Buying a caboose
I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this or not. If I have posted this in the wrong spot please move it
I guess it's a childish dream I've had for years or something but I have always yearned to own a real live railroad caboose. I have found a plethrora for sale online and about 3 really caught my interest. What are some things to look for? What are some things to avoid? I will probably be going after a steel caboose.
After I pick out the 'right one' how do I go about getting it shipped? I live maybe 150 ft from the mainline and 1000 ft give or take from a spur line. I have read that even if in operable condition it can not be shipped with friction bearings, only roller bearings. Pardon my ignorance but what is the safety concern?
As a member of a railway museum I ask you to look into the future and at the ulimate disposition of a caboose. Cabeese are easy to aquire, however are sometimes hard to unaquire. I have had calls on two occations where folks have asked me how to get rid of RR cars. I don't and can't speak for our organization, but have passed the word on with no results.
At one time I wanted a caboose myself, but found it was better to belong to an organizaton that had one. For me joining an organization was the best decision in the long run.
I am an older man now and have scale model equipment that I must get rid of, thank heavens I don't own that caboose I wanted.
And there-in lies your main issue. Finding and buying the caboose is the "easy" part. Shipping is a whole other matter. My wife and I have talked about buying a caboose to preserve it and turn it into a library, but when I checked into the logistics of shipping one, we decided it best to put it off for now. This is even inspit of the fact that my mother is a trucker and has all the cert's to do the move. Even with roller bearing trucks it is unlikely that a caboose that is being sold is in any condition to roll out on any mainline, so you are talking about a flatcar (train) or lowboy flatbed trailer (truck). You then have to probably remove the cupola and trucks to even think about clearing most obsticles. Even with the cut-down it will likely have obsticles it won't fit under so you will have to get a permit and special routing. Then you will have to rent one large or two medium cranes to lift it on and off. You will need to grade an area for it ensure it is compacted to hold the weight then build a section of track on which to place or at least concrete pads. In the end, it is a daunting task that really needs to be all researched beforehand.
Originally Posted by skitz
Finally, I would agree and disagree with skitz. I think he has a point on the future of your purchase. You need to think long-term on how long you will be in your current house or if you pass away what will become of your possession. Two cases to look at are the rotting rolling stock near Seaside, Oregon and the caboose on Lucia Falls Rd. near Yacolt, WA. The owner near Seaside passed away and his collection has been fading into the weeds ever since, hopefully the restoratio team in Astoria will aquire it someday. The caboose along Lucia Falls Rd. degraded for many years under ownership that couldn't afford and didn't have the skill to maintain it, but now it has new owners that have refurbed it back to new.
I do however think that cabooses in private ownership are preferrable to the cutting torch. If thought through, private owners can do a lot to make sure items are preserved and avilable for future generations. Most of the equipment at Snoqualmie was purchased privately and then given later to the museum when the resources were in-place to preserve them.
Hope this helped and good luck.
Thanks guys. If anything were to happen to me I would ensure it would not fall victim to the cutting torch. I have access to a nearly unlimited supply of rails, tie plates and spikes at a friend's place. All I need to really buy is the ties and gravel.
Firebox-If you come accross any more people looking to get rid of railcars I'd be interested, got plenty of room here
One of our local "heavy haul" trucking companies moved an extended vision cupola caboose on a lowboy flatbed trailer. They simply removed the trucks and brake rigging, and laid the caboose on its side, with the cupola hanging off the edge of the lowboy using a crane. It was, of course, cribbed and braced. Pilot cars escorted the caboose, occupying both lanes of a divided highway with it until it got to its destination. The trucks went on a separate flatbed trailer. When it got where it was going, another crane righted it, and placed it on its trucks on a piece of track constructed for it. I know at the time (10-15 years ago) the cranes were $500 per, the pilot cars were $400 (flat fee for two, plus mileage), and the trucking company got a couple grand. This was for a move of about 10 miles.
So, moving it will easily cost more than the price of the caboose.
If you live near a town or city that has a caboose or other railroad stuff they may be interested in letting someone volunteer to take care of them.
This happens fairly often as cities will get the cars and equipment donated to them and then leave them to the weather and vandals as they don't have the resources or knowledge to take care of them properly.
Excellent point. NP 2152 was rotting into the ground in a little used park in Auburn until the Northern Pacific Museum in Toppenish aquired it for preservation.
Originally Posted by Varget
Thanks for all of the info guys!
I have been looking at a few retired BN cabooses and I will probably go with one of them. Why is it that when the BNSF repaints a caboose in recent years they go with the BN paint scheme on old BN stuff and the ATSF scheme on the old Santa Fe stuff? I'm talking about a total repaint.
Jus outa curiosity, anyone know the approximate weight and dimensions on a 'NE10' class built of steel?
Have you considered a full size replica? Check out www.dogpatchandwesternrr.com.
Originally Posted by skitz