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The Caboose

The Central Vermont CV-4007 Caboose was the start of the rail collection at The Depot. In June 2000, the caboose was purchased for the InfoDepot Business Center by owner Barry Fromm from Bill and Judy Husband of Mason, Michigan who had lovingly maintained it for 28 years.

The Caboose is used for tours and small private meetings. If you like hard beds, you could even camp out in it. Occasionally, late on a Friday, we even have "Ca-booze" parties. The Caboose is a favorite at The Depot Train Festival where our resident expert paints a picture of days gone by and kids get to sit in the cupola, pretending to look down the track.

It was built in Vermont in 1909. This authentic wood rail caboose was last used on the Cadillac/Lake City Railroad. Previously, the Central Vermont "–4007" faithfully followed the tracks through New England and Eastern Canada – with the conductor, brakeman and flagman sitting in the rear cupola to ensure the safety and order of the railroad. It was refitted in 1925 with some of the decade’s most modern conveniences including suspension, new brakes and an icebox. It was in use until about 1972 by the Vermont railway.

More Caboose History

For more than a century, the last car on a train was the caboose. A little shack on wheels, it served as office, bedroom and kitchen for the train crew. Its cupola was an observation deck from which the brakemen watched the train for shifting loads, overheating wheels and other problems.

Caboose is an old sailing term meaning a kitchen set up on the deck of a ship; it came to mean any portable or temporary shelter. The railroad caboose undoubtedly began as a tent or shelter set up on an old flatcar.

Converted boxcars were also used until the 1860s, when nearly every line had its own caboose design. Made of wood or steel, cabooses weighed about 25 tons and often saw 50 years of use. Their crews called them “crummies”, “cabs” or other slang names.

This caboose has three bunk beds, a stretcher, a cooking and heating stove and a desk for the conductor to do freight-related paperwork. The crew was five to six men. Most of these were brakemen, who pre-1930’s had to climb atop the moving train and tighten wheels atop each car to secure its brakes.

Until the 1980s, laws in the United States and Canada required that all freight trains have a caboose. Technology eventually advanced such that a caboose was unnecessary, providing improved bearings and lineside detectors to detect hot boxes, and better designed cars to avoid problems with the load. The caboose was also a dangerous place, as slack run-ins could hurl the crew from their places and even dislodge weighty equipment. With the introduction of FREDs (flashing rear-end device/end-of-train device), the caboose was no longer necessary. A FRED could be attached to the rear of the train to detect the train's air brake pressure and using radio, report any problems back to the locomotive.

For more about the Caboose visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caboose

Rail history like our Vermont Central Caboose help our visitors "Think Outside The Boxcar" and make all events The Depot memorable. Immerse yourself, guests or colleagues in history and enjoy the "campus".

Other points of interest at the Depot are:
  - 1890 Depot from Brice, Ohio
  - 1955 Great Northern Ranch Dining Car
  - Car 100, from the Ringling Bros
  - 1920's Vulcan Steam Locomotive
  - Scioto Valley Railroad

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