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Fair Train Operator Threatens Lawsuit to Get Train Back on Track

Museum contends safety concerns which put the brakes on train last year are groundless

The Indiana State Fair train didn't run last year. Now its longtime operator plans to sue to bring it back.

The Indiana Transportation Museum runs the train from Fishers to the fairgrounds, as well as the Christmastime "Polar Express." But the Noblesville-based Hoosier Heritage Port Authority owns the track. The two trains didn't run last year because the authority declared the train was unsafe. Museum board chairman John McNichols says that contradicts a safety certification from the Federal Railroad Administration. He accuses Hamilton County and the cities of Fishers and Noblesville of wanting to use the rail corridor for something else, and violating due process rights in preventing the train from running

The museum has filed a required notice it intends to sue for the half-million dollars in lost ticket sales. McNichols says the museum still hopes to have the train approved to run in time for the fair in August, but accuses the county of responding with "indifference and opposition. 

The port authority has issued a request for proposals from new operators. The museum contends that request includes specifications that would be impossible for anyone to meet, and a scoring system for evaluating bids that's entirely subjective.

(Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)

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