Thronteeska Heritage Center train collection adding combination rail car

Jul 15, 2015

By Jim Hendricks, Albany Herald

ALBANY — Motorists on North Washington Street got an early peek Wednesday morning of the newest addition to the Thronateeska Heritage Center — a newly restored combination passenger/baggage train car that arrived from St. Louis via Savannah.

Tommy Gregors, executive director of Thronateeska, said two cranes were used to place the 60-foot, 40-ton rail car on the tracks at the heritage center and museum.

“It just got shipped over,” Gregors said Wednesday afternoon. “We had it over in Savannah getting it restored.”

The wooden car will become part of Thronateeska’s train collection, which closed to public access Thursday while the car is added and the collection is reconfigured. A reopening date has not been set yet.

Gregors said the car from the early 1900s was given to Thronateeska by the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis and was restored by Coastal Heritage Society in Savannah. The project is being paid for through Special-Purpose Local-Option Sales Tax IV and VI funds.

“The car’s not from here,” Gregors said, “but it’s is a car that would have been used in the area.”

Gregors said the newly acquired car was used on smaller rail lines in which fewer passengers would be expected.

“It’s a combination car,” he said. “It is both a passenger and a baggage car. It’s the type that was used by some of the smaller rail lines that wouldn’t have had a full (passenger) car.”

Thronateeska’s Union Station at the end of Roosevelt Avenue already has a locomotive and other rail cars in its railroad collection, which Gregors said is being rearranged with the addition of the combination car. One of the current rail cars also houses its popular HO-scale model railway exhibit, which is in partnership with the Flint River Model Rail Road Club.

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