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Caboose Refurbishment

The Nevada Southern Railway caboose was rolled out for display for the first time in conjunction with the TTOS (Toy Train Operator’s Society) special run on 8 April 2006. The exterior restoration has been completed. Interior restoration is underway. The new sub-floor and the fabrication of the new doors and the rebuild of the cupola are in progress. Installation of new wiring and lighting, HVAC system, windows seats and benches will complete the restoration. Our caboose will be numbered NSRW 101.

A special thanks to the Nevada Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society for its financial support, Nick Elmquist for taking on the management of this project, and all of the hard working volunteers that have turned out to make this such a success.

Former UP Caboose # 906255 is being refurbished by volunteers from the Southern Nevada Chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society.

First, all markings were removed and the exterior was completely sandblasted. The trucks were given preventative maintenance and some paint. And the brakes were brought up to operational condition.

And on Saturday April 9th, 2005 it was primed and repainted in yellow (looks funny when illuminated by mercury vapor lights). Unfortunately, the color coat cured before the primer, so we ended up with a nice hard IMRON paint that had not adhered to the primer. Time for plan B.

That’s B as in Bondo Bill Milliron. Where the paint had pulled away from the primer, it was removed. Then Bondo Bill filled and smoothed all of the edges. The dust then flew as the sanding crew re-sanded all surfaces, and re-primered the reworked areas.

Three new coats of yellow paint, and the tedious process of painting the red trim began. Much discussion as to what items should be red. Tzar Nick “arbitrated” all disputes.

Sam Mauro explained graphically to Nick what should be painted red.

And then, back to work. Slick Sam, Super decal installer applied all of the lettering and logos.

The BIG DAY – April 8, 2006 – the first public display of the caboose. Notice some little details, like the fact that there are no windows installed at this point. Not visible from these photos is the fact that the interior had not yet been started.

Interior work, and lots of it. Lots of sanding and welding, new subfloor and floor built, electrical wiring run, air handler installed, cupola area damaged by previous water tank installation repaired, benches built, interior painting, doors built, and probably lots more that I’m forgetting. Then a contractor installed the new window glazing.

The next BIG DAY was December 3rd – the first day of Santa Train for 2006. Santa used the caboose as his dressing and resting room between runs. Power was temporary, but the two portable heaters kept up with the comparatively mild temperatures.

It really looks great on the end of the train and the view from the cupola is spectacular. Now, finish upholstering the benches, make the air conditioning work, make some interior doors, and then?

Compliments of Don Strack
“UP 906255 was built as UP 25578 (Class CA-8) in November 1964, retired on 9 February 1990, renumbered to UP 906255 in April 1990, retired again in May 1990, displayed at the Nevada State Railroad Museum in Boulder City, Nevada.”
Narrative of the UP CA-8 class cabooses:

The last three classes of steel cabooses on UP, the CA-8’s, CA-9’s and CA-10’s, were all built by International Car Co. Of Kenton, Ohio, and were nearly identical. The wheelbase on the CA-8’s through the CA-10’s was longer than on the earlier cabooses. The earlier cars (CA-3 through CA-7) had truck centers of 21 feet, 7 inches. The later cars (CA-8 through CA-10) had truck centers of 23 feet, 2.5 inches, without any change in the actual body length. The CA-8 class, built in 1964, was the first class to be delivered with roller bearing trucks.

All 100 CA-8’s were upgraded in 1969 to include all features required of cabooses in system wide pool service, such as radios, axle generators, interior and exterior lighting, and water-hopper toilets. The 100 CA-9’s, delivered in 1967, were upgraded for system wide pool service in 1973.
Narrative of the UP 906250-series cabooses:

The nine steel cabooses in the 906250 series road numbers were assigned in 1990 as office (or supervisor’s) cars for maintenance of way services. Several were specifically assigned to welded rail train service and operated with the welded rail trains from the rail welding plants at Laramie Wyoming, Dennison Texas, and North Little Rock Arkansas.

Neither the UP fleet of nine cars, nor a similar fleet of former MP cars were fully converted to their new service, and many have either been retired, or stored and only partially finished in their new assignment (UP 906255 was one of the unfinished cars). Several of the converted cars have simply been assigned to work train service and to local service without receiving any special conversions.