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'Train man' John Long dies at 89

March 28, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN

He was known as a selfless, humble man who dedicated years to the Locomotive 202 Foundation and the Railroad Museum at City Park.

He was called the "train man" when he received the 2005 People's Choice Award from the Community Foundation of Washington County for his volunteer work.

John Edward Long, 89, of Hagerstown, died Sunday at Washington County Hospital.

"Generally, when you went out to the park, he was there showing people through the engine," said former Hagerstown Mayor William Breichner, who worked with Long for about 25 years.

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He established the Locomotive 202 Foundation in 1982 to fund the restoration of a 1912 Western Maryland Railroad Co. steam engine at City Park.

Long spent two decades refurbishing the engine.

"He was an incredibly dedicated and very low-key individual who wasn't the kind of person to (want his name out there)," Breichner said. "He was just happy to be able to work on the engine."

The Hagerstown Railroad Museum at City Park opened in May 2005 with the steam engine as its centerpiece.

Long, who was hired in 1982 as the city's train attendant, forfeited his salary to Hagerstown to help fund the museum - $2,772 annually.

According to Herald-Mail reports, Long eventually donated about $50,000 this way to the railroad museum.

Long was a recipient of the People's Choice Award in 2005.

"What impressed me was he was just so humble," said Brad Sell, Community Foundation executive director. "He didn't even want to come and get his award."

He said Long had a passion for his work with the steam engine and the museum.

"He gave time, money, commitment trying to pursue that and make it a really great resource for the City of Hagerstown," Sell said.

Niki Perini of Hagerstown nominated Long for the award. She took her two young boys, sometimes as often as three times each week, to the museum to see Long.

She said in November that Long would tell railroad stories and share the area's railroad history with anyone at the museum.

"He has created a small heaven filled with a train and a caboose in City Park," Perini said previously.

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