SHIRLEY — It seems people all over town are thrilled about Shirley bringing up the caboose.
The excitement isn’t about running dead last in any way, shape or form; it’s about the prospect of nabbing a piece of history in the form of a vintage turret or cupola railroad caboose, circa 1909.
The Shirley Historical Society is chasing down the tracks after the historic rail car that is part of Tom Allison’s collection from the Carthage Knightstown & Shirley Railroad that operated for nearly 30 years before ending operations last August.
“We had kids bringing their kids (to ride),” Allison said. “That’s how long we’ve been here. But you can’t go backwards.”
Declining ridership on the 10-mile roundtrip jaunt the CKS ran between Knightstown and Carthage and increasing expenses finally forced the railroad to shut down.
“We’re going away in one way or another this summer,” said Allison, who along with his wife, Marion, owned the railroad and gave passengers a ride into the past through wooded farmlands and fields, over the Big Blue River and a stop for ice cream in Carthage on hot summer days.