifact. Phase 1 will include:

  • Repaired ceiling panels

  • New mahogany batten strips

  • New electrical wiring

  • Restored, original light fixtures

  • Reconditioned brass hardware

  • Sanding, priming, painting

  • Finishing of metal walls with faux mahogany wood-grain finish

Phase 2: Mechanical & Electrical [Fall 2019 - Fall 2021]

Estimated Capital Requirement: $300,000

Scope: Phase 2 will be the most time and capital-intensive phase of the project. Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. is consulting with several industry veterans, fellow electric railway operations across the United States, and professional vendors to complete this work. Being of niche expertise, several industrial electrical components will require the assistance of outside contractors and experts, which will also contribute to much of the cost.

Amongst the many projects of Phase 2, completion of an air brake system, new wheel-sets, truck rebuilds, and all-new industrial grade wire will allow No. 429 to function reliably as an immersive artifact for decades to come.

Phase 2 will include:

  • Rebuilt electric traction motors ($40,000 ea. x 4 units)

  • Rebuilt industrial electrical components (switches, control stand)

  • All-new industrial grade wiring ($50,000)

  • Rebuilt and re-plumbed air brake system (compressor, valves, plumbing, tanks, cylinder, and gauges)

  • Re-built trucks (metal housings that hold suspension, bearings, and wheels)

  • New wheel-sets

  • Bearing renewal

  • Coupler installation

  • Pole and base

  • Safety appliances

Phase 3: Structural & Roof [spring 2022 - summer 2022]

Estimated Capital Requirement: $40,000

Scope: Phase 3 will be a short-lived, but critical phase in comparison to the entire project scope. While No. 429 will be worked on and stored indoors, a secure canvas roof will be vital. While most of the poplar wood strips that make up the roof material are in solid condition, a few will need replaced prior to the preparation and installation of a new roof covering consisting of canvas, green paint, and linseed oil. Several vents also make up the roof system on trolley cars, which will be repaired and installed on No. 429. Additionally, medium-duty sheet metal repair consisting of welding and riveting around the bottom sill of a baggage compartment door will be required.

Phase 3 will include:

  • Light roof repair

  • Repair and installation of roof ventilation

  • Preparation and installation of roof canvas

  • Manufacturing and installation of rain guards

  • Medium-duty sheet steel repair around one of the baggage doors

Phase 4: Cosmetic [summer 2022 - fall 2023]

Estimated Capital Requirement: $80,000

Scope: Phase 4 will be the most visually progressive phase of the project, and such cosmetic phases are commonly referred to as “the icing on the cake”, or when the project visually culminates into the final product. Utilizing museum standards in accordance to the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co. Collections Policy, which call for authentic material sourcing and methods, care will be taken to return Union Traction No. 429 “Noblesville” to its as-delivered 1925 appearance from the St. Louis Car Company. The most laborious project of this phase will include the repair, adjustment, and upholstering of 27 green, plush fabric and leather seats.

Phase 4 will include:

  • Window replacement (safety glass)

  • Seat repair, adjustment, and upholstery ($1,000 ea. x 27 units)

  • Sanding, painting, and lettering (Union Traction Red with gold lettering, complemented by a green, canvas roof)

  • Repair to baggage racks

  • Restoration of original glass light fixtures

  • Replacement of mahogany batten strips

  • Repair of baggage and interior doors

  • Fabrication of loading steps, grab irons, and ladders

  • Repair of ceiling panels

  • Installation of brown linoleum flooring

  • Manufacturing and installation of window shades / select sash

  • Placement of period advertisements (see sponsorship opportunities)

Capital Contingency: $25,000

*Due to the unpredictable nature of restoration projects in railway preservation, market fluctuations, and the possibility for undiscovered obstacles, the team has factored a $25,000 contingency factor into the capital budget.

Total expected capital requirement: $450,000*

 

Ways to support electrify 429

Donate

You can spark the difference

Every dollar counts towards electrifying No. 429, so that we can spark imagination within generations regarding our world-renowned electric railway heritage for decades to come. Support Electrify 429 at any giving level with a general donation of your desire, or take your support to the next level and become an Electrify 429 Legacy Donor.

