TOMBSTONE — In celebration of the first train to roll through Tombstone 118 years ago, the Tombstone Restoration Commission is hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony dedicated to a newly renovated Southern Pacific Railroad caboose.
The ribbon cutting is 1 p.m. Saturday behind the Tombstone City Library where Caboose 1057 is on display.
“The El Paso and Southwestern Railroad built a rail line that connected Fairbank to Tombstone in 1903,” said Tombstone Restoration Commission President Bob Ramirez. “On April 12, 1903 the first train came into Tombstone. The building that is now the city library was the train depot.”
The railroad continued to serve Tombstone until August 1960.
“Mayor Dusty Escapule rode the last train out of Tombstone,” Ramirez said.
Caboose 1057 was built by Southern Pacific Railroad in 1941 in Los Angeles. It was transported to Tombstone by Southern Pacific as a donation, Ramirez said.
Restoration work involved repainting the caboose, rebuilding the steps and rail leading into the caboose, as well as replacing rotted areas around the windows.
Ramirez, along with Restoration Commission Vice-President Jay Nenninger and commission member Robert Davenport have been working on the property in preparation for Saturday’s ribbon cutting ceremony where the public is welcome to step inside to see first-hand how rail crews.
“We’ve restored it back to its original condition,” said Davenport. “The City of Tombstone owns the property, caboose and library, but didn’t have the funding they needed for renovations, which is why the restoration commission stepped in and did the work.”
The Southern Pacific Class C-40-3 cupola type caboose is made of riveted steel and is more than 36 feet long. It weighs 46,800 pounds, or 23.4 tons, and is equipped with a coal stove, toilet, refrigeration unit, desk, typewriter and other furnishings.
“At one time, cabooses were used as shelters for rail crews,” Davenport said.
Visitors are invited to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony and step inside the caboose to see first-hand how rail crews lived.
Caboose 1057 is just one of several Tombstone Restoration Commission projects. The next item on the group’s list is a Union Pacific boxcar, which will serve as a small museum filled with railroad memorabilia.