The recently restored railroad caboose in downtown Aberdeen on June 13, 2022.

The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners on Monday recognized a group of volunteers for their work to restore a 70-year-old train caboose.

Currently on display near the intersection of South Sycamore and East Main streets in downtown Aberdeen, the caboose was once operated by the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company. Restoration of the 50-foot-long railroad car was overseen by members of the Sandhills Central Railroad Club, a local nonprofit.

“We have a nice contingent of gentlemen here that worked tirelessly, in the sun, in the rain and everything else, trying to rehab the caboose,” said Mayor Robbie Farrell, who presented the volunteers with a plaque during Monday’s meeting. “If anybody can remember what it looked like compared with what it looks like today, it looks like it’s a brand new caboose.”


Aberdeen Mayor Robbie Farrell, center, presents members of Sandhills Central Railroad Club with a plaque on June 13, 2022.

Work on the project began in earnest in spring 2021. The town paid only for paint and other “incidental” expenses, according to Farrell.

“I can tell you they could probably go into business restoring cabooses if they thought they could make a deal out of it,” he said of the volunteers. “They worked tirelessly for a long time and they did a great job. It’s something that this town can be proud of.”

In addition to repainting the exterior of the caboose, the club decorated the inside of the car with era-appropriate cargo and furnishings. Mannequins have also been staged inside the caboose to illustrate some of tasks that were once performed by railroad workers.

“There’s a lot of history in the caboose that a lot of people don’t realize,” Elmer Pearsol of Sandhills Central Railroad Club said in a phone interview following Monday’s meeting. “It’s what they called a ’short-line caboose.’ What it would do is pick up and transport mail, money, cotton and peaches. It also had passengers.”

Mannequins on display inside the renovated railroad caboose in downtown Aberdeen.

Mannequins on display inside the renovated railroad caboose in downtown Aberdeen.

The restoration, Pearsol said, was a collaborative effort between the club and the town, as well as the Aberdeen & Rockfish Railroad Company and the Aberdeen, Carolina and Western Railway.

“It was a thing where we got everybody together and got everybody working together on it,” he said.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Comments that violate any of the rules above are subject to removal by staff.

Thank you for reading!

Please purchase a subscription to continue reading. Subscribe today and support local community journalism.

Digital Only Subscriptions

The Pilot

Get unlimited digital access and support award-winning local journalism, for just 9.50 +tax a month. This includes access to the electronic replica edition of The Pilot.

Starting at
$10.17 for 30 days

Already have a Print Subscription? Get Digital Access Free.

The Pilot

As a print subscriber, you also have unlimited digital access. Connect your account now.

Home Delivery

The Pilot

Our best deal: Get all the news of Moore County delivered to your home each Wednesday and Sunday — and receive unlimited digital access to

Starting at
$80.25 for 365 days