Historic interurban No. 429 to operate at Headwaters Junction in Fort Wayne

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Cameron Nichols

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Hoosier Heartland Trolley Co.

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Historic streetcar operator eyes opportunities at Headwaters Junction

Historic interurban No. 429 to operate at Headwaters Junction in Fort Wayne

FORT WAYNE, IND. - Tuesday, October 1, 2019 - Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company and Headwaters Junction, Inc. announced today their intent to operate the Company’s historic interurban railway equipment as a part of Headwaters Junction’s growing fleet of attractions. 

Known primarily as a riverfront destination inspired by the city’s industrious railroad history, Headwaters Junction intends to use a restored interurban car, Union Traction no. 429, named “Noblesville” on its proposed tourist railroad line, enabling passengers to ride between different points of interest along the riverfront and near downtown. The 429 once frequented Fort Wayne in the 1920s and 30s, shuttling passengers throughout the state in the era before the highway system.

“As our project gets closer to fruition, it’s important that our operating, moving attractions are not only culturally relevant to Fort Wayne, but enable us to host visitors and connect them to the city in a unique and special way,” explained Kelly Lynch, Executive Director of Headwaters Junction.

“So many people identify Headwaters Junction as just the future home of our restored and operating 1940s steam locomotive no. 765, but the project will also host a fleet of colorful attractions that will help drive tourism and activity along the riverfront.”

“Hoosier Heartland’s primary mission is to spark the imaginations of people of all ages and learn about the art, science and culture of our Indiana history. Headwaters Junction is the perfect match for our efforts to bring these streetcars back to life,” explains Austin Mace, President of the Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company.

Mace adds, “Having an outreach location at Headwaters Junction is a monumental first step in helping bring the story of Indiana’s electric railway history to life as we continue developing our plans for a permanent home in the state for the rest of the collection.”

The restoration of 429 is slated to take place over the next 36-48 months and funded primarily by private donations. Headwaters Junction recently announced a purchase agreement for nearly a mile of historic right-of-way between Harrison and Polk Street and while a final location for the project is yet-to-be-determined, Junction advocates are working closely with the city and its consultants on a location of best fit. 

Northeast Indiana used to be home to one of the largest interurban networks in the Midwest — a series of railroad passenger lines operated by streetcars, trolleys and “interurbans” that were the highway system of the early 20th Century. The Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company was formed in 2018 to provide a strategic plan and home for numerous pieces of interurban equipment salvaged from a closed railroad museum operation in Central Indiana.

Headwaters Junction conceptual layout - 2019.  Headwaters Junction, Inc.

Headwaters Junction conceptual layout - 2019. Headwaters Junction, Inc.

About Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company - The Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company was founded in 2018 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 to experience the art, science, culture, technology and economic empowerment of Indiana’s world-renowned electric railway industry from the 20th century. More information regarding preservation efforts, news, and development into a world-class electric heritage railway can be found at hoosiertrolley.org.

About Headwaters Junction, Inc. - Headwaters Junction is a mixed-use cultural attraction concept combining river, rail, and trail development along Fort Wayne’s riverfront adopted into the Fort Wayne riverfront plan in 2014. Featuring a recreated railyard and city park inspired by city history, Headwaters Junction will activate the area with operating vintage trains, annual programs, events, excursions and more. At the center of the concept is a proven magnet attraction: a world-famous vintage train bolstering tourism and foot traffic in the retail, restaurant, residential, recreation, and entertainment businesses. Partnered with a popular trail network, new riverfront development and river access, the combination of river, rail, and trail attractions will help make the city’s riverfront a vibrant and vital addition to the Fort Wayne experience. The project has been designed and developed by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, a local non-profit organization and Lynchpin Creative. More information can be found at https://headwatersjunction.com/.

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