A year ago it sat on a siding near the NF&G (CXS) shops in Rainelle, West Virginia, where it had sat for the last 20 years or more. Its paint dated from that time after the merger of the C&O with the B&O, but before the Chessie System merged with the Seaboard Coast Line to form the CSX. It was now railroad history and railroad surplus. The railroads no longer use cabooses since train crews have been reduced to two and they both ride on the engine. So there it sat rusting, waiting to be sent to the scrap yard or to become an ornament somewhere. This spring it was gone.
It now sits on a short section of track in a park next to the Rainelle Municipal Offices, a reminder of the role the railroad has played in the history of the city. Its fresh coat of paint was almost complete last week and it was already looking cheerful, anticipating the generations of children who will climb its steps to listen to stories of the city, the railroad, and of the Meadow River Lumber Company. I can't help being pleased with its new role.