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Sponsor a major component of the Electrify 429 project or donate more than $100, and become an Electrify 429 Legacy Donor - honored with a place on the permanent Electrify 429 plaque as well as other perks.

Keep track of Electrify 429 component sponsorship progress here.

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General donation

Whether $5 or $42.90, every penny indicates your commitment to not only reviving our culturally-defining electric railway heritage, but your support of education, preservation, community place-making, and carrying the Hoosier story forward. Immersion and discovery are the true gateway to Sparking Imagination, and your donation will help make that a reality for future generations - our future. Donate today.

Donor Incentives:

  • Donations above $50 ,and inclusive of, the Electrify 429 Legacy Donor level will receive an Electrify 429 logo sticker. Use your sticker to show your pride for our world-renowned electric railway heritage on your laptop or water bottle.*

    The value of an Electrify 429 sticker is insignificant and should not affect the deductibility of your donation. As always, please consult with your tax professional if itemizing a deduction.

Donate to Electrify 429

Electrify 429 Legacy Donor

Let your mark on the Electrify 429 project be known by future generations. As an Electrify 429 Legacy Donor, any contribution $100 or above will entitle your or an honoree’s name to be inscribed upon the official Electrify 429 plaque that will be placed inside the car, once completed and dedicated. Once developed, the plaque will become a fixture of our permanent home.

Electrify 429 Legacy Donors will also be welcomed to Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company events and initial public offerings prior to the general public. We seek to build and foster long-term relationships in order to further the causes of historic preservation, railway heritage, education, and community development by reviving a snapshot of our world-renowned electric railway history.

Become an Electrify 429 Legacy Donor

Donor Incentives:*

  • Donations $100 and above will receive a limited edition, tri-blend Electrify 429 logo t-shirt and logo sticker.

  • Donations $200 and above will receive a sticker, t-shirt and a limited edition Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company streetcar token featuring our company logo.

  • Donations $429 and above will receive a sticker, t-shirt, limited edition HHTC streetcar token, and a limited edition Electrify 429 logo collector’s coin.

    The value of Electrify 429 donor incentives for donations $100 and above is insignificant in value and may affect the deductibility of your donation, per IRS guidelines. If itemizing a deduction, consult with your tax professional.

Unique 429 Legacy Donor Sponsorship Opportunities:

Sponsorship of specific No. 429 components listed below entitle you or your honoree to a higher level of recognition in return for your generous support. This will consist of all previously listed donor incentives, as well as, a specialized placement upon the official Electrify 429 plaque. Unique, memorable sponsorships available for individual donors include:

  • Light - $600

  • Seat - $1,000

  • Window - $500

  • Wheel-set - $10,000 - Get in Touch

  • Traction Motor (Propels the car) - $40,000 - Get in Touch

Are you an owner or member of leadership for a community-engaged business? Explore corporate sponsorship/partnership opportunities.

Volunteer

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We are seeking #Electrify429 volunteers from all walks of life whom:

  • Value teamwork

  • Treat others with honesty, dignity and respect

  • Have a passion for being stewards of priceless, historic public treasures such as No. 429

  • Enjoy building meaningful connections with the public and fellow team members alike

  • Strive for their best and never settle for less

  • And have fun at the same time

Bring the stories of Indiana’s world-renowned electric railway history back to life by helping to #Electrify429!

Learn more about our mission, our vision, and our core values. Explore the founding of HHTC and our goals.

Youth volunteers must be at least 16 years of age with parental permission.

Adult volunteers are classified as 18 years of age or older.

Corporate partnerships & sponsorships

Railway preservation touches the core of our legacy and identity as Hoosiers, and upholds social responsibility. By supporting projects like #Electrify429, your brand stands out with action and power through communicating your support for historic preservation, economic development, tourism, education, and furthering our world-renowned electric railway heritage.

The Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company has various tiers of sponsorship available to support our nonprofit mission at the organizational or project level. Options can be customized across our media to align your brand in return for your support. Support could entail a cash contribution, donated materials, or in-kind labor through professional services or a team volunteer day.

