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LOCAL EVENT: End of the line: Southeastern Railway Museum

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

Photo by Corinne Nicholson

The Southeastern Railway Museum will open its spring/summer season with a celebration of the caboose.

The small railcar that brought up the rear of a freight train was a rolling railroad office, where the conductor would complete necessary paperwork. The cars also served as sleeping quarters, outfitted with a stove and storage for food, as well as emergency supplies, including flares and tools, in the event a train broke down.

"It was a very useful little railcar at the end of the train," said Lallie Morris, a longtime volunteer who manages the museum gift shop. "It was like a little office and a home away from home."

Caboose Days will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

With seven cabooses on site, including two pulled by a locomotive, young guests will be challenged to identify them during a caboose hunt. A number of the cabooses still hold the original desk a conductor used and a few are under restoration.

Kids can also take part in caboose art activities, have cookies and juice on a caboose and take a ride on one of the rail cars pulled by a locomotive. The fee for a ride is $2.

"We really like Caboose Days because it brings the kids with the families," Morris said. "All of our activities are geared toward the kids, but the older people enjoy the memories that riding on the train brings back. That's the way everybody traveled back in the '30s and '40s."

The annual event ushers in the Southeastern Railway Museum's busiest season in which operating hours are expanded to include Thursdays, in addition to the normal Friday and Saturday hours. Admission prices to the museum have recently changed. Admission is now $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for children.

For more information on Caboose Days, call 770-476-2013 or visit www.srmduluth.org.