The City of Hamlet and the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame have come to an amicable agreement following a lawsuit that was filed last year against the museum.
In a previous interview, City Manager Marchell Adams-David said the city asked the museum to fix up and paint the caboose and engine located at 3 Main Street, and that the museum did not comply so a suit was later filed for trespassing.
The museum is located on Hwy 74 E. Business in Hamlet, adjacent to the city lake and senior center.
Museum attorney William Van O Linda said the complaint made it clear that “the city wants the museum to either lease the caboose and engine to the city or remove it from the property.”
At the time of the complaint, the museum and the city could not come to an agreement on the lease terms.
“We have come to an agreement now, and the city has the same lease agreement with the museum as we do for the Tornado Building,” said Hamlet Mayor Jeff Smart.
This means that the museum will lease the engine and caboose to the city for 25 years so the city can receive state funding to have the units refurbished, according to city officials.
No money will be exchanged, but the museum’s items will get the money to be restored.
“That’s the same agreement we have with the (Hamlet Historic Depot and Museum) for the Tornado Building,” said Adams-David. “It has been beautifully restored, and it still belongs to the museum.”
President of the National Railroad Museum and Hall of Fame, Bill Williams, said that he’s glad to have the issue resolved and that he looks forward to working with the city to provide the public with access to these historic pieces.
“I’m sure the restoration will be as good as it has been on other historic museum pieces,” said Williams.
The city will contract with North Carolina Department of Transportation to make improvements on the engine and caboose, which will make them accessible and user-friendly to the viewing public. As a condition for providing funding, DOT requires that the equipment be used for public purposes for a certain period of time, and the lease agreement would ensure that the pieces would remain public for 25 years.
At this time, the plan is to complete restoration on site.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.