By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
A caboose now sits outside the Yellow Barn at the Shenandoah Caverns, but it still requires a lot of work.
The rail car was transported there on Wednesday, along with some rails for an authentic look.
Shenandoah Caverns general manager Joe Proctor said the caboose was acquired from Mount Jackson.
"They had it in storage for some time, but found it was too large for the use they had in mind," he said. Before that, the rail car was in Berryville.
Proctor said the caboose was originally manufactured in the early 1970s, just before rail cars like it started dropping off. Cabooses were used to house railroad workers who lived on the train. Many of them came with small furnaces, kitchens and bunks.
The caboose that now sits at the caverns was likely used on the Northern & Western rail way.
Proctor pointed out that the rail car ties back to the caverns' early association with railroads and trains.
"The caves were right next to a railroad, and so there used to be a hotel here so that passengers could stay the night and visit," he said. "Trains are part of the reason the caverns were opened up to the public in the first place."
The caboose is one of many antique items at the caverns, and will have sign describing its history once renovation is complete. Photos will also be displayed of the caboose when it was in use. Proctor said work should start in the month of July, and he hopes it will be ready for use by the end of the year.
The renovated rail car will have a theme geared toward kids, as the space is expected to mostly house children's birthday parties and other special events. Some old fashioned soda fountain stools will be installed inside, and Proctor said in addition to a fresh coat of red paint, the outside will have more kid-friendly graphics.
"We found that the community is looking for an interesting venue for children," he said. "There's nothing like the caboose around at the moment."
For more information on the new venue, call the Shenandoah Caverns at 540-477-3115.