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kanawa... from Facebook Lee Hall Depot

Our Chessie System Caboose.

The C&O 904144 was built by Fruit Growers Express in June 1980. This is a C27A Bay Window style steel caboose. The caboose was donated by CSX Transportation to the Lee Hall Depot in July 2018. Our team of dedicated volunteers have resorted the caboose to its original appearance. Our next goal is to move the caboose to a display track next to the depot.

The caboose was then stored at Ft. Eustis until display area at the station was ready.

Thank you for this post. It's great someone donated the money to have the caboose painted and the Army let the station store the caboose on their property before it could be moved to the station for permanent display. I'm going to have to make a trip to Lee Hall from Richmond to take a look.

I've been reading the book Trackside Around Newport News by Gary Freidhaber and in it there is a chapter on the Fort Eustis Military Railroad complete with a track diagram and lots of pictures of Army steam and diesel power. Great read for anyone interested in the C&O/Chessie in and around Newport News.

Ken

@kanawha posted:

Thank you for this post. It's great someone donated the money to have the caboose painted and the Army let the station store the caboose on their property before it could be moved to the station for permanent display. I'm going to have to make a trip to Lee Hall from Richmond to take a look.

ken

It will be a couple of months before the caboose is "tour ready" for visitors according to the City's site director for LHD.  I'll post info when tours begin.

Also, there is a C&O "Kenawha" Northern steam locomotive and tender on static display in Newport News' Huntington Park.  It was donated in 1963 and as recently as 2015 there were newspaper reports about its planned move to Lee Hall Depot.  Too bad it won't happen.

And, you're welcome.

The relocation of the caboose had been announced in the City of Newport News daily newsletter with a blurb that it would leave Ft. Eustis and be installed at Lee Hall Depot between 10 am and 2 pm on the 19th.

Being new to NN, I knew zero about Ft. Eustis, but learned it housed the US Army Transportation Museum with a train display.  So that was my first stop once I got on base.

The folks at the museum knew nothing about the caboose or its move when asked and they mentioned the base repair shop.  Since I was already at the museum, I went ahead and visited the railway exhibits  figuring I'd have time if needed to visit the railway shops since it was 9:30.

While visiting the Museum's railway exhibits, I heard the switcher's horn as it was traversing the numerous grade crossings on the rail line that passes in front of the Museum with its Military Police escort.

I next saw the switcher and caboose idling on the passing siding adjacent to the CSX mainline as it waited for a regularly scheduled coal train to pass.  Once it had, the Army switcher pushed the caboose into position at the Depot for the lift.

Once delivered, the Army switcher departed to return to Ft. Eustis.

Once delivered, the riggers began work securing the caboose for the lift that would remove it from the mainline and place it on the display track.

PS:  For short video clips of the CSX coal train, see this thread; heavy enough to require two mid-train helpers.

Last edited by Pingman

I attended a celebration of the initial restoration of the Lee Hall station back in the early 80's when The Chessie Safety Express with Greenbrier 614 ran an excursion to Newport News. The station had been repainted from a solid white to its present colors. After that I remember an N scale club had a layout in the freight section. The station deteriorated for years until CSX  planned to tear it down in the early 2010's. Fortunately the station was saved but had to be moved across to the other side of the mainline away from the tracks. Here's a short video of the move and you can see how bad shape it was in.

A longer video of the restored station outside and inside.

Ken

Can't tell you the absolute specifics, on dates but the Army 80 tonners were rebuilt completely at the rail shop at HIll SFB in Utah.  in the 1990s. 

Externally - end radiator grills added, roller bearings, event recorder drives, light package.  Mechanically - New 335HP engines, rebuilt major components, new electrical equipment, new wiring.

Cab - Everything including a new AAR control stand and including 26L air brakes.  Even new seats.

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