A railroad artifact that could date back to World War I was recently found on Governors Island during a routine excavation of its sewer system.

What looks to be part of a train or a railroad handcar, roughly the size of a small car, was dug up on May 30 on the eastern shore of the island during improvement works being carried out by the Trust for Governors Island.

“We’re not sure what it is,” said Elizabeth Rapuano, spokesperson for the Trust. “All we know is that its wheels were cast in Baltimore.”

 

Governors Island was once home to the world’s shortest railroad, a mere 1¾ miles long. The railroad was built during the First World War to transport provisions and machinery between the docks and warehouses on the island, according to a 1931 New York Times Article, and at its peak ran for 8 miles. It was dismantled that same year.

The Trust now plans to display the artifact for the public after identifying when and where it was manufactured.

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