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FISHERS, Ind.--Finding a way to make the Nickel Plate Railroad exist with a trail is why “Save the Nickel Plate” and the “Hoosier Rails-to-Trails Council” are privately funding a vision study to see if that’s possible. 

It’s an alternative to the trail-only concept proposed by the City of Fishers. The study is being done by Jacobs, an internationally-recognized expert in infrastructure analysis and development. 

“Since we cannot count on elected officials to provide taxpayers with a fair analysis, Save the Nickel Plate partnered with other entities to commission its own study,” said Ty Mendenhall, Save the Nickel Plate president. “We look forward to comparing the conclusions of our study with the one published by Fishers.” 

In 2017, Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County representatives announced they wanted to convert part of the Nickel Plate Railroad into a walking trail. 

“Save the Nickel Plate” filed a lawsuit in 2018 asking a judge to acknowledge the councils in Fishers, Noblesville, and Hamilton County violated the state’s open doors laws when they made their decision. 

Representatives from Jacobs will speak at a community meeting tonight at 6 at the Roy G. Holland Memorial Park Building (1 Park Drive) in Fishers. Community input will be taken and put in the final report. 

Proponents of the rail-with-trail concept say this has worked in other cities and this study will explore how this approach could be applied to the Nickel Plate Railroad. It will be published in late spring of 2019. 

The New York, Chicago, and St. Louis Railroad Company was most commonly known as the Nickel Plate Road (NKP). Starting as a single rail line in 1881, the NKP eventually expanded into a vast rail network connecting much of the Midwest. Today, portions of the original NKP route are still in use, while other portions have been removed or are at risk of destruction. 

(PHOTO: IStock/Gyn9038)