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Caboose No. 5759

Caboose No. 5759

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Securing a Seaboard Caboose for Abbeille was a project started Miss Jane Harrison a number of years ago. Cab No. 5759 was one of the last two available when Franklin Pursley was able to secure it for Abbeville. Caboose No. 5759 was recently moved to the Abbeville County Historical Society Headquarters at the McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House in Abbeville. The exterior of the Caboose has recently been refurbished thanks to the volunteer work of local residents.

Caboose No. 5759 – Home at Last

On December 3, 2013, Caboose No. 5759 took its final journey from the Abbeville Depot to the Abbeville County Historical Society Headquarters at The McGowan-Barksdale-Bundy House. This caboose was first presented to the ACHS on Friday, May 6, 1994, having made its journey from Jacksonville, Florida where it had been restored. The caboose was given to the ACHS by CSX Railroad and Franklin Pursley. The caboose was built in August 1963 and served at the end of a freight train. It is significant to Abbeville because Abbeville Conductors and Flagmen rode this caboose between Atlanta and Hamlet during 1963-67.

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Caboose No. 5759 went through a restoration process in Jacksonville, Florida before its presentation to the ACHS in 1994. Franklin Pursley had it located and refurbished in February and March of 1994 in preparation for its presentation to the Abbeville County Historical Society. Thirty-five (35) board members and other dignitaries rode the train bringing it into Abbeville in grand style.

When the caboose was presented Pursley made the statement that , “This is an ultramodern caboose.” It featured electrical work and lights and even had toilet facilities. The caboose is a massive steel superstructure which absorbed much of the normal shock action.

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Retired railroad enthusiasts, Harry Pursley (on ladder), Thomas “Cotton” Ferguson (on top of caboose), and Franklin Pursley (standing in front of caboose) are three of the eleven retired men from CSX who worked for over two weeks pressure washing, sanding, and repainting the caboose.

The caboose has quite a history to go along with it. From1963 to 1997 it worked in turn-around freight service for Seaboard Airline Railroad between Richmond, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia. In 1967, Seaboard Airline and Atlantic Coastline Railroad merged and became Seaboard Coastline Railroad System. Caboose No. 5759 services then extended as far south as Miami, FL.

Another merger took place in 1980 as Seaboard Coastline and Louisville & Nashville Railroad merged. Caboose 5759 services were again extended. This time the services of the caboose went as far north as Chicago, Illinois; and St. Louis, Missouri; Memphis, Tennessee, and New Orleans, Louisiana to the west.

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On April 2, 2014: Tom Howie works on stenciling the caboose while Franklin Pursley provides moral support.

Services were extended again when another merger between Seaboard Coastline, Louisville & Nashville and Chessie Railroad merged. This time the caboose travels included Richmond, Virginia; to Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cincinnati, Ohio.

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April 2014: Several railroad retirees worked on restoration of the caboose, including Gus Crawford (shown in the photo above), a retiree of CSX Railroad who helped repaint the caboose.

R. J. Corman Derailment services were in charge of moving the caboose from the Depot to the McGowan, Barksdale, Bundy House – headquarters of Abbeville County Historical Society. CSX Railroad graciously provided for all costs in moving the caboose. Many local citizens placed an important role as the caboose was moved – Abbeville Presbyterian Church – Brad Evans; City of Abbeville – Tim Baker, Billy Hughes, Tim Hall; West Carolina Tel – Mark Crawford, Mark Hagan; Abbeville Police Dept.; Abbeville Fire Dept.; Abbeville First Baptist – Brandon Wilson; Abbeville Historical Society – Bob Speer, Jenny Kelly, Frances Lewis and Jackie Campbell.

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Work continues around caboose as George Thomas and his crew prepare area for concrete to be poured.

ACHS Board Member, Frances Lewis, declared that Caboose No. 5759 is “Home At Last.” The caboose will be permanently on display at the McGowan, Barksdale, Bundy House. It is a museum in itself and will be used to provide educational opportunities for area school children. The caboose will stand as a reminder to our older citizens and tourists alike what it was like to see a red caboose at the end of a train. Younger citizens will see what the older generation is talking about when they speak of The Red Caboose.

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David Orr of Jacksonville, FL, retired from CSX, and also a railroad enthusiast, provided ACHS with the photo above of Caboose No. 5759 while it was in service with the railroad.

 

Copyright © 2015 Abbeville County Historical Society | Website Development: Shawn M. Knox Images