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 Post subject: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:16 pm 

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Starting in 1939, the Illinois Central Railroad built 350 steel offset cupola cabooses in their own shops. Most of these had a small side door located in the center of the body but, to meet state of Iowa requirements that banned "side door cabooses", 36 of the cars were built without that side door. These ICRR Iowa Division cabooses were numbered 9900-9917 and 9950-9967. Many of these 350 cars have been preserved. One of the Iowa Division cabooses has long been located at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum in North Judson, Indiana, however, the original Illinois Central number has never been found, although I have looked for it many times. This has included sanding for numbers where they have once were located on the outside of the car, but the only number I ever found that way was the number 9. Not a particularly good number to find since all of the cars were in the 9xxx series. The underframe of the car discloses no numbers because of the cars age. Compounding the problem is that somewhere along the line, the car suffered an interior fire, removing any number that might have been found on the inside. What we know about the car is this; it was obviously once painted in standard caboose red paint with white lettering and eventually got painted in orange either for the Illinois Central or the Illinois Central Gulf. The car ended up working for a railroad called the Chicago & Indiana which operated the old Erie/Erie-Lackawanna across northern Indiana where she was painted yellow and lettered CINR #100. The Chicago & Indiana was a successor to an earlier attempt to operate the ERIE/EL named the Erie Western. The Erie Western lasted about two years, the Chicago & Indiana only 8 months. When the Chicago & Indiana failed, a short line took over a short segment between Monterey, Indiana and North Judson, Indiana and operated it as the Tippecanoe Railroad where the CINR #100 was painted green and given a Tippecanoe herald but no number. Eventually, the "Tippy" decided to get rid of the caboose and Dan Siple, a member of HVRM purchased it and donated it to the museum. Since that time, the car has been sandblasted, primed and repainted yellow (twice). She currently is one of our display cars and is currently undergoing a restoration with plans to repaint her back to Illinois Central in the orange paint scheme. I am trying to make one last attempt to find out her original number, before repainting her with one of the 36 numbers previously mentioned. There have been a few people who have told me that the Erie Western had a Illinois Central caboose on the property that they never used. My guess is that this was probably the caboose now at HVRM. BUT, I have never seen a photo of this caboose. My hope is that someone, somewhere, might have taken a photo of it. Sorry for the very long disertation. But if anyone has any info, I would certainly be appreciative.

Les Beckman (Rolling Stock Department, HVRM, North Judson, Indiana)


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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:47 pm 

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This is an unintended consequence of stripping a historic car to bare metal before painting it. But what are we to do when confronted with layers of peeling paint? I certainly don't have the answer.

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Les,

I spent a couple minutes searching the internet and found this: http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/showPicture.aspx?id=3319549

Image

It's a photo of an Illinois Central caboose. The notes say that it was taken on the Erie Western in Hammond, IN. The caboose has that little side door you mentioned. The number is 9991.

Could this be the one you are looking for?

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:20 pm 
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And just for fun, here's a picture of the other side of the caboose: http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5110/5582472479_f4b82dc798_z.jpg

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
If I read Les' post accurately, the caboose in question does not have a side door, as it was an Iowa Division caboose. The caboose pictured has a side door.

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:34 pm 
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You've got a point there wikinsd. Yet, the photos show the caboose (perhaps one of the cabooses) that was on the Erie Western did have a side door. Perhaps, then, there was another in the back lots of the Erie Western.

In the meantime, here's a photo of what appears to be the caboose on the Tippecanoe Railway: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wsry1754/7420665858/in/pool-1769463@N20/lightbox/

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:57 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
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Any numbers stamped in window sash or doors?

Steve Hunter


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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:07 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:06 pm
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Location: North Palm Beach, Fl.
Have you tried looking on the truck bolster, on the side facing the center of the car? Many of the cabooses were marked here, as were freight cars, and they are usually not blasted off when the car body is sand blasted. They are often just painted over and restencilled.


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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:28 pm 

Joined: Tue Aug 02, 2005 1:25 pm
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Gentlemen -

Thanks for all of your comments, and photos. As David Wilkins points out, IC caboose 9991 is not one of the Iowa Division cabooses. The green Tippecanoe caboose IS the caboose we have at Hoosier Valley. It's a bit hard to tell in that photo, but you can see where the middle two windows were plated over. If the caboose once had a side door, that would have been plated over too, but there is no evidence of that. Thus it is an Iowa Division caboose! The windows on the car were either burned in the fire, or replaced because they rotted out. But, I am not sure about the doors. That is one place I never looked for a number. I can check the next time I am at the museum. Just where on the door would the number have been Steve? As for the truck bolster, I have crawled under the caboose a number of times, including this past Saturday with my flashlight. There is no number on the bolster that I can see.

Your comments give me hope that someone out there might have the key. Again, thanks very much guys.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:35 pm 
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Les, do we know who owned the caboose when the fire occurred? I wonder if the caboose was extensively rebuilt after the fire, resulting in complete removal of the side door, and not a simple patch job like was done on the windows.

Personally, I would make sure that there is no evidence of the side door ever existing (which you may have already done). If we can label the HVRM's caboose as being an Iowa Division caboose for sure, then the Erie Western must have had two IC cabooses.

