Roots and rails run deep in this story from Belt Magazine covering Kelly Lynch’s efforts to revitalize Fort Wayne by way of a train:
Kelly Lynch’s roots run along a set of railroad tracks in northeast Indiana. One of his earliest memories is in the cab of Steam Locomotive no. 765 with his father, Dan.
“The engine was hanging out in New Haven; it was late at night,” he recalled. “I was in kindergarten, and the engine was under steam. I remember standing in the cab, 3 feet tall or whatever, and wanting to blow the whistle.”
It was a few minutes after 7 a.m. in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Lynch sat across the table from me at Klemm’s Café, a blue-collar diner where everybody enters through the side door. You can’t smoke in there anymore, but it was the kind of place that felt like you should. He wore navy-blue coveralls over a black hooded sweatshirt — he had train business to attend to later in the day — and paused occasionally, mid-sentence, to take a bite of bacon.
I first met Lynch 5 years ago when he was teaching a course on film production at a local university. He was a fast-talking filmmaker with a burning love for trains and enough energy to power, well, a locomotive. He talks somewhat slower now, but the fire is still there.