Historic Nickel Plate Road Rail Line Damaged in Tanker Explosion, Rapid Transit Plan Derailed

The October 22 explosion of a propane tanker truck on the I-465 and I-69 freeways in Indianapolis has wreaked havoc on more than the freeway commuters’ travel plans. Some 200 feet of the Historic Nickel Plate Road Rail and 160 ties were damaged by the destructive blast. The rail line is under the care of the Indiana Transportation Museum, run by a group of volunteers who maintain working locomotives from days gone by and offers short runs to the Indiana State Fairgrounds, taking visitors to the Indiana State Fair in the Circle City, as well as other notable cities in Indiana.

Video about the Nickel Plate Road and the Indiana Transportation Museum with fascinating locomotive footage.


Ralph Bell, from the Indiana Transportation Museum, said that they will file a claim with the appropriate insurance companies, to fund reconstruction of the tracks. The Indiana Department of transportation is also in the process of filling out forms for reimbursement of extensive road repair to the major Indy freeways.

The Nickel Plate Road line is slated to become part of a light rail line running from Noblesville to the Indianapolis downtown sector and back. Though the tanker’s explosion caused enough damage to constitute a setback in these plans, they had already been stopped in the 2009 General Assembly. Rapid transit advocates will renew their efforts to obtain funding from Indiana state legislators next year. It remains to be seen whether plans for the new light rail line system connecting Noblesville, Fishers and downtown Indianapolis will remain derailed in 2010.

Read about the freeway closures caused by the I-465 propane tanker explosion and see a video inside the Fun City Finder news pages.