Clipped From Herald and Review
i ' X -- ' : -" . fW Ufa Herald & Review photosCarlos T. Miranda Don Hall of Bodine Enviornmental Services Inc. sprays water Tuesday during the demolision of the WABIC interlocking tower east of the Wabash Depot. Train aficionados watch history fall Switching tower at Wabash Depot had long since outlived its usefulness By VALERIE WELLS H&R Staff Writer DECATUR Richard Huckaba calls himself a "ferroequinologist." Roughly translated from its Latin roots, that means "student of the iron horse," or railroad buff. Huckaba and several of his fellow train fans spent Tuesday afternoon next door to the Wabash Depot Antique Center, watching as the old interlocking tower was torn down. The men couldn't agree on the exact year the building was erected but think it was 1952 or 1953, when the Wabash tracks ran east and west, the Illinois Central ran north and south and the depot was a hub of activity. The tracks are still in use, but the passenger trains are gone, and the interlocking tower had fallen into disrepair. "We're just here to watch it go down," said Richard Ward. When he first moved to Decatur years ago, said Terre Engleton, he used to DECATUR'S PAST go to the depot to watch the trains, and the tower operator would let him come up in the tower for a bird's-eye view. There were 15 "diamonds," where the various tracks crossed. The switch operator was in charge of the interlocks so that there weren't conflicting signals and trains didn't coUida Huckaba said at one time, the tower controlled switches at Merchant Street and Brush College as well. After the switching house is gone, Engleton said, the boiler house, directly behind the depot, is next on the demolition list, followed by the crossing guard tower a couple of blocks away on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. But don't let the fact the old buildings are going down fool you. "Everyone thinks the railroad's dying," Engleton said. "But the railroad is thriving. " Valerie Wells can be reached at 421-7982 or vwells herald-review.com. Terre Engleton, left, Mike Harris, center, and Richard Ward wait for the demolition of the WABIC interlocking tower Tuesday afternoon. ' t - - - ( - - :i i -l - r - f.- - s r - - - I-?