Posts Tagged ‘Headwaters Junction’

Fort Wayne Rail Park Likely to Open in August

May 7, 2022

A railroad theme park in Fort Wayne is expected to open in August.

Headwaters Junction is expected to eventually be the home of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765, which is owned by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

The park will be located on the north side of the St. Marys River across from Promenade Park.

One rail car has been delivered to the site, which is still under development, with a second car expected to arrive next week.

Don Steininger, chairman of the Headwaters Junction Committee, said those two cars will be the first phase of the development.

 “This is the starting point of what headwaters junction can be. The question is what is phase two going to be? We don’t know yet. We know we’re working on it. We know there will be one,” Steininger said.

Headwaters Jct. Work Expected to Begin Later This Year

May 21, 2021

Work is expected to get underway this year to build the Headwaters Junction museum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, that is expected to become the new home of Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

A former NKP depot is expected to be placed in the park, which will be situated in downtown Fort Wayne.

The depot and a passenger car initially will form the core of an eventual railroad-themed museum and event complex. 

“After many years of developing the overall vision for Headwaters Junction and winning meaningful public support along the way, we’re excited to finally be in a position to show very visible progress. This Phase I development will compliment Promenade Park and enhance the riverfront experience,” said Executive Director Kelly Lynch.

Built in 1879, the depot once stood in Craigville, Indiana, and was moved to New Haven, Indiana, in the 1970s.

Headwaters Junction acquired it in 2018 and plans to restore it with funding from the Shields Family Trust.

The passenger car at Headwaters Junction will be a former U.S. Army car built in 1953 and used for a time by Amtrak.

The car was donated by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which is a partner in the Headwaters Junction project. Renovation of the car is being funded by Don and Kathy Steininger.

Development of the first phase of Headwaters Junction is being expected to be completed in 2022.

Funding is being provided by a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne’s Riverfront Fund and $15,000 from the Journal Gazette Foundation.

Proposed Ft. Wayne Rail Park Needs New Location

July 15, 2020

A proposed railroad museum and park in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, is still being discussed but it apparently will have a different location than originally planned.

The park, known as Headwaters Junction, is being supported by the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765.

The restored steam locomotive is expected to be a centerpiece of the park.

Headwaters Junction had planned to located on property owned by Norfolk Southern on the north side of the St. Mary’s River.

Instead, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission will acquire that 7.5-acre parcel for $520,000 to further is Riverfront Fort Wayne project.

The latter involves public spaces and private development. Headwaters Junction agreed to transfer to the Commission its purchase agreement while locating at a different site in downtown Fort Wayne.

The proposed new site for the railroad park has not been divulged but it is unlikely to be along the riverfront.

The Commission plans to reimburse Headwaters Junction $127,000 for an earnest payment and due diligence that is preformed regarding the purchase of the land.

Commission Director Nancy Townsend said during a recent meeting of the group,“Headwaters Junction still has plans and will still occur.”

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but we’re not doing it alone,” Headwaters Junction Executive Director Kelly Lynch said.

In a statement, Headwaters Junction said it will continue to work with the city.

The statement also said the park is still expected to include a recreated rail yard, roundhouse and tourist railroad.

Interurban Car to Operate at Headwaters Junction

October 5, 2019

A traction museum plans to locate in the Headwaters Junction development in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Hoosier Heartland Trolley Company said it will operate interurban car No. 429 at the park featuring railroad history and culture.

No. 429, which was named Noblesville, is a former Union Traction Company and Indiana Railroad interurban car built by St. Louis Car Company in 1925.

It operated to Fort Wayne during the 1920s and 1930s. It had been part of the collection of the Indiana Transportation Museum before it was evicted from its site in Noblesville last year.

A sister car, No. 437, named Marion, was also part of the ITM collection.

In the meantime, Hoosier Heartland is raising money to restore No. 429 to operating condition through its “Electrify 429” Fundraising Campaign.

