It’s been 25 years since the arrival of a locomotive at the Mint Festival prompted the Miami County Steam Locomotive Association to reform under the name “The Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum.” In 1988, the Chesapeake & Ohio 2789 steam locomotive was put on display for Mint Festival patrons after its recent arrival in North Judson from Peru, and the association decided to move to the end of what was once the Erie-Lackawanna railroad tracks. The new location, near three other former railroads – the New York Central, Pennsylvania, and Chesapeake & Ohio – featured no buildings, very little track, and a lone phone sitting on a cinder block next to the telephone pole.
Now, however, boasting nearly 300 members from around the world – including some of the original volunteers – the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum has numerous buildings, including a replica of a Chesapeake & Ohio railroad depot and Grasselli Tower from the East Chicago area, next to miles of rail laid by volunteers. More than 30 pieces of rolling stock are on display with various levels of preservation along with three switcher diesel engines. The museum also shows numerous historic photos commemorating the history of railroading in and around the town. A working steam tractor, blacksmith, and motor car rides will also be at the museum during the anniversary.
Come and join the celebration with a train ride through the countryside, riding along on a vintage caboose, commuter coach or an open-air car on a round trip beginning at the depot. Ten- and twenty-mile excursions are available, crossing the Kankakee River at English Lake, with fares beginning at just $5.
Purchase tickets in advance at www.hoosiervalley.org, or call the depot at (574) 896-3950 on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT.