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Century-Old Landmark Train Caboose Needs New Owner For Preservation

RIVERSIDE ( — A nearly century-old landmark in Riverside is in danger of rotting away, and requires preservation, but it must first be sold.

An aging Southern Pacific train caboose, showing its age through decaying wood, has long been considered a landmark, sitting in Riverside's Hunter Hobby Park.

Even in its day, the wooden caboose was considered rare, with most already being constructed from metal. The caboose was brought to the park in the 1960s for the public to enjoy.

The city says it wants to keep the caboose intact, but with the walls, floor and roof rotting, it says it will need to sell it to a new owner in order to do so. Otherwise, the vintage railroad car's days may be numbered.

"It's been over there so long, I've been over there and took my kids to ride the trains and stuff, and it's a landmark now," former train conductor Charles Cox said. "Why destroy it?"

For Riverside to keep the caboose and restore it, it says it would have to pay at least $100,000.

"I'll be sorry to see it go, but the hope is that the marketer that we're engaging to take the car will find somebody who will invest the time and the money necessary to rehabilitate it," Riverside Councilman Mike Gardner said.

The marketer now has no more than six months to find the landmark a home.

Cox, meanwhile, hopes the public will step in and raise money to save it.

"If enough people got together and chipped in 50 cents or a dollar, (we could save it)."

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