Fire destroys historic rail car scheduled for renovation

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GALENA, Ks. — It could have been a unique attraction for people traveling the mother road.

But that idea has now gone up in smoke.

Galena businessman Dale Oglesby and a partner had plans for this 1899 Kansas City Southern presidential rail car.

That was before it was set on fire Tuesday morning.

It was supposed to be part of a unique tourism attraction scheduled for renovation.

Dale Oglesby, Train Car Co-Owner, said, “It is, it was an amazing car, it was unique, one of a kind, hand laid mosaic tile showers, you know the kitchen was just amazing, library, had a full library, had a dinning room and a parlor.”

The vehicle was the first presidential car built by the Kansas City Southern Railroad.

It would have been a part of a unique display for visitors traveling historic Route 66.

“Include a number of rail cars, a full train and travelers would have a place to stay in Galena that was on the route, you know they could actually stay in a locomotive, stay in a caboose, they could stay in a Presidential rail car, it would have been a very unique attraction.”

Oglesby says it cost #35,000 just to get this historic piece from where it was in Union Station in Kansas City to where it sits right now.

Oglesby says there’s no way to know for sure who used this car, but he says they were certainly important at the time.

“It’s a Presidential rail car, it’s customary that a lot of the railroads especially back then would have a specially built rail car for the president of the railroad and any other dignitaries that happened to be passing through to ride in.”

The two men had already acquired other rail cars that were going to be renovated and be part of the train.

Now he says it may only be good for scrap metal.

The Galena Police Department and the Kansas Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating the suspicious fire.

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