Norfolk Southern (NS) on May 22 unveiled plans to donate its historic East Palestine Train Depot to the village.
Acknowledging the “significance of this landmark,” NS, which will provide a $100,000 grant, says it will restore and upgrade the exterior of the building while the interior will be turned into a blank space so the community may “shape the future development of this property according to its own vision.”
“The renovation of this historic landmark signifies a milestone toward the village’s goal to revitalize the area while preserving and paying homage to its rich heritage,” the Class I said. Located in the heart of East Palestine, on Market Street near the downtown area, the train depot holds a central position within the community. The depot dates to the 1890s but has remained dormant over the course of several decades. NS’s ownership of the train depot originated from the acquisition of the rail line that runs through East Palestine in 1998.
“NS understands the historical significance this train depot represents to the community,” said NS Director of Corporate Giving Kristin Wong. “As I’ve talked with those who live in East Palestine, I heard early on that they wanted to own and determine the future of this central building. Today, we’re partnering together to make that happen. We’re committed to making things right in East Palestine, and it is a privilege to donate this train depot to the community, and to watch what it will become next.”
“East Palestine should be proud of their history with the railroad industry,” added Wong. “We are honored to donate this train depot to the community as a symbol of that history.”
NS says it plans to begin renovations in late August or early September and expects to complete renovations by Summer 2024.
This is the latest commitment that the Class I has made to the community in response to the Feb. 3 derailment. Earlier this month, NS opened a new Family Assistance Center in East Palestine. Additionally, NS President and CEO Alan Shaw wrote in a May 9 letter to Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ted Cruz (D-Tex.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) that the railroad will establish a fund to compensate homeowners in East Palestine for property diminution.