Norfolk & Western Railway Caboose, Abingdon, Virginia
Posted by: PersonsMD
N 36° 42.466 W 081° 58.836
17S E 412416 N 4062902
Quick Description: Norfolk & Western Railway Caboose 555091 type C-32p one of 100 manufactured in August 1976 by the International railway Car Company of Kenton, Ohio. Restored in 2009 now stands proudly in the Abingdon, Virginia Depot Square.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 11/6/2010 9:42:57 AM
Waymark Code: WMA2FN
There are two plaques posted near the caboose. The test of the first plaque reads:
“Norfolk & Western railway Caboose 555091 2009 restoration project. Project coordinators, Charles W. Seaver; John “Pete” Montague; the Crew: Carmen Blevins; Charles Dolpp; Robert “Bob” Horsch, MD; Robert “Bob” Howard; Gregory Kelly; Nancy Leasure; Town of Abingdon; Public Works Department; Building & Fire Departments; Local businesses; Abingdon Glass & Mirror; Jerry’s Signs; Ratcliff Auto body Shop; Contributors of supplies and equipment; Paint and painting supplies; Dr. Susan Humphreys; Rick Humphreys and Council member Lois Humphreys in momory of George H. Humphreys and family who had over 210 years of railway service. Exterior light; Kenneth Fannon; Building Stencil; Kenneth L. Miller.”
The text of the second plaque reads:
“Norfolk & Western Railway Caboose – Type C-32P. We the council of the town of Abingdon, Virginia herby dedicate the Depot Square Norfolk & Western Caboose and Plaza upon which it rests to Lois Hagy Humphreys who served as a member of the town council from July 1, 1988 to June 30, 2010, during which time she served as the town’s first female Mayor from 1998 to 2008. Mrs. Humphreys was instrumental in the town’s acquisition of the Caboose through a donation to the town from the Norfolk & Southern Rail Corporation. The Humphreys family has over 210 combined railroad service and much of the restoration of the Caboose was funded by the family, in memory of George H. Humphreys. Abingdon town council Edward b. Morgan, Mayor; Cathy C. Lowe, Council Member; Gregory W. Kelly, town Manager; Dr. F.H. Moore, Jr. Vice Mayor; Jason N. Berry, Council Member; Cecile M. Rosenbaum, town Clerk; dedicated the 3rd day of June, 2010.”
The following is cited from the December 7, 2009 meeting minutes of the town of Abingdon’s city council meeting:
A RESOLUTION OF THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF ABINGDON, VIRGINIA REGARDING THE PRESERVATION OF THE NORFOLK AND WESTERN RAILWAY C-32P CABOOSE #555091 AT DEPOT SQUARE
WHEREAS, the preservation of the former Norfolk and Western Railway C-32P caboose number 555091 now featured as a major focal point at Depot Square in the Town of Abingdon, has been substantially completed, as a direct result of certain dedicated individuals and organizations whose community service efforts have been a tremendous benefit to the Town of
WHEREAS, the Town of Abingdon and the Norfolk Southern Railway and its predecessors have had a long association with each other to their mutual benefit, beginning with the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad, which connected Abingdon with the cities of Bristol and Lynchburg as of 1 October 1856; and WHEREAS, the Town of Abingdon would like to gratefully acknowledge the donation of the aforesaid caboose to the Town of Abingdon by the Norfolk Southern Railway and the Norfolk Southern Corporation; and
WHEREAS, this caboose was built in August of 1976 by the International Railway Car Company of Kenton, Ohio as part of the last caboose order that the Norfolk and Western Railway would ever place, and part of the last order of cabooses built by the International Railway Car Company, and served the N&W and its successors until its retirement and subsequent donation to the Town of Abingdon; and
WHEREAS, the preservation of this caboose was coordinated and supervised by two local area
residents, Mr. John “Pete” Montague and Mr. Charles W. Seaver whose knowledge, expertise and guidance has lead to the impeccable restoration of the caboose to its original historic specifications; and
WHEREAS, Mr. Montague and Mr. Seaver were assisted by a number of dedicated individuals and organizations, including Carmen Blevins, Charles Dolpp, Robert Horsch, Robert Howard, Gregory Kelly, Nancy Leasure and the Town’s Public Works, Building and Fire departments; and
WHEREAS, Abingdon Glass & Mirror, Jerry’s Signs and the Ratcliff Auto Body Shop also assisted in the preservation efforts through replacing windows, lettering the car body and the painting of the undercarriage, respectively; and
WHEREAS, the materials for the painting of the caboose were provided by Dr. Susan B. Humphreys, Rick Humphreys and former Town of Abingdon Mayor and current Council member Lois Humphreys, in memory of George H. Humphreys, five of his sons and one son-in law, who had a collective one hundred and ninety-one years’ service with the Norfolk and Western Railway and the Norfolk Southern Railway; and 201 December 7, 2009 W
HEREAS, a marker light for the caboose was provided by Kenneth Fannon; and
WHEREAS, the builder’s stencil and other similar materials were provided by Kenneth L. Miller; and
WHEREAS, the restoration of this caboose contributes to the aesthetic appeal and historic significance of the Town’s Depot Square project, thereby serving as a benefit to all those who visit the Arts Depot and the Historical Society of Washington County; and
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE TOWN OF ABINGDON, VIRGNIA that it recognizes and commends the efforts of the aforementioned individuals and organizations in their efforts to acquire and restore Norfolk and Western Railway C-32P caboose #555091 for public display as a visible symbol of our railway heritage and municipal history. On motion of Mr. Berry, seconded by Mrs. Lowe, the Council approved the Resolution regarding the preservation of the Norfolk and Western Railway C-32p Caboose #555091 at Depot Square as presented.
