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Not the end of the line for a Nickel Plate caboose

Tom Jackson • May 15, 2014 at 10:10 AM

The Friends of Harbour Town Inc. have apparently found the right person to help the group move a historic railroad caboose back to Vermilion.

It’s the guy who has a caboose in his backyard.

“That’s why they called me, I guess, because I already had done it before,” said Don Glass, 65, a Vermilion resident who is retired from the CSX railroad.

Glass worked for CSX as a train brakeman. He has an old B&O Railroad caboose in his backyard.

Diane Bailey Chesnut, executive director of The Friends of Harbour Town, said the group is going to bring in an old Nickel Plate railroad caboose.

The Meadowcroft Museum of Rural Life in Avela, Penn., didn’t want it anymore and was willing to donate it, she said.

William Powers, a railroad conductor from the area who now lives in North Carolina, phoned Chesnut to let her know the caboose was available.

The caboose spent 54 years running through Vermilion on the Buffalo-Chicago line. Chesnut, whose father owned a hardware store in Vermilion, remembers watching the trains go by.

“I always waited for that caboose at the end” she said.

The caboose will be next to a depot that’s also being restored. The depot is located at the southern set of tracks that cross Ohio 60 in Vermilion.

“We will have something of Vermilion’s heritage that we have retained and will restore for future generations” Chesnut said.

Young people will be able to see the beds the railroad men slept in and the potbellied stove they cooked in.

“The kids will see what was on the back of a train and will experience it” she said.

Friends of Harbour Town is raising $10,000 to cover the cost of moving the caboose to Vermilion and fixing it up. About $3,000 has been raised so far and donations are needed, Chesnut said.

Although the caboose that’s coming to town is different from the one Glass has at his house, he’s familiar with the type. He rode in a caboose just like the one that’s coming to Vermilion.

“I had an uncle who worked on the Nickel Plate. I used to ride with him on his caboose,” Glass said. “It’s the same kind of caboose. It’s a different number”

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