Friday, February 22, 2013

Depot Park Train Gets A Brand New Look

Prepare for big changes in the train’s accessibility.

Restoration of Old Steam Locomotive #12 in Depot Park is nearly complete, but the train’s new iron work and fresh paint aren’t the only changes for park goers.

For years, visitors to the area have had free access to the locomotive, despite its age and historical value – but not any longer.

Behind Lock And Key

The Railroad House Historical Association, owner of Locomotive #12, plans to protect the train in an effort to minimize wear-and-tear and preserve the engine for another hundred years.

Along with repairing and repainting the engine, the City of Sanford has installed a new fence around the train that will remain locked except for occasional, pre-arranged, and supervised learning experiences.

The Association wants to make the train an educational exhibit and tourist attraction, similar to how prized historical train engines and cars are used in other communities.

“We know that protecting the train in this way may ruffle some feathers, but we have to keep everyone’s best interests in mind,” explains Woody Seymour with the Association. “We’ve seen children on top of the train, under the tender, and everywhere in between. That’s just not safe,” Seymour says.

Educational Exhibit Only

Not only does heavy use pose a risk for the public, it’s really hard on the train, which is 102 years old and was given to the Association by the Atlantic and Western Railway as a historic and cultural landmark. In addition to the work already completed, the train still needs more welding and a screen replacement.

“This train is the most visible part of our history as a railroad town and we need to protect it,” Seymour points out.

However, Locomotive #12 will not be completely off-limits to visitors. The Railroad House plans to open the fence for guided educational tours to educate the public about Sanford’s rail history on special pre-arranged occasions.

“Our goal is to slow, if not stop, natural erosion as well as the damage caused by the public,” Seymour asserts. “We hope that everyone will join us in making sure this landmark survives for the next generation.”

“The train is a great asset to the park as it is a major draw for young and old alike. Hopefully the steps that the Association and the City have taken will enable the train to be enjoyed for many future generations,” says David Montgomery, director of Downtown Sanford, Inc.

Get Involved

The City of Sanford and the Railroad House Historic Association would love to work with community groups, churches, and businesses to erect more play features at the park. For more information about this opportunity, contact Downtown Sanford, Inc. at 919-775-8332 or

Any groups interested in scheduling a supervised, educational tour when the train is ready can contact the Association at 919-776-7479.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's good that they are doing that. I never let my young child play in there because it always has sharp metal pieces sticking out everywhere. Also, teens and adults go in there at night and leave their mess for young kids to see during the day (if you know what I mean).