Boyce, Virginia depot
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Sat Feb 9 08:44:34 EST 2019
Plan developed for making former Boyce train station available for public use again
By MICKEY POWELL The Winchester Star
BOYCE — The owner of the town’s former train station off East Main Street plans to make the building available for public use again. The building currently houses the Railway Mail Service Library, a historical collection of items from decades ago when trains helped with mail delivery as well as took passengers to their destinations. Both the collection and the building are owned by Frank Scheer of Alexandria, who works in transportation services and supply management for the U.S. Postal Service in Washington. However, the land on which the building sits continues to be owned by railroad company Norfolk Southern Corp.
Trains whiz by the old depot each day and night, blaring their horns for safety as they approach East Main’s railroad crossing. Yet none of the locomotives stop because the station closed in 1959. Tuesday night, Scheer told Boyce Town Council he intends to move much of his memorabilia to a new building planned for construction behind another building he owns along East Main, about 100 yards from the depot. Space inside the depot then is to be made available for public use, such as for a town visitor’s center, wedding receptions and other special events, or model railroad club layouts. Fees charged for use of the space are to go toward the building’s maintenance and upkeep, he said.
According to Scheer and information he presented to the council, plans ultimately are to transfer control of the depot from private ownership to the Boyce Railway Depot Foundation so the public can benefit from the building, especially following his eventual demise. The nonprofit foundation was incorporated specifically for the depot’s future ownership and preservation. “I think it’s an asset to the town,” Scheer said of the building. “I don’t want it to turn into a biker bar or antique store,” for instance, in the future. The depot has become “a town icon,” he continued. “In the future, it could become a cornerstone for tourism” in Boyce and Clarke County.
Council members indicated no opposition to his plans. Mayor Franklin Roberts asked how people walking near the depot alongside the railroad would be kept safe. “I like for a train station to look like a train station,” Scheer replied. Nevertheless, “Norfolk Southern doesn’t want people on the track” so a fence probably will be erected at some point in the future, he said. Scheer said a site plan for 127 E. Main St., where he plans to move many of the mail delivery relics, will be presented to the Boyce Planning Commission for consideration in the spring. The building already at the site is a former telephone exchange.
— Contact Mickey Powell at mpowell at winchesterstar.com
As of: February 9, 2019
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