February 2024- Let's Keep Rolling!

Thursday, February 1, 2024 11:09 AM

We are continuing to work on various projects at RailsWest. One of the bigger projects was finished just before the big snowstorm at the start of January so......just in time!  We had the Burlington Caboose winterized.  

First, they placed carpeting/padding along the sharp edges then wrapped the caboose, while leaving vent holes for air movement.  We do admit it's a very odd looking sight!  Thank you to David from Midwest Shrinkwrapping for getting on this project so quickly.

The Burlington Caboose was built in 1917 and ran west of the Missouri River on the mainline of CB&Q freight trains until 1957. This is a wooden cupola style caboose with a steel underframe built in Aurora, Illinois.

We are continuing to work on the preservation of this train car. We are planning to remove the broken and weather damaged wood and refurbish the exterior as it originally looked. The interior is still in good condition, and we look forward to having it open this summer to explore.


Thanks to Travel Iowa we had the opportunity to rewrap a trailer donated to us by the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association with a beautiful design by Vital Signs.  

Be on the lookout for this gorgeous trailer on its travels. 

Screenshot 2024-01-31 130008Screenshot 2024-01-31 125958

                                      Iowa Tourism grant logo                  ISSDA Badge

What's Happening Inside the Depot?

With the chilly weather keeping us indoors, we've been busy with exciting projects inside the depot. One of my personal favorites has been removing the shades in the ticket office and replacing them with UV protective film on the windows. This simple change not only opens up the ticket office but also gives us a breathtaking view of the trains passing by.

In addition, we've been diligently organizing the back rooms and setting up an office/archival processing space. Although much of our work is happening behind the scenes until the weather warms up, every task is a crucial piece of the puzzle as we prepare for the new displays. Designing the theme and ensuring everything fits together seamlessly may sound like a breeze, but it involves careful coordination of numerous moving parts to bring a new exhibit to life. That's where every helping hand counts!

We are always on the lookout for enthusiastic volunteers to assist with our various projects at both the Squirrel Cage Jail and RailsWest Museum. Sometimes we have grand-scale endeavors like the one we're currently tackling at RailsWest, while other times we have smaller yet equally important tasks to tackle, such as changing light bulbs.  We have over 100 just in the building let alone the train cars!

We specifically need assistance on the fourth Saturday of each month

from noon-4pm at the RailsWest Railroad Museum.  



Upcoming projects this year:

- Depot Work

- Railroad Days (September)

- Flashlight Tours (October)


Bonus Picture 

Our most recent visitor!