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Morning Sun
  • Train moves to permanent home in Franklin

  • It’s been a long time since there was a railroad depot in Franklin. But while there technically still isn’t, one at least exists in name in the town.

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  • It’s been a long time since there was a railroad depot in Franklin. But while there technically still isn’t, one at least exists in name in the town.
    Crews brought a child-sized train to the Miners Hall Museum in Franklin on Thursday morning, the same place it sat for a month last September.
    “When we took it out, the kids all asked where it went. This is a good place for it, because it can be utilized by children as a part of the ‘The Way We Worked’ exhibit, and it will be protected and covered so it should last for many years,” said Kaye Lynne Webb, of Watco.
    That’s the other big part of Thursday’s efforts — the “depot” that will provide protection for the train from some of the more severe weather.
    In fact, that’s part of the reason the train made its way to Franklin.
    Bob Hurt originally built the train for a different — but equally historic — location, Immigrant Park.
    “My ancestors probably came to the area on a train, and if they did, they probably got off at [what’s now] Immigrant Park,” Hurt said. “When they were making Immigrant Park, I asked if they wanted a train. I’d seen it in magazines one time. It wasn’t like this; it was a little thing.”
    “Bob doesn’t do anything on a small scale,” Webb said.
    So Hurt built the three-piece train, large enough for little children, for Immigrant Park.
    But vandals and the weather-caused erosion forced the train to be removed from the elements.
    “The elements were just hard on it. I had the best paint on it I could, but it wouldn’t last forever out there,” Hurt said.
    In preparation for the Smithsonian exhibit “The Way We Worked,” which will have its ribbon cutting on Saturday at 10 a.m. at the Miners Hall Museum, the museum held monthly exhibits on a different focus. In September 2012, that area of focus was the railroads, and Webb brought the train out to Franklin.
    “When it was a monthly exhibit, every day the kids and adults were sitting on it and taking pictures. When it left, they all asked what happened to it,” said Phyllis Bitner, Miners Hall Museum. “It’s all part of the story. The train is how the miners came to Pittsburg, and they probably came from Ellis Island on a train. They also took the coal out on train.”
    Watco work crews not only unloaded the train, but put it in place in its new shelter/“depot” on Thursday.
    Hurt said he’s happy with the new home of the train.
    “I’m just so happy it’ll have a home up here on display and protected. I can’t wait to hear kids say ‘Oh my gosh, mom!’ They’ve got the train now. It’s got its home now,” Hurt said.
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