Indiana Transportation Museum makes decision on ‘Polar Bear Express’ ride

In 2015, the Indiana Transportation Museum said nearly 11,000 people took the “Polar Bear Express.” (WISH photo)
In 2015, the Indiana Transportation Museum said nearly 11,000 people took the “Polar Bear Express.” (WISH photo)

FISHERS, Ind (WISH) – After 20 years, an annual Hamilton County holiday tradition won’t take place this year.

In 2015, the Indiana Transportation Museum said nearly 11,000 people took the “Polar Bear Express.” It’s a ride families look forward to each year.

“It’s always nice to see the surprise on a child’s face, especially like the younger children who still have that magic of Christmas,” Fishers resident, Stacey Craig said.

“Just quality time with cousins, and hot chocolate, and just a good around experience for all of us together,” Carmel resident, Hannah Brooks said.

But on Tuesday, the Indiana Transportation Museum told its volunteers, it won’t happen this year.

“It’ll definitely be missed,” Fishers resident, Vickie Fishman said. “It was crowded when we went, and it seemed like the next train was full as well. I think it’s been well attended, and I think that the families like it.”

This summer, Hoosier Heritage Port Authority members, and inspectors look for safety issues. (WISH Photo)
This summer, Hoosier Heritage Port Authority members, and inspectors look for safety issues. (WISH Photo)

Earlier this year, inspectors found safety issues. The Hoosier Heritage Port Authority owns the track. It told the museum to make improvements, or no train could run.

That prompted the end of the annual ride that brought people from Fishers to the Indiana State Fair in August. Since then, the museum says its worked to fix problems, but couldn’t before the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the Hoosier Heritage Port Authority told 24-Hour News 8, “everyone is working towards having train excursions again next year.”

The train may not arrive in Fishers, but the museum is still trying to put together a holiday experience at its Noblesville site, but some aren’t sure it’ll be the same without the ride.

“Noblesville isn’t that far away, but when you’re talking loading up the kids and going for a night out, it really is a big event,” Craig said.

“I think we’ll probably go just because we are retired, and we have the time and we have the kids so we will, but for a lot of families it was an outing,” Fishman said.

The details of a possible holiday event in Noblesville are still being worked out. Not running is not only disappointing to some families, but hurting the museum.

The group says it lost out on $700,000 by grounding the trains this year. The group hopes to have trains running by this spring.