Noblesville investigates hazardous chemical spills at Indiana Transportation Museum


Photo provided by City of Noblesville

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NOBLESVILLE, Ind. – Noblesville announced today they are launching an investigation into hazardous chemical spills at the Indiana Transportation Museum.

The City of Noblesville and Noblesville Parks and Recreation Board told the museum they’re in “serious default” due to to unlawful handling of hazardous chemicals.

“Despite numerous efforts over the years to encourage ITM to address some housekeeping concerns they have allowed within their property, the Parks Board had no idea what hazardous conditions existed on the other side of the fence,” said Scott Noel, president of the Noblesville Parks and Recreation board of directors. “We are disappointed that ITM has violated the terms of its lease with the Parks Board and by allowing their carelessness to endanger one of the greatest assets in the City of Noblesville – Forest Park.”

An inspection found the museum was storing chemicals outside. The containers were leaking and there were ground stains of oils, grease, diesel fuel and other products and chemicals used for the maintenance of the museum’s former railroad operations, which it has leased since the 1990s.

The city asked the museum to clean up the issues within 60 days. Then they have three months to find a way to permanently remove the contamination.

The board chair of the museum, John McNichols, issued the following statement regarding the investigation:

“The pronouncement by the City of Noblesville and the Noblesville Parks Department about alleged environmental issues at the Indiana Transportation Museum site comes to us as a complete surprise. It is significant that Mayor Ditsler’s office cancelled a meeting scheduled for this morning (Wednesday, 5/31) with new ITM leaders where this could have been discussed and resolved. We were not aware of their concerns until the city’s news release and we have not been contacted by city officials.”

“This is another example of local political leaders’ unwillingness to work with the ITM and its new leadership to resolve differences. This latest release is simply another trumped up charge to reduce the significant public outcry against the cities of Fishers and Noblesville to rip up the rails.

“The ITM has been in Forest Park since 1990. The site is a maintenance facility for vintage locomotives and other railroad historic artifacts. Museum maintenance personnel store and handle fuels and lube oils in the maintenance and operation of equipment. There are no known violations on the park property. To the best of our knowledge there have been no violations or complaints registered with IDEM. ITM pledges full cooperation with IDEM and their contractors to resolve any issues. Our new ITM management and staff will be addressing possible ground contamination issues with Hamilton County and IDEM to establish a plan to resolve any issues.”

“The Indianapolis Transportation Museum continues to believe in the economic and historic benefits of the Museum’s Nickel Plate trains and the entertainment, dreams and memories they offer. Our trains, crews and track have been certified by the Federal Railroad Administration and we continue to be bewildered at the opposition local leaders have to a true community asset.”

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