The roll call vote was as follows:
Mr. Berry Aye
Mrs. Lowe Aye
Mrs. Humphreys Aye
Dr. Moore Aye
Mayor Morgan Aye
The motion carried.
The following was cited from: the April 2010 edition of the “HRHS News” (National Railway Historical Soricety)
Restored N&W caboose on display in Abingdon’s Depot Square By CHARLES SEAVER
(Editor’s note: The author and John “Pete” Montague were coordinators of the Abingdon caboose project. Seaver is past president of the Historical Society of Washington County, Va., which is located in the former Norfolk & Western passenger depot in Abingdon).
In March 2007, Norfolk Southern donated Class C-32P caboose No. 555091 to the Town of Abingdon, Va. The caboose was soon moved from Roanoke, Va., to Bristol, Tenn., and was later placed on a siding in Abingdon. In November 2008, it was transferred by crane to its present site in Depot Square, between the former N&W passenger and freight stations.
The caboose was built in September 1976 by the International Car Company of Kenton, Ohio at a cost of $45,000. It was one of 100 Class C-32Ps built for the N&W by International Car. Although of the latest design, the C-32Ps were plagued by propane fires and explosions, with a dozen damaged or destroyed.
Restoration plans started soon after the caboose arrived in Abingdon. The goal was to restore the caboose to its 1976 appearance as closely as possible. The restoration was a cooperative effort involving the Town of Abingdon, a few dedicated volunteers, some local businesses and
some people who helped by contributing vital parts and supplies.
Unlike some cabooses abandoned to rust and neglect, No. 555091 has received “top level” attention from the town. Abingdon’s former mayor, now a council member, was instrumental in obtaining the caboose from Norfolk Southern. The town manager and the former deputy mayor contributed some heavy duty effort on some very hot days by wire-brushing and priming the roof and most of the flat exterior surfaces.
The exposed site, cost considerations, and capabilities of our small work team limited what we could realistically do in terms of preparation and the type of paint used. Thus, sandblasting and the spraying of automotive paint (DuPont Imron) was deemed impractical in this case. In the end, angle grinders with stiff wire brushes were used on all of the flat exterior surfaces. Except for the roof, there was minimal rust and scale to remove.
Sherwin-Williams’ oil-based industrial-marine products were used on the exterior and interior. Two coats of Sherwin-Williams, Corothane I (safety red) were rolled and brushed over Sherwin-Williams grey or red oxide primer. Three town employees (who are also professional painters) applied the exterior paint. A local auto body shop sprayed the trucks and undercarriage, and a sign company made and applied decals for the logos and other exterior signage, with volunteers applying signage.
All of the glass was pulverized when the caboose arrived in Abingdon. We did not attempt to replace the FRA 223 standard glass, but used a thinner version that was impact resistant. A local glass company did this work.
The interior of the caboose required as much, if not more effort than the exterior. Vagrants had lived in the cabin until the town locked it down. The walls and ceilings hosted a collection of 33 years of coal dust and diesel exhaust residue. A steam jenny didn’t make a noticeable dent in the grime. After some experimentation, we found “Blue Wolf” degreaser would do the trick. The cleaner was sprayed undiluted on the walls, misted with water, and wiped. The result was immediate and dramatic. About 10 gallons of “Blue Wolf” was required.
With the exception of fluorescent lights, we tried to restore the original interior and exterior appearance. The interior now has updated lighting and several outlets that
will be useful for events the town may sponsor in the future involving the caboose.
We were fortunate to find a “like new” marker light to replace one that had been totally destroyed, and a new lock set to replace one that was missing. In addition to the fluorescent lights, the original lights now work, including the four corner markers, the conductor’s desk lamp, the two main markers, and the tell-tale light over the air pressure gauge.
Annually the Washington County Chamber of Commerce designs a Christmas ornament depicting some local pictorial icon. The
2009 ornament featured the caboose and the old freight station.
Early in December, the Abingdon Town Council adopted a resolution that recognized the people and organizations taking part in the restoration. A sign will be placed to identify the participants, and an information board will provide details about the cab itself.
One task remains. We need to attach the consolidated stencil (builders and maintenance slab). I have a couple of authentic stencils found in Roanoke, but it’s too cold to put them on now.
Type Of Caboose: Cupola, "Standard"
Please visit the location of the caboose, brake van, or guard van, provide visit details through photo or narrative.