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Hand car is not an antique
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Photo by THOMAS MICHALSKI
The Sheffield hand car, recently acquired by the city of Pinellas Park, is built to look like its 1800-era predecessor.
 
PINELLAS PARK - The Sheffield hand car front of Park Station is not as old as it looks, but it’s still a topic of conversation that draws stares from most people who see it.

Park Station was built on the site of the original Seaboard Railroad station that was constructed in about 1908. It was the size of a large room.

“The original building was razed in 1974,” Timothy J. Cadell, the city’s media and public events director said. “This new one was dedicated just last year.”

The present building is designed to look like an old station, but is not historically accurate.

“It’s a nostalgic throwback,” Cadell said.

City officials came up with numerous ideas for decorating the building’s front. One was to install an actual train. Another was to place a real steam engine there.

“The cost was prohibitive,” Cadell said. “Some people also didn’t like the idea of hiding the building behind a train.”

City officials settled on the hand car reproduction at a cost of about $6,000. It’s actually fully functional, but chained to the 60-foot track to stop people from using it.

The 645-pound handcar is joined by an antique Atlantic Coastline Railroad luggage cart that someone donated to the city.
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