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Caboose on new track

A caboose traditionally marks the end of the train, but one recently found itself at the start of something new, thanks to a donation from the Boy Scouts of America.

The Las Vegas Area Council of the Scouts recently gave a former Union Pacific caboose to the railroad in Boulder City. On Saturday, Nov. 6, the council and Friends of Southern Nevada Railway Inc. made the donation official with a special ceremony.

“We have it,” said Scott Dam, president of Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway, the volunteer organization which supports the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City. “We’re figuring out the next steps. … There’s a lot of possibilities.”

The caboose had been at the Kimball Scout Reservation on Mt. Potosi near Las Vegas. According to Dam, it was built in 1967 and had been used by Union Pacific and the U.S. Air Force until it was retired and donated to the Scouts. It had been at Kimball Scout Reservation since 1991.

“We’re so glad it worked out this way,” said Todd Walter, Scout executive and CEO for the Las Vegas Council.

Walter said the reservation isn’t currently in use and programs there are in the process of being changed. To make those changes, the caboose and equipment that were no longer needed had to be moved.

“It wasn’t in use,” he said. “It was more of a visual feature at the camp.”

Dam said the caboose has been painted since 1991 but nothing mechanical has been done to it so it doesn’t run. He said the organization is working to figure out the best way to renovate it. One option is to upgrade it and get it running. It could also be kept in its original condition but fixed mechanically so it can run.

“Visitors can see it,” he said. “It’s behind the fence in the storage yard. … At some time in the future we expect it to be operational and the public will be able to tour it.”

To thank the Scouts, the Friends of the Nevada Southern Railway donated $2,500 to the Las Vegas Area Council. Walter said that money will be used for fees and other expenses for disadvantaged youth who want to participate in Scouts.

Since the caboose is not operational, Dam said it had to be brought to Boulder City by a truck and a crane. He said Dave Dieleman of Dielco Crane Service donated those services.

“None of this would have happened without that donation to get it here,” he added.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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