Climb aboard to take a tour through Indiana history when the Bicentennial Train pulls in for a stop Thursday through Saturday at the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society's rail yard at 15808 Edgerton Road, east of New Haven.
The Fort Wayne rail society also will have its famous 1944 steam locomotive, Nickel Plate Road Engine No. 765, fired up and open for tours.
Hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. each day. Admission is free.
The Bicentennial Train is touring the state to help launch the four-year celebration leading up to the 200th anniversary of Indiana achieving statehood on Dec. 11, 1816. The train visited Kokomo in late September, and it will go to Valparaiso and Delphi within the next three weeks.
The train consists of a modern locomotive pulling three, 65-foot-long, former Amtrak freight cars remodeled to house “The Next Indiana” exhibit created by the Indiana Historical Society (IHS), a news release said. The exhibit focuses on four areas — transportation, land use, talent and community, it says on the IHS website, www.indianahistory.org.
Exhibits in the first rail car explore Indiana's history before 1900, including Native-American heritage, forming of the Northwest Territory, statehood and the remainder of the 1800s, the website says. The second car looks at Indiana in the 1900s, and the third rail car focuses on the state from 2000 into the future.
Visitors also can enjoy historical interpreter Kevin Stonerock portraying a character created just for the train, the website said. In addition, you can share ideas about Indiana's future with others in a community space and participate in fun educational activities, such as voting for your favorite Indiana innovation, designing a town flag, playing a map game and more.
A pop-up history market will be open for buying bicentennial-related items.
In addition, all visitors will receive a free pass to visit the “Indiana Experience” exhibit at the IHS's Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in Indianapolis.
Group reservations for the Bicentennial Train are available by calling 1-317- 232-1882, but space is limited.
Local volunteers also still are needed to help with the train's visit. Work shifts are 9 a.m.-noon, noon-3 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m.
For more information on the Bicentennial Train or to volunteer, call 1-317- 232-1882 or go to www.indianahistory.org.