Caboose arrives at Norge Depot

amayfield@vagazette.com

JAMES CITY — Norge Depot buzzed with excitement as a dozen people waited in the parking lot for the arrival of a red, 90-year-old Georgia Railroad caboose.

Members of the Norge Depot Association checked their watches as they counted down the minutes to the train's arrival, which was scheduled for noon on Thursday.

The caboose arrived at the depot around 1:45 p.m. It was a little late, but right on time for those who have anticipated it for the past several years.

"We are delighted," said Phil Brooks, a train enthusiast and member of the Fords Colony Model Railroad Club. "We searched the country for a good caboose."

The caboose's arrival marked the first train to come to the station in 46 years, said association president Chris Hamilton.

Norge Depot, originally located on Peach Street when it was built in 1907, was once the center of life in Norge, association member William Fox said.

The railroad's arrival to the area in 1881 created opportunity for good, cheap farmland, and a surge of Norwegian people moved to the area and coined it Norge, Fox said.

The depot closed in 1969, but some in the Norge community can still remember the sound of trains pulling into the station.

Norge Depot was abandoned and set to be demolished until the association — spearheaded by local Francis Hamilton — worked to have the building moved next door to the James City County Library in 2006.

The depot was declared a historic landmark in 2009 and renovated and reopened as a museum in 2013.

Association members worked for nine years to move a caboose to the museum on Croaker Road. The Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents donated the Georgia Railroad caboose to the association in August 2014.

Cranemasters, a Richmond-based company, volunteered to move it the 30-mile distance for free, association treasurer Jack Fitzpatrick said.

The association plans to refurbish the 1925 train car to its former glory, and open it as a tourist attraction, Fox said.

Repairs are going to take a lot of work and money, according to association members.

Despite having a fresh coat of red paint on one side, the inside is still in disrepair. Lead paint must be removed, and broken windows need to be patched, Hamilton said.

"It's the iconic representation of trains," said Richard Feller, a member of the Fords Colony Model Railroad Club.

Mayfield can be reached at 757-298-5828.

See the Caboose

To see a photos and video of the move to Norge Depot, visit vagazette.com.

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