City orders long-time Broad Ripple caboose removed from property

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It could be the end of the line for a Broad Ripple landmark.



a train is parked on the side of a fence


© Provided by WTHR Indianapolis


For nearly 50 years, a New York Central Lakeshore caboose has been parked on a small piece of land along the Monon Trail. Kevin Wurster is its latest owner — but he’s not sure for how much longer.

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“The city wants this thing out of here on May 31,” Wurster said, who acquired the property for free in early May.

It began as a lease dispute with the previous owner that began more than five years ago.

According to Indy Parks, the city owns the land under the caboose and terminated the lease in 2015.

“Since that time, the tenant has remained in holdover status and the City has not received any lease payments from tenant,” said a spokesperson for Indy Parks in an email to 13News. “An additional notice was provided to the tenant on or about Nov. 30, 2020, that the Monon Caboose needed to be removed by May 31, 2021, or the caboose and any remaining personal property would become the property of the City.”

The previous owner, JR Walsh, said he tried negotiating an agreement with the City since 2015, but they couldn’t agree on terms.

When Wurster saw a “for sale” sign on the caboose last month, he called Walsh and explained he wanted to run his nonprofit juice and alkaline water business there. Wurster said Walsh let him acquire the caboose for free, hoping Wurster would be able to convince the City to let him stay or allow more time to find a new home for the landmark.

But Indy Parks told 13News it planned on moving forward with its demand that the caboose vacate the land by May 31.

Indy Parks said it will “continue to evaluate future uses for the space, including considering upcoming construction with the widening of the [Monon] trail.”

According to historians, the 117-year-old train car once ran up and down the Monon line until it got sidetracked here in the 1970s and stayed.

Wurster said he’s asked for help moving the caboose, but so far, no luck.

“Nobody sees the value in it,” he said. “And the only way I see value in this is to stay right here in the heart of Broad Ripple, where 95 or more percent of the people I talk to don’t want it to go anywhere.”

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