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Village makes tracks for caboose exhibit

Bill Houston has brought down the hammer on the Angola caboose project.

The Angola Village Board member had the honor of pounding the "golden spike" Saturday to celebrate completion of the railroad tracks that will soon house a caboose as part of the community's railroad historical exhibit.

The spike -- spray-painted gold -- echoed the spike driven at Promontory, Utah, in 1869, when the first transcontinental rail line was completed.

In Angola, the line was shorter -- one set of rails.

"It's enough to set the caboose on," said Houston, the senior member of the group that has sought to preserve the village's vintage "Nickel Plate Line" station.

"After all, Angola wouldn't be here if not for the railroad," said Houston. "We're preserving the village's history."

Angola sprouted up after a train station was placed there in 1852, replacing Evans Center -- with its stage coach line -- as the heart of the community. Some buildings were even moved from Evans Center to Angola, Houston said.

"Then with the coming of the automobile, the traffic all went back up Route 5," he said.

The Angola Depot Preservation Society acquired the depot in 1990, but plans for what to do with the building started to gel in the past couple of years.

The group expects to place a caboose on the site next to Twisters Restaurant on Main Street in the next two to three weeks.

Caryl Youngers, who is coordinating the move, said the caboose will be taken off its wheels and have its smokestack removed before it can be transported by road by Winter Rigging.

The rails and ties were donated by the Norfolk & Southern Railroad. The caboose is coming from its resting place in Arcade.

The move had been anticipated before, but Houston said it has to happen now. Norfolk & Southern has decided it needs to use the line the caboose is on, and it has to be moved, said Youngers.

Eventually, the station will be moved to the Main Street location as well.

e-mail: eploetz@buffnews.com

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