Parked Rail Car Became Talk of Indiana Town

It seemed like a good idea at the time. An Indiana tourist railroad placed a vintage passenger car on an unused track in downtown Noblesville, Indiana, in part to publicize the launch of an excursion service.

But the city refused to allow them to place a banner on the car, so it sat on the rails for three weeks without anyone knowing why it was there.

“Everybody who comes in here asks about it, and I don’t know what to tell them except ‘It’s there, and it hasn’t moved,” said Rhonda Epp, 43, a bartender for 15 years at Syd’s Fine Foods and Spirits. “Last time I had so many questions about something was when some murderers were on trial across the street.”

The 1929 open window car will be used by the Nickel Plate Express, but the railroad didn’t have a place to put it so it wound up on the courthouse square  in Noblesville where the Nickel Plate Road’s Indianapolis-Michigan City branch ran in the street.

The car is not blocking vehicular traffic, said Dagny Zupin of the NKP Express.

“It’s a very high visibility area, so we are pretty confident nothing will happen to it there,” Zupin said.

The car was used by NKP executives as a business car at one time. It seats 16 passengers and has a kitchen, dining room and lounge room for business meetings, as well as private quarters for a porter and a cook.

Nickel Plate Express expects to start operating on Sept. 15 and the business car will eventually operate on its trains. It will be used for private parties, dinners and corporate meetings as the train shuttles between Atlanta and Cicero.

The car is owned by Indiana Boxcar Corporation.

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