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 Post subject: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 1:13 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:40 pm
Posts: 1
Recently purchased property with the 3 rail road cabooses. The cabooses are from the D&H. Is there such a thing as a caboose appraiser? How do I put a value on these for resale?

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 Post subject: Re: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 2:16 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 26, 2017 4:24 pm
Posts: 50
Well you look for ads of others in similar condition. For example two years ago I was offered a semi restored caboose on active rail, in under, fully interchangeable for $20,000. Meaning it was on a piece of rail, connected to the national system and it was it a condition to be sent by rail to the destination.

I am imagining these are in a backyard in a piece of track, probably not in the best of condition, probably on friction bearings and not shippable by rail. I have seen similar condition cabooses sell for $3000-$5000 because of the extreme costs in cranes and trucking.

Best bet post on classified section here with pictures and location and hope someone has money and is interested, though museum acquisitions have been down with covid-19


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 Post subject: Re: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 3:11 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:57 am
Posts: 2471
Location: Faulkland, Delaware
Old and historic rail equipment is often only able to move by truck these days. The difficulty involved with trucking will have more to do with the price someone is willing to pay than the value of said equipment.

Ramping directly onto a lowboy is best case. When you move past ramping onto a trailer and start with cranes the cost goes up considerably. Other factors like will stone have to be brought in and later removed also contribute to the cost of moving and lower the amount someone is willing to pay.

Recently a B&O wood caboose was offered locally for free. The area was landscaped nicely and other structures were built on the property in the 40 years since it had been placed. Removing it would have been very costly. When the owners decided they wanted it gone they could not sell it or even give it away. They ended up paying to have it removed (destroyed).

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Tom Gears
Wilmington, DE

Maybe it won't work out. But maybe seeing if it does will be the best adventure ever.


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 Post subject: Re: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 4:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:17 pm
Posts: 109
Location: walton, ky
If you have any photos of the exterior and interior along with car numbers, that’ll go a long way to knowing the value. Something you may find is that you would get a much higher value potentially donating these to a non-profit. I have a friend who donated NKP 783 to the museum in Bellevue and he was able to claim the deduction on taxes.

I recently purchased an operating cab for well under what it should have sold for. I know people who recently bought operating cabs for between 12-14k. Depending on condition and cost to move, I’d say an initial estimate of 5-6k would be fair. That is unless someone really really wants that specific cab.

Joe


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 Post subject: Re: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2021 5:25 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9898
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
The last transaction I personally witnessed:

A little under $30K for a former Santa Fe Ce-1 waycar (end-cupola caboose). Supposedly including rail shipment.

Fully interchangeable/operable, completely original interior with a fresh interior paint job, and a relatively recent DuPont Imron paint job on the exterior. It looked like it just rolled out of the ATSF shops.

The buyer--who said it was destined for donation to a museum--rationalized the "high price" by pointing out the restoration work carried out would have cost almost as much as the purchase price, never mind getting it ready to roll safely.
The museum in question had been eyeballing an alternative of the same class, but trucking and cranes for the unrestored examples would have been almost as much, or more in one case.

We've probably all heard the adage "a boat is just a hole in the water into which you shovel money." Be prepared to think of a caboose the same way.


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 Post subject: Re: How to put a value on Cabooses?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2021 7:26 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:55 pm
Posts: 12
Location: Kansas City, MO
Wow, that's amazing. I'm familiar with that car and that price is, well wow. My next question is how did they get BNSF to take it, it was way out of 50 year date!

My thoughts on a caboose:

Is it on live track, is it isolated on a panel track, or is it in someone's back yard? It it 500' from live track and easily moved, or is it 10 miles to the closest paved road and up or down the side of a mountain?

Is it modern (steel) or is it an old wood car that's 3/4 rotten? Is the car body and frame in sound condition, or is there horrible rust and corrosion (or wood rot)? Is the physical condition (paint, rust, graffiti etc.) going to immediately draw the attention of the local tar and feather society or codes enforcement?

Is it on modern roller bearing trucks, is it on old style plain bearing trucks (these have the little doors that are opened to add more oil) or are the trucks and wheels absent?

Is the all the glass in the car (and is it the proper FRA Part 223 Type I or Type II glazing) or are all the windows broke out? Is the glazing / glass scratched up, chemically damaged or painted over? If there is no glass, are the window openings boarded up?

What is the last air brake date (if one is visible)? This gives some indication on how long it has been out of service. Because even if the car has roller bearings, if it has not moved since 1985, the bearings are most likely shot, and unless going to another back yard, they need to be replaced.

What is the interior condition? Is it original or otherwise heavily modified? Is the interior in good condition, has the car been gutted, or is the interior burned out from vandalism?

The answer to all of these questions will result 1) in the price the buyer will pay, 2) the value of the car. I am constantly amazed by homeowners who will attempt to sell their "tiny home" for $50 - 100k (and can't figure out why it won't sell) when they have a 1950's caboose that hasn't moved since it was placed there in 1975 or 1980 and have not really done much with it since.

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Matthew Friel

The Smoky Hill Railway and Historical Society, Inc.
The Belton, Grandview and Kansas City Railroad Co.


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