President of the Boyertown Rotary Club reads ‘The Little Red Caboose' to children; Children name Colebrookdale Railroad caboose

Charles Haddad reads to pre-k classes at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

On April 21, the pre-k classes at St. John’s Lutheran Church were visited by Charles Haddad President of the Boyertown Rotary Club for a book reading and tour of the red caboose found in the center of town at the Colebrookdale Railroad.

The children sat quietly on the floor listening as Haddad read the story “The Little Red Caboose.” The story however had a modified ending as Haddad changed the ending of the story to include the many sad years the lonely caboose sat in a field after railroads no longer had any use for them.

“With grass growing up around my wheels and birds nesting in my cases, I missed the children who would wave to me as I traveled through their towns. That was until one day a couple of teachers who lived in Virginia decided they wanted something to do with their hands, so they found others who wanted to help and began scrubbing and cleaning me then painted me to look brand new,” read Haddad.

Still the red caboose needed a home, lucky for the community of Boyertown that home would be the Colebrookdale Railroad. He then explained to the children that the caboose was still sad; little voices called out to ask why. “Well you see,” said Haddad, “The caboose still has no name.”

Following a tour of the caboose, the children would be given an opportunity to name the caboose. Walking down East Philadelphia the children’s excitement grew as they got closer to the railroad. Carefully climbing the stairs, each stepped inside and back in time as they were given an up close look at how conductors lived while riding the rails.

A small pot-belly stove got “oohs,” while the tiny bathroom received “eews.” Many of the kids took a chance to lay down on the small beds imagining what it would have been like to live in such tight quarters. Looking at the old pictures posted on the walls and noting the date on the old framed calendar it can be certain that most these very young children would never know what life on the rails would be like had it not been for a visit like this.

Calling out their own “Whoo whoo’s” and pulling down on their imaginary whistles before waving good-bye to the caboose, the children politely thanked Mr. Haddad for his visit then returned to school for lunch, excited to begin deciding on a name for their new friend. The children settled finally on Little Red.