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Train station a symbol of volunteerism

May 28, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Train at Red Run Park in Washington Township east of Waynesboro is more than just a joy ride for youngsters and some adults, it's a symbol of volunteerism.

A toy train station serves the toy train, which runs around a 700-foot oval track pulled by an "engine" powered by a Model A Ford motor.

It took $30,000 worth of cash donations plus free labor and material to buy the train, lay the track, build the storage shed, or tunnel that houses the train, plus the gasoline storage shed that resembles an old-time train water tower.

The train station, which will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Saturday at the park, is worth nearly $40,000 in cash donations and donated materials and labor, said Charles L. Strausbaugh, chairman of the committee that brought the train to Red Run Park in 1994.

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Strausbaugh knows the train ran in Red Bridge Park in Chambersburg, Pa., in the late 1920s.

In 1942, it was bought by Robert Barnhart, who moved it to Cold Spring Park, a private park east of Waynesboro. In 1993, Strausbaugh visited the park, then run by the Antrim Faith Baptist Church, and saw the train peeking out of a storage shed.

Strausbaugh approached the Washington Township Supervisors about buying the train and moving it to Red Run Park, an idea they embraced.

A fund-raising drive was started. Dean Hebb, a local businessman, and his wife, Dorothy, donated $5,500 to buy the train. The committee, headed by Strausbaugh, raised another $30,000 in donations to fix it up, lay the track and build the storage shed/tunnel to house it.

The original engine was replaced by another Model A engine, Strausbaugh said.

Dale Seabrook, 71, of W. Eighth St., was a mechanic for a local Ford garage in Waynesboro in the early 1950s. He remembers rebuilding the engine in 1950 or 1951 when the train was still operating at Cold Spring Park.

"It was a four-cylinder. I rebuilt a lot of Model A engines," he said.

Seabrook said he was rarely asked to work on the engine after the train was moved to Red Run Park.

Strausbaugh said the station will also serve as a museum. Empy display cases inside are waiting for area residents to fill them with donated or loaned artifacts from Red Bridge and Cold Spring parks. Visitors will also be able to buy T-shirts, hats and other souvenirs at the station.

Volunteers are needed to run the station, handle sales and drive the train, he said.

The station will also hold the Wall of Honor - a list of everyone who contributed to the project over the years.

Between 1,300 and 1,500 people, mostly kids, ride the train each summer, he said.

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