Cameron Nichols, Hoosier Heartland’s vice president, told Trains magazine that volunteers in the restoration process are seeking to acquire parts and conduct an inventory of existing fixtures.

They are also working to restore the interior lighting and wiring and conducting cosmetic work on the car’s smoking section, including a faux wood grain finish.

Nichols said next year work is expected to begin on a mechanical restoration of the car, which is expected to be in operating condition within about two years.

Headwaters Junction is in part an endeavor of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns Nickel Plate Road 2-8-4 No. 765 and plans to keep it there.

The park has been described as a recreated vintage rail yard and a city park, as well as an “area with operating vintage trains, annual programs, events, excursions and more.”

Car 429 is expected to operate over a one-mile U-shaped track.

Hoosier Heartland said its still plans to create its own site to operate No. 429 and other equipment that it owns.

Group Submits Bid for Rail Tourism Project

September 1, 2018

An artist’s rendering of Headwaters Junction.

A Minnesota real estate company is making a bid to develop the Headwaters Junction rail theme venue in Fort Wayne, Indiana, which will become the permanent home of Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765

Continental Property Group submitted the only proposal that satisfied the city’s vision of the project.

The city will decide by late this year whether to accept the proposal, which calls for developing Headwaters Junction on the site of a former New York Central now owned by the city.

Kelly Lynch, the executive director of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, said Headwaters Junction will be a rail tourism site featuring a roundhouse, interpretative displays, meeting space, and mixed use space for restaurants and retail businesses.

Continental also has proposed other mixed-used development in downtown Fort Wayne.

FtWRHS has raised $1 million in donations and conducted a feasibility that said Headwaters Junction could generate as much as $60 million in economic impact on a $15 million to $20 million investment.

NKP 765 is currently housed in a pole barn in nearby New Haven, Indiana.

Overseeing the Headwaters Junction project is a board of directors whose members include local leaders and rail preservationists.

FtWRHS to Acquire Another NKP Steamer

November 15, 2016

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society plans to move Nickel Plate Road No. 624 from Hammond to Fort Wayne, Indiana.

nkpThe 2-8-2 Mikado-type steamer is owned by the city of Hammond and will have a new home in the Headwaters Junction complex that the FtWRHS is building.

No. 624 will need cosmetic restoration to return it to its appearance when it was operational.

It is not clear yet if the 624 will be restored to operating condition.

Details Released About Proposed Headwaters Junction Rail Themed Park in Fort Wayne

August 20, 2016

Fort Wayne officials held a ceremony on Friday to show conceptual drawings and release details about the development of the proposed Headwaters Junction railroad theme park.

The park will be located in downtown Fort Wayne along the St. Mary’s River.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyTaking part in the ceremonies was newly renumbered Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 767, which is actually NKP 765.

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, which owns the 765, is a major partner in the development of Headwaters Junction.

Officials smashed a bottle of champagne against the pilot of No. 767 at the headquarters and shops of the FtWRHS.

Headwaters Junction is expected to cost between $14 million and $18-million and will be created in three phases.

Once complete, the park is expected to attract 120,000 visitors annually.

Drawings done by Design Collaborative show a mixed-use facility with a roundhouse and turntable for NKP 765, a 1940s-inspired restaurant and a narrow-gauge tourist railroad line between Headwaters Junction and the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Among the events expected to be held at the park are holiday tourist train rides, a rail camp for children and young adults, visits by Thomas the Tank Engine and the Polar Express, interactive displays, educational programming, and visits of historic railroad equipment.

The three development phases and their estimated cost are:

• Construction of a 15- to 24-inch gauge railroad to the zoo ($3-5 million).

• Acquisition of land and right-of-way and construction of the railroad facilities for NKP 765 ($3-4 million).

• Construction of the roundhouse and interpretive facility ($8-9 million).

