Phase I of construction begins for railroad attraction

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Headwaters Junction Inc. has begun Phase I of its developing a regional railroad attraction just north of Promenade Park, on Cass Street.

The project has been in the making for more than 10 years.

“It’s over a decade of working with the community, with consultants with the city,” said Kelly Lynch, Executive Director of the project. “What we have… our attractions and a plan that will bring people to the riverfront year round with your family, something to do. It really will be incredible and it’s time we start showing people some progress.”

Phase I of construction includes relocating a railroad depot that was constructed in 1879 and originally located on the Nickel Plate Railroad in Craigville, Indiana. It then relocated to New Haven in the late 1970s and was acquired by Headwaters Junction in 2018.

Once that’s completed, it will have an ice cream and coffee shop, as well as displays and exhibits related to the Headwaters Junction effort.

The depot will also be accompanied by a vintage rail passenger car, renovated for use as a lounge car that will be available for private events, and for eventual use on tourist railroad excursions and events.

Kelly said he expects this attraction to draw in a wide variety of people.

“It’s a lot like going to a baseball game apart from field, you don’t have to love baseball, or love trains in this case, to be intrigued by the environment, to have a drink or enjoy an ice cream aboard a historic train,” said Kelly. “There’s something characteristic atmospheric romantic about these machines, and these environments and what’s really great is that they’re all authentic to the northeast Indiana region.”

The project’s later phases will include a rail-yard park, hands-on interceptive facility, and operating tourist railroad near the riverfront.

According to Kelly, the renovation and restoration of the depot and lounge car are almost finished.

The site construction at Cass Street is scheduled to begin later this year and will wrap up in October of 2022.

More information can be found here.

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