By Joseph Pratt
A Wheelersburg local has requested ownership of the Norfolk and Western Caboose, which is owned by Porter Township and sits on the lot attached to the Porter Township firehouse.
Local resident Russell Porter submitted his formal proposal to the Porter Township Trustees on their June 16, 2014, regularly scheduled meeting and the proposal is currently being reviewed by the township’s attorney.
“I’ve always been interested in the caboose and it seems that it isn’t well utilized where it currently is, so I approached them, seeing if they would be interested in allowing me to move it,” Porter explained.
The proposal carries five bulleted goals of the interested party.
Firstly, the acceptance of all responsibility of the caboose and have is safely moved to a suitable location within Wheelersburg at the expense of Russell Porter. Secondly, a promise to have the caboose sandblasted, repainted and preserved. Third, a plan of action for cleaning and restoring the interior of the caboose, with the goal of having it turned into a private museum with an extensive Norfolk and Western memorabilia collection, purchased from a former NW employee. Fourth, the addition of a guest house being added to the caboose, which would sit on the Ohio River for NW Railroad enthusiasts. The museum and guesthouse would be a member of the Norfolk and Western Historical Society of Roanoke, Virginia; and Fifth, is a proposal to clean-up and restore the current location of the caboose to its former condition.
“The caboose is currently a liability to Porter Township and is subject to vandalism and in a declining condition,” the proposal reads,” Also, keep in mind that the wood rail ties on which the caboose currently sits are deteriorating and will need removed and replaced in the near future.”
Porter said that the caboose would not leave Porter Township and he would never sale it to another interested party. He explained that his only interest is keeping it in good condition and utilizing it in a manner that is as beneficial to the area as much as possible.
“It would stay here. I want it to be something people can visit as a museum by appointment, but I don’t plan on selling it or doing anything else but restoring it to a better condition,” Porter said. “I want it to stay in Wheelersburg and Porter Township and make it more available to the public. I think it would be a nice attraction to the area.”
The outside of the caboose has minor cosmetic issues with paint and broken windows, but Porter said that after a tour of the inside, it isn’t in too bad of condition.
“It actually isn’t in too bad of shape right now. It needs to be cleaned up, sandblasted and painted, but the inside is pretty original. There are a few minor things but missing, but it is in pretty much original condition overall.”
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.