BOONE, Iowa — In Boone on Wednesday the train came off the tracks. This derailment was planned to pluck three units from the tracks to haul by truck to a new location. The Boone Rotary Club decided to tackle a big project to mark it’s 100th Anniversary in Boone last year.
“Whole goal was to find a way to get back to the Boone community at the same time do you something that was memorable because Boone is a railroad town,” said Dave Cook, of the Boone Rotary. “People in Iowa know Boone for its railroad heritage we thought we could build a Welcome Train they would allow visitors to Boone something to remember.”
The group raised $175,000 to buy a former steam locomotive, a former coal tender, and a passenger car from the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad.
“So we’re actually in the process right now of raising additional $25-$30,000 because once equipment is out along Highway 30 we’re going to be basically building sidewalks,” said Cook. “So tourists and travelers will be able to walk around the train be able to get information about things they can do while they’re in Boone.”
The process to pluck the train from the tracks was a delicate one. Huge wreckers were used to lift the train cars, while air pressure and blocks were used to raised the locomotive to get it onto a trailer.
“Our first two challenges of many ways for so we had to find the train because the Boone and scenic Valley Railroad is home in Boone that’s where we started,” said Cook. “They have helped us throughout this entire process to not only find the train equipment with the help they’ve given us to guidance on how to refurbish it and how to move equipment like this as well.”
The train will be positioned like it is coming into Boone. It will have sidewalks and lights to visitors may stop and take pictures.
“I think it will be a very good thing for people who pass on Highway 30 to look at that, I mean we’re a railroad town, let’s show the people we are.” said Mike Garvey, who was observing all the work on the project.