Historic Fruita rail car might have a new conductor soon

By: Joseph Dames Email
By: Joseph Dames Email

FRUITA, Colo. (KKCO) - It was the main link to carry fruit from Fruita to Grand Junction: railroad. One of the old-fashioned rail cars is still in use today, but it's not moving at all.

The old rail car and thousands of others played a big role in our area in the early 1900's, but for the last decade, this one has been just sitting around, housing offices.
City officials are now looking for some new options to get it rolling again.

Fruita Resident Yvonne Peterson says, "I just want to save it, I don't know what the future is going to bring, but we will just have to see".

It's carried a lot of fruit, and that'll leave a mark, especially on a structure more than 100 years old. It was one of a fleet that peddled fruit from Fruita to Grand Junction and beyond.

"It would zig zag through the orchards on the way to Grand Junction and pick up the apples and then it would go from there to the cities around the nation", said Steve Hight, of Fruita Historical Preservation Board.

It's a piece of our past, that movement brought to Fruita, though steam for the project ran out and it eventually derailed outside dinosaur journey where the car has sat housing offices for years.

"We've got the rail car and it's expensive to upkeep so the city council has opened up the field to the public for new proposals", said Clint Kinney, Fruita City Manager.

So far two proposals have been offered: one to turn it into a Fruita history museum, the other makes it into a beer garden.

City officials are weighing their options, and don't plan on closing the door on any ideas

“The city does own it, we know there is value to it, we've maintained it for years and there are no plans to tear it down at all", said Kinney.

Reassuring words to residents who believe preserving the past is vital to our future.

"From the stand point of the history of Fruita, I think it is a lovely pieces, but from a stand point in history in general it's very important , there aren't many rail cars like it still in existence", said Hight

The rail car has been leased to Colorado Discover Ability for the last 10 years.

City officials say they don't have a timetable set on when a proposal may be accepted or what will ultimately happen to the rail car.

The next city council meeting will be held august 27th with possible updates.


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