It sounds ominous, but efforts underway to bring a historic end to White Rock are anything but.
The end is, in fact, a caboose – the former end of virtually every freight train that ran along the Great Northern Railway.
Eyed as a possible addition to White Rock’s waterfront, the caboose was noted in a report outlining proposed amendments to White Rock’s 2013-2017 Financial Plan. Financial services director Sandra Kurylo suggests a $150,000-increase to the city’s contingency budget for new initiatives that may require funding, including “possible site preparation and display costs of a historic caboose that might be donated to the city.”
Coun. Grant Meyer said he was thrilled to see it in writing. While exact plans for the caboose – should it come to fruition – aren’t determined, Meyer said it could be a unique home for the city’s tourist information centre.
BNSF Railway spokesman Gus Melonas confirmed Friday there have been discussions regarding finding a caboose for White Rock. However, donating one to the city would need to go through BNSF’s approval process, he said.
“There is a list and White Rock is on the list,” Melonas said.
Melonas could not predict how long it might take to find one of the long-obsolete cars. They are popular and finding one in decent condition is rare, he said.
“They’re so few and far between,” he said.
In addition, White Rock is not the only community with a caboose on its wish-list, he said.
“There are several communities that are interested across our system… that regularly express interest,” he said.
“The demand far exceeds the supply.”
When a caboose is donated, the recipient is responsible for any restoration required, Melonas said, noting he has seen them converted into such things as gift shops and restaurants. Great Northern’s goat logo “attracts a lot of attention,” he added.
The idea of a caboose for White Rock was first raised about five years ago by a local resident, but didn’t go any farther than that, Melonas said.
The latest discussion began “in the last month.”