See where your organization could align by learning more about our mission, our vision, as well as, our core values and our goals.

History

Indiana Union Traction Company No. 429 - “Noblesville”

-An interurban built in 1925 by the St. Louis Car Company for rapid, electric railway travel to and from Indianapolis - connecting multiple Hoosier towns and cities to the largest electric railway terminal in the world.

Union Traction No. 429 “Noblesville” rests in orange Indiana Railroad paint near the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis in 1937, bound for Dayton, Ohio.  Photo property of the HHTC Collection.

Union Traction No. 429 “Noblesville” rests in orange Indiana Railroad paint near the Indiana Statehouse in Indianapolis in 1937, bound for Dayton, Ohio. Photo property of the HHTC Collection.

An Indiana Union Traction Company interurban identical to, or possibly, No. 429 under construction in St. Louis during 1925. Order No. 1344.  Washington University Archives

An Indiana Union Traction Company interurban identical to, or possibly, No. 429 under construction in St. Louis during 1925. Order No. 1344. Washington University Archives

No. 429 was built in 1925 by the St. Louis Car Company of St. Louis, MO as part of a 15-car order No. 1344. No. Operated by the Union Traction Company of Indiana from 1925 until 1930, when the Union Traction Company became a part of the Indiana Railroad, the car carried the name “Noblesville” for the town along the line, as did the other cars in the order. Focusing on steel cars to replace aging wooden cars, Union Traction had the cars designed for speed, safety, and long-haul durability. With a height of nearly 13 feet, a length of more than 60 feet, and weighing in at more than 90,000 pounds, cars like No. 429 captured the attention of all the senses.

A rare, original photo of the interior from Union Traction No. 428 “Tipton” - identical to No. 429 “Noblesville” at St. Louis Car Co.  Washington University Archives

A rare, original photo of the interior from Union Traction No. 428 “Tipton” - identical to No. 429 “Noblesville” at St. Louis Car Co. Washington University Archives

While part of Union Traction, the car was red with gold lettering and a green, canvas roof. The car operated on the Indiana Railroad from 1930 until 1940, with major rebuilds to one man operation (eliminating the need of a conductor in order to cut costs) occurring between 1935-6 at the former Union Traction Shops in Anderson, Ind. While on the Indiana Railroad, the car was painted orange with green lettering and a green, canvas roof. The car’s interior consisted of a baggage compartment, restroom, smoking section, and general seating section. The seating sections featured faux mahogany walls, green seats, and brown, linoleum floors.

Following retirement, the trolley body was relocated to the Atkinson and Company property located near 60th St. and Fall Creek Parkway in northeast Indianapolis as a gravel pit office. In 1964, the car was moved to the Indiana Transportation Museum in Noblesville, Ind. Days after arriving at ITM, the car had been repainted into Union Traction colors. An effort to rebuild the car into it’s as-built configuration continued in to the 1970s. By 1979, a photograph of the ITM site shows No. 429 outdoors with little, if any work being done to restore the car.

A builder’s photograph of Union Traction Company No. 428 “Tipton”, identical to No. 429 “Noblesville”, at St. Louis prior to delivery in 1925.   Washington University Archives

A builder’s photograph of Union Traction Company No. 428 “Tipton”, identical to No. 429 “Noblesville”, at St. Louis prior to delivery in 1925.

Washington University Archives

By 2018, the car had been moved indoors, enclosed behind a ‘wall’ of sorts, and largely forgotten for nearly 30 years on a disconnected panel of track. Following closure of the ITM site in Noblesville, HHTC founding members Jakob Stage and Austin Mace purchased the car. The car was acquired along with two additional interurbans and a streetcar, with three other individuals as part of the founding team. The car was then relocated to a privately-owned barn in October of 2018, where initial work to clean, document, and assess the car was performed.

View the original Electric Railway Journal article featuring St. Louis Car Co. Order No. 1344 and No. 429.

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The golden Years

Present day - reviving an icon of hoosier industry