Caboose unveiled at Railroad Heritage Days

June 13, 2004|By PEPPER BALLARD


A historian at work, 14-year-old Gregory Dahbura filled in a sketch of the Chesapeake Bay with more blue chalk as he finished a large drawing of Maryland and its railroads on the pavement outside the Hagerstown Roundhouse Museum Saturday.

The freehand drawing, a colorful geographical outline of the state, showed each "current" railroad line that runs through it. He said he draws the map every year for the annual Railroad Heritage Days, which was held Saturday - and will continue today - at the Burhans Boulevard museum.

"A few things since last year have changed," said Gregory, his hands chalked in pink and blue, as he moved his sneaker over the Washington area. A line from Brandywine to Indian Head, Gregory said matter-of-factly, is "rumored to be a rails to trails line." His father, Tony Dahbura, explained that "rails to trails" is something at which his railroad enthusiast son scoffs.


Gregory's drawing was not the only colorful marker at the event.

A bright red-painted caboose, hailing the celebration of the B&O Railroad's 175th anniversary last year, was unveiled early Saturday, the work of Dwight Jones, a Columbus, Ohio, man, who has written nine books on caboose cars.

"I never dreamed the caboose would be on public display," said Jones, who said it was "very, very gratifying" to see the blue tarp fall off the 1980-era caboose. The anniversary caboose is headed to the B&O Railroad museum in Baltimore this November for its year-late 175th anniversary celebration, he said. The roof to the museum collapsed under a heavy February snowstorm last year, which destroyed antiques and delayed the party, Jones said.

Smaller versions of cabooses and freight engines were running on display in a 30-foot-by-30-foot diorama on the second floor of the museum. The display, said museum president Bob Tracey, was donated by the Gaithersburg (Md.) Railroad Association and depicts Maryland landscapes such as Point of Rocks and Thomas Viaduct. The large diorama, he said, had to be brought into the museum through a removed window on the second floor.

Tracey, who said that the Heritage Days are a big weekend for the museum, said the history of the railroad industry should be touted more often.

"We're very fortunate that we're still a railroad town," he said.

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