Wyoming town on track for economic revival


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The State of Wyoming's Economic Development Agency   l   December 8, 2015

Shoshoni on track for economic revival

A rail car is prepped for a paint job in the Wasatch Railcar Repair facility in Shoshoni. The newly opened plant coincides with efforts to renovate the downtown core of the central Wyoming town of 650, which has fallen on hard economic times.


New employer, new high school, new downtown in the works

Shoshoni boomed in the early 1900s

The little central Wyoming rail town burst at the seams with 2,000 people. Many anticipated the town would soon outgrow Casper.

Fewer than 700 people call Shoshoni home today. The east side of Main Street is largely abandoned. The lettering atop the old Gambles Department Store is faded, its windows boarded. The windows of the neighboring red brick building are now just gaping holes.

Yellowstone Drug, once regionally famous for their malts, folded in 2012.

But where most find only blight, Mayor Scott Peters sees opportunity.

Peters campaigned for his first term in 2010 on rejuvenating downtown, according to a report from County 10. Since his election, the town has worked with landowners to clean properties along U.S. Highway 20-26 on the east side of town and Highway 26 in the west.

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Wyo company's handiwork
on display at Smithsonian

Wasatch Railcar Repair restored this passanger train car for the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The museum is scheduled to open in Fall 2016 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

A Wyoming manufacturer’s handiwork will be on display when a new museum opens next year in the nation’s capital.

The exhibit, a green train, rests in the bowels of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture being built along the National Mall. The Smithsonian charged Cheyenne-based Wasatch Railcar Repair Contractors with the restoration of the passenger coach.

The century old passenger train is so large, stretching 80 feet and weighing 77 tons, it had to be placed before the building’s construction. Crews built the rest of the museum around the artifact.

Pullman Palace Car Company built the 44-seat Southern Railway car in 1918. It was refurbished in the 1940s to create segregated sections – whites in front with spacious seating and a lounge, blacks in back where they had to stow luggage on laps or beneath seats.

The train ran from Kentucky to Tennessee down into Florida from the 1940s to the 1960s. The railcar later sat in storage in Tennessee before a railway executive donated it to the Smithsonian in 2009.

Visitors to the museum can read interpretive signs, walk around and inside the train or follow guides and video displays to learn about the segregated South and the Great Migration of blacks to cities in the north.

“This is the most prestigious job we have ever done,” John Rimmasch, owner of Wasatch Railroad, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle at the time. “It could potentially be seen by billions of people.”

A team of 20 people ranging from electricians and carpenters to welders and painters spent 18 months in Kentucky restoring the railcar.

Various railways and the National Park Service paid $700,000 for the work.


Restoration finished in November 2013. The passenger coach was shrink-wrapped, loaded onto a convoy of semi-trucks and delivered to Washington, D.C. A pair of cranes lowered the coach from Constitution Avenue into the construction pit.

The museum is scheduled to open in 2016.

Wasatch Railroad Contractors is part of Wasatch Railcar Repair Contractors. The company recently expanded its operations to Shoshoni, a small town in central Wyoming. Wasatch Railcar offers the only general repair and restoration services for 500 miles. Rimmasch anticipates employing 50 to 75 people in Shoshoni.

Wasatch Railcar intends to purchase the two Shoshoni warehouses in which it operates. One of those buildings was built with the help of the Wyoming Business Council, the state’s economic development arm. The agency contributed $1.5 million to the facility’s construction in 2005.

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Dec. 9-10
Wyoming Business Council Board Meeting, Cheyenne 

Dec. 10
State Loan and Investment Board Meeting, Cheyenne

Feb. 10-11
WEDA Conference, Cheyenne

Feb. 16-18
GRO-Biz Conference and Idea Expo, Gillette

View full calendar



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Completed projects

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Lyman Retail Service Center

Community Facilities Project

Cloud Peak Counseling Center

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