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:50 pm 
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Breaking News: After doing a little more research, I came across this tidbit on this forum: http://indianarailroads.org/board/index.php?PHPSESSID=75ua5ut7668vip5cl2r15tfg57&topic=2146.0;nowap


Quote:
"Here is a shot of their caboose. This caboose started out life on the Illinois Central it was one of their 9000 series cabooses that use to have the side door to catch mail. Sometime in the mid 1970's the caboose was sold to the Erie Western. At some point had a bad fire. The ERES rebuilt her without her side doors. Eventually the ERES went broke and the Chicago and Indiana took over for a year then they went broke. The Tippecanoe held on to it and used on the end of their grain trains. But that didn't last long it was dammaged in a coupling accident. The drawbar was busted. It was purchased around 1990 - 1992 by one the members up at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum. It has since been donated to the museum and restored into her Chicago and Indiana colors. The color that is on it in this picture was the Tippecanoe's. They used Forrest Green as a base color. They had an enblem for just the caboose. A copy of what the emblem looked like is on display at the Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum."


So, that may explain why the caboose is missing its side door. The thing to do would be to contact the original poster "Superintendent" and ask him where he got his information.


So

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:07 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 8:28 am
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Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Or does the caboose show evidence of this modification?

The plot thickens.....

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Mon Feb 25, 2013 11:13 pm 

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Well, we know for sure that the IC owned the caboose (red paint and then orange paint) that is at Hoosier Valley. We have a photo of it lettered for the Chicago & Indiana with the welded over windows, and in yellow paint. And we know that it was subsequently owned by the Tippecanoe Railroad (green paint). We think it might have been owned by the Erie Western, but not for sure. Did the fire occur on the IC (or ICG)? And was the caboose then rendered surplus (thus picked up cheap?) Or did it occur on the Chicago & Indiana? Or the Erie Western, if they ever owned it? I wish I knew the answer.

As for the caboose originally being one of the IC's side door cabooses and the Erie Western removing both side doors and replacing them with a steel panel after a fire, I don't buy the side door removal. Why just plate over the two windows on each side, but REPLACE the entire steel panel between the middle windows instead of also just plating over the side doors? Makes no sense to me. I don't know who "Superintendent" is, but I too would like to know where he got his information. Maybe he has the key.

Maybe somebody at the IC Historical Society has records of the disposition of IC cabooses. The IC sold a number of cabooses to other railroads. And then later donated a number of cabooses. If I could find a sale to the Erie Western (or Chicago & Indiana) for an Iowa Division caboose, I'd assume that our caboose is the one sold. My guess though, is that no such records exist.

Les


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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:47 am 

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 pm
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This is a real longshot, but has worked for me in the past:
When you're really bored or otherwise have nothing to do, go to dogpile.com and run all of the railroads involved, plus "caboose" and "fire", through. Dogpile searches other search engines and tends to return more offbeat results than Google or Bing. I tried a couple of variants, but didn't get anything helpful in this case (interesting stuff on several pages, but not useful.)

The other alternative is Newspaper Archive.com. They don't have every newspaper you might need, but it's worth a try (you might need to use your library's website to sign in if you don't have a membership.) "Caboose" "fire" and "(town or railroad)", or "train" in place of "caboose" might get you a back-page newspaper story that could help, if only to place which railroads in the assortment had a caboose burn in the years when you know it must have happened. If it was a relatively minor fire, of course, there likely isn't any official report. Also, if the RR put it out themselves, there might not be anything. However, a lot of volunteer companies keep fairly detailed histories on all of their calls, especially anything unusual or dramatic. I've been surprised several times now when news stories about items of highly local interest showed up, even though I thought they were too small for anyone to notice.
In this case, when you don't know where the fire happened, it's probably not real productive to hand-search the local paper. I only resort to that when I know when something happened (was off by a year once, but figured that out before things got too out of hand!) and I'm fairly sure it made the news.Another offbeat place to look might be the local historical society's booklets from the year the caboose got to the museum. Someone local may have written it up. even if the writeup isn't real accurate, it can get you a starting point.

Good luck. If I can help do any armchair sleuthing, for you or anyone else, I'll be glad to--until I can crawl into a firebox or do something else more useful, it's the only assistance I can render.

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 Post subject: Re: Caboose identification...a long shot!
PostPosted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 6:55 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:58 am
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Quote:
The windows on the car were either burned in the fire, or replaced because they rotted out. But, I am not sure about the doors. That is one place I never looked for a number. I can check the next time I am at the museum. Just where on the door would the number have been Steve?


I'm sorry to hear the original windows were replaced, as that's often an easy way to identify a car. By the way, don't blindly trust markings on storm or screen windows, as I've seen those mixed up between similar cars.

I don't know whether IC marked their windows and doors, but it was a widespread practice. Usually it would be stamped in an unobtrusive place around the perimeter of the door. Check the bottom (a dental mirror would save effort) and be aware that weatherstripping may have been applied since, partially obscuring the number. It could be on the inner or outer face of the door but is usually in a place that doesn't show too much. If the door has a window that opens, that sash may be marked as well.

Good luck!

Steve Hunter


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