Train on Main project in works in downtown Easley

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

EASLEY — A project is currently underway to get more “feet on the street” in downtown Easley — and give those visitors a mission while they are there.

The “Train on Main” project draws inspiration from Greenville’s “Mice on Main” and Pickens’ “Turtles on the Town” projects.

“It’s a project we’ve been working on for several months,” Bob Fedder, one of the project’s organizers, told Easley City Council during its meeting Monday night.

The project is a joint effort between the city’s Promote Easley Committee and the Easley Downtown Business Association.

“It’ll be a little steam engine, eight freight cars and a caboose,” Fedder said.

Visitors to downtown Easley would be encouraged to seek out the little train cars, which would be located at different landmarks throughout the downtowns area. A list will be available to help train-seekers.

“The caboose will be at the (Easley Area) museum,” Fedder said.

A story that reflects the railway history of Easley will also be created as part of the project.

“Engineer Jim woke up this morning and forgot where he parked the train,” Fedder said. “Can you help him find it? The story goes on from there. It tells the story of Engineer Jim, Conductor Tom and the rest of them. They’re asking the mayor and various other folks, ‘Have you seen this car, that car?’”

Fedder said the effort “is not a cheap project.”

Zan Wells, the artist who created the molds for both “Mice on Main” and “Turtles on the Town,” is developing the molds for the bronze castings of the “Train on Main” project, Fedder said.

“It’s going to be about $6,000,” he said.

The project was awarded a $1,500 grant and the Easley Downtown Business Association has contributed another $2,500. Individual sponsors, including Baptist Easley Hospital and the Greater Easley Chamber of Commerce, will cover the remaining costs, Fedder said.

“We haven’t asked the city for anything,” he said. “Half of the funding almost is coming from the Downtown Business Association.”

Once the project is completed, it will be presented to the city “to keep and maintain it,” Fedder said.

Wells will keep the molds if additional trains are needed, he said.

“To maintain is not going to be a whole lot — they’re bronze,” Fedder said. “I will say that in the last 10 or 12 years that the mice have been in Greenville, (civil engineer Lisa Wells) did say that a couple (or) three of them have run away.”

Mayor Larry Bagwell said he believed the city would be happy to take the project on.

The projected completion date for “Train on Main” is the first of next year, Fedder said, with a ribbon-cutting slated for sometime in mid-February.

“I think it’s going to be an enhancement for Easley as a whole,” Fedder said.