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Noblesville mom buys train to entertain kids during COVID-19 pandemic

Ashlin Hadden was looking for a way to entertain her kids during the coronavirus pandemic, so she bought a train! Now, she's giving free rides to kids and parents.

Meet Noblesville mom Ashlin Hadden, who's quickly becoming known as “The Train Lady."

“I bought a 20-year-old Italian train,” Hadden, the mother of two, said. “Our train is from a North Dakota zoo.” 

Why does a person buy a train?

“My kids were tired of being cooped up in the house with this whole COVID situation,” Hadden said. “They really wanted something fun to do.”

So, she got online, did some haggling and bought her family a train. 

Now, Hadden is giving free train rides to kids in neighborhoods all over Noblesville. 

“We're using it to bring some smiles to our community,” she said. “I started here in my neighborhood with our kids, and we were just driving it around, and one of the people stopped from a senior living home and was like, ‘Hey, I really want this for my seniors, could you bring it to me?’ Then, another neighborhood reached out, and another neighborhood reached out. Now we're doing a monthly ride!”

Credit: WTHR
Future rides aboard the "Ashlin Express" will be during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and every month after that.

Hadden's train is heading to the following Noblesville neighborhoods Saturday, Sept. 19 to celebrate "National Talk Like a Pirate Day" — with each kid receiving a free eye patch:

  • Brighton Knoll: Noon-1:30 p.m.
  • Waterman Farm: 2-4 p.m. 
  • Chapel Woods: 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

“I am the mom of the year,” Hadden jokingly said. “I was at school the other day, and one of my son's fellow students came over and said, ‘You are the mom with that train ride!’ and I was like ‘Yeah, we're the ones with the train!’”

Hadden said all COVID-19 precautions are in place while aboard the train. They’re wearing masks, wiping everything down after every ride and distancing riders in the seats. 

The "Ashlin Express" is an example of the global pandemic bringing out the best in fellow Hoosiers. 

“This would never have happened if COVID didn't come along,” Hadden said. “We were just stuck in the house and tired of being stuck in the house, so we wanted to find a way to bring some smiles to the kids around the neighborhood.”

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Future rides will be during Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and every month after that. She hopes to expand her kiddie train rides to neighborhoods all over central Indiana.  

“I’m committed to being the ‘Train Lady,'" Hadden said.

Click here for information on how to get the Ashlin Express to come to your neighborhood.