IndieDwell, a company based in Boise, Idaho, is repurposing abandoned shipping containers as homes for the eccentric consumer.
Since steel shipping containers typically have a 25-year lifespan when being used to transport goods, they are the perfect pre-packaged shell for affordable housing. Or that’s what IndieDwell CEO Scott Flynn believes.
“We want to change people’s perceptions,” U.S, News reports Flynn saying about the container’s aesthetic. “They have one idea of what it looks like, and we want to show them the reality is something different.”
The company currently has their sights set on building 60 homes each year and eventually graduating to 2,000 if, as they optimistically believe, the idea catches on.
These containers are not the only old shipment technology that’s getting a tune-up. An old steam engine locomotive will be coming home to Topeka, Kansas where it will be restored.
The Coalition for Sustainable Rail is raising funds to bring this old train home, assess the status of its engine which was built in 1937, and ultimately make the necessary repairs.
Topeka residents are excited, and consider the train a part of their history.
“I’m excited to keep it in Topeka,” U.S. News reports president of CSR, Davidson Ward saying . “It has some significant history with that town. It ran to Topeka many times during its career.”
Today, trains are largely used for commercial transportation of goods, as opposed to public transportation.
Rather ironically, one of the three most valuable items trains regularly transport is the automobile. The other two are electronics and machinery.
Like long-haul truckers, freight trains also need to be weighed for theft prevention assurances. Due to how railways are designed, however, weigh in motion systems are used, so the train does not need to stop for any reason.
Load cells are used in freight weigh stations and on railways, and they typically can measure the weight within a .03-1% margin of error. A number of other metrics are used to capture true weight for weigh in motion systems in addition to these.
The train coming home to Topeka has no need for these bells and whistles, except for the bell and whistle used to signal everybody to climb aboard.
As shipping and freight technology continues to advance, old locomotives could become a distant memory of the past. Or, as Flynn is doing with his shipment containers, they could take on a new life by being repurposed as something completely different.
The plan, for now, is to teach children and history buffs about the train, according to Bette Allen, President of Great Overland Station in Topeka.
“It’ll be exciting,” she said, imagining the sight of happy children learning about the train, “Just to stand up next to those wheels is something.”