WABASH, Ind. (WPTA 21) -- The Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society is working on restoring a Nickel Plate Road 624 steam locomotive that was originally built in 1922.
The train was retired and put on display in Hammond, Indiana in 1955 and was there until 2016 when the FWRHS, backed by a private donor, made a deal to move it to Wabash and begin work to restore it.
"A lot of people will ask 'Why? What's so important about a steam engine?' Walt Disney has a great quote that 'a modern train is just a train, but with a steam engine it's a happening," said Vice President of the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society, Kelly Lynch.
He says they plan to make it look like it originally did in 1922, and potentially restore it to be fully operational.
Then, it will most likely move to its new home, Headwaters Junction. It's the proposed re-created rail yard that was adopted as part of the city's riverfront development plan.
Lynch says then they can showcase it off to the world, like the FWRHS already does with their 765 steam locomotive.
"Having another steam locomotive like this is a lot like the zoo having a new and exotic animal," said Lynch.
They will use the 624 to help show off Fort Wayne's railroad history.
"Fort Wayne was a city where we built our own locomotives. You could get on a passenger train and reach any part of the country from the railroad stations here and the steam locomotive is sort of the greatest icon from that generation. Theses were the rocket ships of their day," said Lynch