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Locomotive on display in western Michigan target of vandals

Associated Press

Grand Haven, Mich. – Vandals have damaged a steam locomotive on permanent display in western Michigan.

The Pere Marquette 1223 in Grand Haven has been spray-painted several times, according to Matthew Braginton, who works with the train’s preservation committee.

A caboose door also was kicked in. The committee has asked police for more patrols in the area, according to WOOD-TV.

The locomotive was built in 1941 in Ohio. It was taken out of service about a decade later and eventually moved to Michigan’s then-state fairgrounds in Detroit where it sat for years. Grand Haven bought it and had the train restored.

It serves as a symbol of the long history Grand Haven has had with the transportation industry, according to historians. Grand Haven is northwest of Grand Rapids.

The train’s “main purpose now is to be a reminder to the next generation what this area was and what it can be in the future,” Braginton told WOOD-TV.

“My grandfather was one of the engineers that ran this train along with a lot of other people,” said Braginton, who along with other preservationists survey the train weekly.

“As a part of my family’s heritage, it’s always disheartening to see that somebody doesn’t feel empathy toward others and just wants to destroy stuff,” he said.