The FtWRHS held an open house on Friday that included showing NKP 767 operating under steam on a short track leading out of the shop. Visitors also could take short caboose rides.

Fundraising for the Headwaters Junction will be getting underway shortly with officials currently preparing grant applications.

FtWRHS Gets Grant for Headwaters Jct. Project

March 28, 2016

The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society announced recently that the Clarence L. and Edith B. Schust Foundation has donated $35,000 toward development of the planned Headwaters Junction project.

Fort Wayne Railroad Historical SocietyThe money from the Schust Foundation will be used for development, research and study work for the proposed riverfront attraction in downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana, which will feature Nickel Plate Road steam locomotive No. 765.

Plans are for Headwaters Junction to have a railroad yard and to offer tourist train programs and events on a recreated rail line. Thus far the society has raised $76,000 for the project.

Stone Consulting has been hired to make an initial feasibility and economic impact study for Headwaters Junction.

That report is expected to be finished n April and to be followed by additional engineering, design and property acquisition work.

FtWRHS Gets Grant for Marketing Study

July 9, 2015

Steel Dynamics has donated $15,000 to the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society to use for a marketing and feasibility study for Headwaters Junction, a project to move the organization to downtown Fort Wayne.

The rest of the cost of the study, which is expected to cost $70,000, will be covered by grants and private donations.

Headwaters Junction would offer popular attractions, annual events, programming, excursion trains and an interpretive facility. Officials think that it could draw up to 200,000 additional visitors annually to downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“We are very grateful to Steel Dynamics for helping us kick off the project,” said Kelly Lynch, Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society communications director. “The community has steadily come to understand the worldwide appeal of the 765 and its operations.

Having this train is a lot like having one of the last living dinosaurs and the Polar Express all wrapped up into one.”

SWA Group, a landscape and architecture firm, consulted with the city in 2014 to develop a viable riverfront plan.

Earlier this year, the SWA Group described the Headwaters Junction proposal as having the potential to revive the neighborhood and riverfront area of downtown Fort Wayne.

NKP 765 Would Get New Home in Riverfront Development Being Planned in Fort Wayne

February 6, 2015

An architect's rendering of the proposed Headwaters Junction to be built in Fort Wayne, Ind.

An architect’s rendering of the proposed Headwaters Junction to be built in Fort Wayne, Ind.

A roundhouse that will house Nickel Plate Road No. 765 is a focal point of a downtown development project in Fort Wayne, Ind.

The city plans to develop 700 acres of riverfront land for a development that will include a railroad tourist attraction to be name Headwaters Junction.

Headwaters Junction will feature the collection of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

The plans for Headwaters Junction to incorporate a recreated roundhouse, a turntable, a small railroad yard, and various interpretive facilities for display and exhibition. The site will also have a mixed use venue for private and public events.

Passengers would be able to board excursions, tour the facilities and participate in hands-on activities at the site.

Educational programs targeting young adults will be offered, allowing high school students the opportunity to learn welding and preservation skills, as well as experience working on a railroad.

“The 765 and the railroad tourism industry provides a very unique kind of emotional experience for visitors and passengers. Trains are a romantic, sensory attraction,” said Kelly Lynch, communications director for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society.

An adjoining railroad right-of-way would be used for tourist train service and such annual operations as dinner trains, Polar Express trips, and other events throughout the year.

Mainline rail excursions behind the 765 would depart from the location at Harrison Street.

Headwaters Junction will also feature other historic railroad locomotives and equipment, including another steam locomotive. Society officials expect some of this equipment will also operate in excursion service.

City officials are projecting that the site could generate at least 100,000 additional visitors downtown and an estimated economic impact of $9 million  from operations and out-of-town visitors each year. Comparable attractions see anywhere from 100,000 to 400,000 visitors each year.

The riverfront development project cost is estimated at $200 million with development of Headwaters Junction costing $10-20 million, depending on the final scope of the project.

Planners envision seeking public-private partnerships to help fund the project.

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