Station back on track

Published 10:31 pm Friday, March 28, 2014

The Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum is back on track after a hiatus without an employee to manage the station.

Kevin Long, a Chesapeake native who now lives in Norfolk, has been hired for the position. The station is owned and operated by the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society.

Kevin Long is the new manager at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum. He comes on board after a several-month-long hiatus in which the station was closed because it didn’t have a manager.

Kevin Long is the new manager at the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum. He comes on board after a several-month-long hiatus in which the station was closed because it didn’t have a manager.

“I’m pretty excited to be here,” Long said on Friday, his third day of work. “It’s nice to work with the historical society.”

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Long graduated in August with a history degree from Virginia Commonwealth University. This is his first job in his chosen field, but he’s hoping to make museum work a lifelong career.

“It’s hard with history to say, ‘I will do this,’ because there’s so few jobs,” he said. “But I would like to stay in museums.”

Long said he already has several ideas for programs and improvements for the station.

Located at 326 N. Main St., the station was built in 1885 as a passenger depot and served the Portsmouth and Roanoke Railroad, later the Seaboard Air Line Railway, on its south side and the Virginian line on its north side. Passenger service ended in 1968, but the depot continued to serve as a freight office until the late 1980s. It suffered a fire in the ‘90s that nearly destroyed the building.

A grassroots effort to save the station attracted federal funds, as well as private and local government matches, and it opened in its present state in 2000.

The museum’s centerpiece is an award-winning, two-room, operational HO scale model of Suffolk in 1907. But it also features a refurbished 1962 caboose, Seaboard Line and railroad memorabilia, a toy train set kids can play with and a large gift shop full of Thomas the Tank Engine toys, railroad- and Suffolk-related items, homemade preserves and the like.

The station is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. Call 923-4750 to reach the station.