On May 18, 2018, the Port of Beaumont hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for their recently completed display, a restored Atchison Topeka Santa Fe (ATSF) caboose, once used in Southeast Texas by the Santa Fe Railroad.
Donated to the Port of Beaumont in 2010 by Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), it is one of the last CE-11 class cabooses to be purchased by the Santa Fe line, as cabooses were virtually eliminated from their trains in the early 1980’s. The restored caboose is one of 75 original members of the CE-11 class built by International Car Company in 1981 and one of the last purchased by BNSF. As technology advanced and laws changed, cabooses, which were primarily used to allow crewmen to monitor the hind-end of the train, became obsolete and found new homes in museums around the country.
The Port of Beaumont’s ATSF caboose has been fully restored by the Port maintenance department, a tedious process that took close to five years to complete. This historically significant display joins the Port’s mounted propeller, which previously called a mothballed petroleum tanker ship “home”, as an artifact of the region’s history. These structures represent two of the modes of transportation the Port relies on to efficiently serve customers.
“From a historical standpoint, Beaumont is teeming with great stories and incredible entrepreneurial endeavors that shaped the course of history for the United States,” says Port Director Chris Fisher, “We consider this region a quiet giant. Our contributions to the economy, to history, and to the nation are significant and we are proud of that. This display is another great piece of history attached to Beaumont and we are excited to showcase it in a way that is accessible to the public.”
“BNSF Railway values our relationships with the communities where we operate,” says Janssen Thompson, General Manager, Red River Division, BNSF Railway, “the dedication of this beautifully refurbished caboose represents our long standing history of support for the City of Beaumont, the Port of Beaumont and the citizens of this area. It is our hope that this equipment will serve as an ongoing symbol of our relationship,”
The Port of Beaumont welcomed approximately 85 guests to the ribbon cutting ceremony including BNSF representatives Janssen Thompson, General Manager, Red River Division; Brian Hauber, Superintendent of Operations; and Joe Faust, Director, Public Affairs; and various other BNSF representatives, local elected officials and community members.
The three class-1 rail carriers that operate in the Port of Beaumont (BNSF, Kansas City Southern, and Union Pacific) contribute greatly to the success of the Port through consistent and efficient operations that aid in our region’s growth and recovery.