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Schedule changes for historic rail car arrival’s in Landrum

LANDRUM — Because of the rain, the Landrum rail car transport contractor, Willets Rail Services, could not guarantee it would be able to complete offloading the vehicle Thursday evening before dark.

Trying to offload the car in the dark could create safety issues both for the rail car itself and those working to unload it. Therefore, Landrum officials have rescheduled the offloading to Friday morning.

The car will be arriving on two separate trucks Thursday evening, sometime around 6 p.m. However, because of weather and traffic conditions, that time is an estimate, and may vary.

In order to transport the rail car, the contractor will remove the wheels and place them on a separate truck.

“They have to take the wheels off so the rail car will fit under the highway bridges,” said Landrum City Administrator Rich Caplan.

“This is an historic occasion,” said Landrum City Council member Joyce Whiteside.

The trucks will come down Interstate 26 and Rutherford Street, then turn on North Trade Avenue to the depot. Caplan said a representative from the transport company visited the site behind the depot last week and examined the roads in order to plan the route.

Mayor Robert Briggs, a police escort and a fire truck will form a caravan to escort the rail car into town. The trucks will park on North Trade Avenue Thursday night.

Caplan said the cranes will arrive by 9 a.m. Friday morning and begin offloading the rail car around 11 a.m. The estimated time for the unloading and setting of the rail car is three or more hours.

The public is invited to a welcoming ceremony and christening at 3 p.m. on Friday behind the depot. In case of rain, the ceremony will take place inside the depot.

The Tennessee Central Railway Museum is donating the 85-foot long Pullman sleeper to the city of Landrum. It is part of the Pacolet River series built for the Norfolk Southern Railroad line that ran from Columbia to Asheville.

This particular car was named “The Pacolet River,” and actually ran the line through Landrum.

Briggs said the car will not be open to the public until it is renovated and fitted as a museum.

The Interim Museum Board is asking for donations of historic railroad and Landrum history memorabilia with which to outfit the museum. It will also contain a visitor’s center and information about the Palmetto Trail.