The Indiana Transportation Museum will kick off its 2011 season on National Train Day, Saturday, May 7.  On Sunday of its opening weekend, the Museum will run its annual, La Bella Donna, or beautiful woman train in honor of Mother’s Day.

“The 2011 season is sure to be our best yet,” said ITM’s Visitor Services Manager Sarah Ferguson, “We now have 23 named trains, up from 19 in 2010. Our variety of family friendly event trains and festival trains provides something for everyone.”

National Train Day festivities on May 7 include free admission to the open-air railroad museum in Forest Park as well as discounted fare for The Great Towns Train, with a donation of a non-perishable food item to benefit the Hamilton County food pantries. One donated item will be $1 off a round-trip ticket, and any person donating a grocery bag full of items will receive one free round-trip ticket to use that day.

The Great Towns Train, which will run throughout the day on May 7, is one of the first of more than 200 train rides scheduled for 2011. The revamped schedule now includes two round-trip trains that will make stops in Noblesville, Arcadia and Tipton; allowing riders to spend the afternoon exploring the town of their choice. The northbound departures will be from the Noblesville station in Forest Park at 9:45 a.m. and 1:45 p.m.; Noblesville round trip time is two and a half hours. Southbound departures will be from the Tipton station, 311 E. Jefferson, at 11:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.; Tipton round trip time is three hours and forty minutes.

Visitors to ITM on Train Day are also welcome to attend a volunteer open house hosted by ITM’s Rail Operations Department. Held on the museum grounds from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., this is a great opportunity to learn about the duties of coach attendants, brakemen, conductors as well as electrical/mechanical and locomotive engineers.

The Sunday La Bella Donna train will depart from the Forest Park Train Station for a buffet lunch for moms and their families at The Elks Club in Tipton. This is a reservation only event. Fares for this train are $16 round-trip for adults (13 and older), $10 for children 2-12. The price of the buffet is $8 for adults and $4 for children 2-11, children under 2 are free. All food proceeds from La Bella Donna will go to the Elks Cancer Fund.

Other excursion trains for the season include: Caboose Train on First Fridays, Forest Park Sunday Caboose, Dinner in the Diner, The Hamiltonian, Pizza Plus Express and Dinner or a Movie. Many festival trains are scheduled too: Arcadia Mayfest, Cicero Fireworks Train in July and Tipton Porkfest and Atlanta New Earth Festival in September.

About National Train Day:
Coordinated by Amtrak, National Train Day is a coast-coast celebration of America’s love of trains. This day commemorates the “golden spike” that created the transcontinental railroad 142 years ago. For more information, visit www.nationaltrainday.com.

About ITM:
Indiana Transportation Museum is an Indiana not-for-profit corporation, incorporated in 1960. The open-air museum is a total visitor experience – providing the full context of a mid-20th century railroad through structures, stations, tracks, bridges, shops and train excursions. The knowledge and passion provided by volunteers and staff of ITM bring these objects to life, making each visit an educational and entertaining step back in history. The outdoor museum is located at Forest Park, 701 Cicero Road Noblesville, IN 46060 .

Visit www.ITM.org for museum hours, train schedules and to purchase tickets. For additional information email info@ITM.org or call (317)-773-6000 .