The Train Observation Station

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Great news! We are excited to announce The Train Observation Station, will be open for tours beginning this Spring! From April through October, on the second and fourth Saturdays from 1 pm to 3 pm, visitors are invited to come to McCord Park, check out the Caboose and learn all about the fascinating history of trains and railroads. Grab your friends and family, mark your calendars, and come join us for some fun on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month!

Month | DateTime
Saturday, April 8 & 221pm - 3pm
Saturday, May 13 & 271pm - 3pm
Saturday, June 10 & 241pm - 3pm
Saturday, July 8 & 221pm - 3pm
Saturday, August 12 & 261pm - 3pm
Saturday, September. 9 & 231pm - 3pm
Saturday, October 14 & 281pm - 3pm
2023 Caboose Schedule

Our Caboose: 100 Years of History

Caboose C1411 was originally built in October of 1923 for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, at their car manufacturing shops in Washington, Indiana. It was one of 134 cars built to the B&O's I-1A caboose design. In the 1960s, the caboose was found working in various locations in Ohio, including Chillicothe, Cincinnati, and Zanesville. It was retired in Newark, Ohio, in March of 1967, and was purchased by the Rutherford family in August of that year.

After acquiring the caboose, the Rutherford family moved it to their property in Upper Arlington and renumbered it to C1114 to match their street address. The caboose was well maintained during its time at the residence and quickly became a local landmark.

Rutherford Family

In December 2018, the Rutherford family donated the caboose to the City of Worthington to serve as the centerpiece of the train-observation platform as part of the McCord Park renovations. The move was financed by the Worthington AM Rotary Club, and the caboose was relocated to McCord Park in January of 2019. The caboose was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in October of 2022. Today, the caboose serves as a unique and fascinating piece of history, showcasing the important role that cabooses played in the railroad industry.

What is a Caboose? 

A caboose is a historic and iconic railroad car that was attached at the end of freight trains. Its purpose was to house and provide a workspace for the crew responsible for monitoring the train from the rear and reporting any issues to the crew at the front. The first cabooses were basic sheds built on top of flat cars, but they evolved over time into more sophisticated models that offered better visibility and comfort for the crew.

Example of Class 1-A B&O Style Caboose

However, as technology advanced, the need for cabooses decreased with the invention of the End-Of-Train Device (EOTD), which replaced the rear-end crewmen's job of monitoring the train. As a result, cabooses became less common in modern train operations. Nevertheless, some trains still have cabooses at the end, especially in special cases where a crew member is needed to keep an eye on the train from the rear. Despite their declining use, cabooses remain an important part of railroad history and culture.

Worthington's Railroad History

Railroading played a significant role in the development of Worthington, Ohio, with the opening of the Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati (CC&C) Railroad in 1851. This was the first of Worthington's three significant railroads, connecting to major cities like Cleveland and Cincinnati. The CC&C eventually came under the control of the New York Central system in 1906, which later merged with Penn Central and Conrail. In 1999, the CC&C line became part of CSX Transportation and it's still used today. 

Another important railroad in Worthington was the Sandusky and Columbus Short Line Railway, which constructed a rail line between Sandusky and Columbus in 1893. The railway operated under its own jurisdiction until it was absorbed by the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1964, the line was sold to the Norfolk and Western Railway to connect to its assets in northern Ohio that it could not access. Today, the Sandusky Branch, now the district, is owned and operated by Norfolk Southern.

Columbus, Delaware, and Marion Passenger Car

Worthington third railroad in its history, was the Columbus, Delaware, and Marion Railway (CD&M), which reached the city in the early 1900s on its way towards Delaware and Marion. This was an interurban railway that operated street cars for commuter passengers between the towns it serviced. Unfortunately, the railroad filed for bankruptcy in 1933, but the Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington operates on a mile of former CD&M track and offers rides along the remaining length.

Overall, railroading played a crucial role in the growth and development of Worthington, Ohio, and its impact can still be seen and experienced today through the various rail lines and museums that remain.