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CCCC welding students work on Depot Park train

Click to enlarge CCCC welding students work on Depot Park train

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Old Steam Locomotive #12, at Depot Park, 110 Charlotte Ave., in downtown Sanford, has been badly in ... (more)

12.21.2011College & CommunityStudents/Graduates

SANFORD - The train at Depot Park in downtown Sanford has been a magnet for everyone from children to history buffs for almost a half-century. Old Steam Locomotive #12, built in 1919, has seen a lot of visitors.

Among them are Daniel Holland, of Osgood, and Pedro Gomez, of Sanford, who grew up in the area and remember playing around the engine and coal tender as children.

The old train is in the process of undergoing much needed maintenance and repair. Holland and Gomez are members of a welding class at Central Carolina Community College that has contributed to that.

From September through mid-December, the nine students in the inert gas welding class at the Lee County Campus spent 107 man-hours patching, grinding, and welding not only to improve the appearance of the train but also to make it safer for visitors. Moving pieces that could have caused injury were welded together, patches were welded over holes, sharp edges ground down, rust removed, and metal added to restrict access to the top front of the train.

"It feels good to do something for the park," Gomez said with a smile.

The other class members who worked on the project were: Brad Powers, of Bear Creek; Donnie Fore, of Swanns Station; Timothy Baldwin, T.J. Laubach, and Heath Tatum, all of Sanford; Jason Terrell, of Broadway; and Eric Buckner, of Raleigh.

All are Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Systems Technology degree students. Several are also getting degrees in Bio-maintenance.

Several months ago, Steve Stewart, of the city's Building and Grounds Department, contacted Dr. Stephen Athans, dean of the college's Vocational and Technical Programs, to see if the college could partner with the city on some of the work to be done.

"Whenever the college can help to do community projects we like to, if they align with our curriculum," Athans said. "It gives our students real-world experience."

Welding instructor Kenneth McLamb oversaw the students' work on the Sanford Train Welding Project. He has been a welder for 40 years and has taught at the Lee County Campus and at the Sage Academy, in Siler City, for 12 years.

"This project was stuff these students will see in the real world," he said. "They've most definitely learned from the experience as well as upgraded the condition of the train."

In the late 19th century, Sanford grew from the crossing of the Western and Chatham railroad lines (now the Atlantic & Western and Seaboard Coastline). The chief civil engineer of Seaboard Coastline was Col. C.O. Sanford, for whom the city is named.

The Railroad House, built in 1872, is the oldest building in Sanford. The Railroad House Historical Association now operates it as a museum in Depot Park, 110 Charlotte Ave. The engine and coal tender are a major attraction in the park.

Downtown Sanford, Inc., has been beautifying and increasing the functionality of Depot Park, turning it into an area for outdoor concerts and other events, as well as a relaxing downtown space for visitors and residents.

"Sanford is a railroad town and the engine at Depot Park is symbolic of that," said Mayor Cornelia Olive. "Keeping it in good repair is so important because of what it means. Everything the welding class has done is wonderful. Anytime we have a partnership with the college that both answers a community need and has the students getting the benefit of providing a public service while refining their skills, it is always a great thing."

For more information about CCCC's Industrial Systems Technology programs, including welding, check out "Industrial Systems Technology" on the college's web site, For more about Depot Park, call Downtown Sanford, Inc., at (919) 775-8332 or visit or