HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) – The fight over the future of the Nickel Plate Rail Line in Hamilton County has moved to federal court with a filing by the Indiana Transportation Museum.
The non-profit organization operated transportation for the Indiana State Fair on the tracks in Hamilton and Marion counties as well as a holiday event called “The Polar Express” until suspended by the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority in March 2016.
In the 16 months since the suspension, various proposals have been discussed over the future of the tracks including interest by the cities of Fishers and Noblesville to turn them into a multi-use trail.
On Monday, the ITM announced it filed a request for a federal restraining order against the Port Authority, which oversees the railroad.
According to the museum, the filing was meant to stop the Port Authority from destroying the rail tracks, evicting the ITM from its headquarters and granting new operation to another organization.
If granted, the order would also rescind the original suspension and allow operation on the line to start immediately.
“This litigation is the last thing we wanted to do, but the Authority and the owners – the cities of Noblesville, Fishers and Hamilton County- left us with no options if we want to continue and grow the legacy of historic railroads in central Indiana,” museum board chairman John McNichols said. “If successful, we could have the State Fair Train up and running to serve the families and children who love the Fair Train by the start of the 2017 Indiana State Fair.”
A message was left for comment from the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority.