So, you are thinking about buying a 25 ton
caboose and moving to your back yard?
Below is a break down of what it cost me.
I made this page, because of all the E-mail I received about this subject.
Moving expense is what cost the most, but seeing the Happy Smiles on Little
Children faces is worth more to me! Then all the money in the world!
I'll be adding more information, plus photos on buying and moving a caboose as
Can't say it any better then the sign in photo!
A Little About Myself
Before I get in the Cost of a Caboose
I was raised in Catawissa, Northeast Penna. and lived between
both the Pennsy & Reading Lines (Catawissa Branch), the tracks where only a block
apart from each other. My parent's house was closer to the Reading Lines, So close that I
remember my mother putting the knicknacks back where they belong every month. At that time
it was nothing to see freight trains four times a day pass by. The Railroad Station was
only a couple blocks away, but in my younger days, I wasn't allowed to hang out there!
Anyhow, I'm self employed since I was 18 and never stopped
buying and restoring antique cars, horse draw wagons, potbelly stoves, one arm bandit,
etc. I have this thing with the past that I enjoy doing. There's not too much of anything
that's old, I didn't have my hands on onetime or another.
That's one reason I ended up with the Catawissa Train Station
in 1979. I was only 28 years old then and it was in very bad state when I purchased it, I
put up all my other properties for a Bank loan to restore it back to its original shape,
Little did I know that the prime rate was going up to 22% in a couple years. Which put
things on hold. In time I had to sell all my other property to keep this old Station from
being ripped down or burned like other great landmarks of our time. To me it was worth all
the hard time that went with holding on to the station. I'm glad to say things are a
little better now.
Cost of a Caboose
In the late 80's some railroads were offering cabooses for $500 to $1200 and
they offered to deliver it to your nearest railroad siding free of charge. In my case I
was paying 2% above 20% prime rate and just mortgaged everything for the Catawissa Train
Station. It seems almost every time you find a good opportunity like this, it's at the
It took nearly took 12 years before I could think of buying one, in 1996
that changed. I spent a lot of time looking and taking pictures of cabooses meanwhile. I
found a lot of them in upstate New York being used for campsites, cabins, back-yard
fun-houses, etc. Most of them were wooden cabooses with no trucks. Some were FREE
others could be had for a couple hundred. Trying to move a wooden caboose is very hard and
Remember me telling you about steel cabooses for $500? I was told of a person
who bought 90 of them for $350 each! I don't know if it was a rumor, but I think if
you could buy 90 cabooses in late 198? it probably is true. So I give the guy a call, he
said he really had 90 but only has 40 left at $4500 each, this was in 1996.
And they where only 100 miles from me, after calling about moving them. I found out it
would cost about the same to move one or four with a 50 ton crane and low bed trucks.
So I called the guy back and asked what he would sell 8 of them for,
after a couple days horse trading and talking, I ended up with all 8 of them for $3200
each. Below is a cost breakdown to move them to the station.
|Purchase Price for 8 cabooses $3200.00@
||Sub-Total = $25600.00
|Laid Rail, Ties and Stone for 8 $1550.00@
||Sub-Total = $12400.00
|Had to move 103 miles by 2 railroad
|Sub-Total = $ 5424.00
|Move them 1 mile crane/trucks $1000.00@
||Sub-Total = $ 8000.00
|Painting exterior & interior
|Sub-Total = $22400.00
|Total for one caboose
should add $4000 to this to be safe!
|Total for 8 $73,824.00
Don't forget to add at least 400hrs of your time + many many many wasted phone calls!
Since 1996 we added 5 more cabooses, two in 1997 and three in 1998 which we put
on the Rupert Train Bridge.
I owe many thanks to
Mr. J. Kelley & all the Conrail employee's for the super jobs they did..
Adding more photos of them later, being shipped by truck, rail and some of them being
lifted with a crane.
|Below is from
This is a copy of Mr. Hall reply on buying & moving cabooses.
Before you even think of purchasing a caboose, read what Mr. Hall has to say!!!
NIGHTHAWK COMMS wrote in article
I've been looking for a LVRR caboose for a while now. They are hard to
Be careful of these web or catalogue agencies...they know where the
and tag on a few $1000s for themself. If you see a bunch of rotting
(like in Altoona) just call the RR direct.
Mr. Hall's reply
Sure some people do tack on a lot of extra $ but most only tack on a
few....this is called commerce.
MOST railroads let bids on their scrap. Most scrap bids are an annual
contract that requires previous experience in the scrap business and
between $1,000,000 and $10,000,000 in insurance to work on RR property and
a high bid for an entrance ticket. Brokers of cars have to compete with
and/or work with scrapers for large lots of material that may include
wrecked and burned equipment, pure scrap, bridges, re-rolling rail, spikes,
tie plates, etc. When I USED to broker this stuff I'd have to buy TONS of
junk in order to get two or three hacks and the negotiate with the guys I
was bidding against to buy the junk I didn't want. Typically I'd pay the
railroad about $3000.00 for a hack in any shape. I also usually had to
repair the cars to move by rail (move by rail $1.30/mile)(after working out
getting the job done in a "cloed" union shop by non-union labor because the
union boys wern't allowed to work on them) to the tune of $2300 for a brake
job, $1500 for changing out old plain bearing trucks for new acceptable
roller bearing ones, $300 replacing missing safety appliances, etc. and
then nearly bribe some jerk clerk who couldn't figure out how to get the
car into the railroad's system to get it moved since it's number had been
retired and "the computer says it can't move." Then the cars were too far
gone to repair to roll on their own had to be hauled by highway at about
$1200 for loading plus $1.10 per mile for each of two trucks, one for the
carbody and one for the trucks. The railroads that sold the cars wanted
them gone within 5 days of the sale. My turn around on selling them was
usually 3 to 6 months so I'd move them and store them and protect them from
the vandals and theives, insure myself against lawyers and their clients.
Usually I'd have about $8,000 in a car that I MIGHT be able to sell for
$9,000 and somebody would always want to talk me down in price because,
"Hey, da railroads 'give' them things away just ta get rid of them, I'll
give ya $2,000 fer it."
Buying one from a private party was always fun too! They either paid
someone like me to do all of the above or paid more to do it themselves
because the had to pay the "tuition" of learning the system. They wanted
out what they had in and they had pulled it off of live rail, let their
housemover buddy demolish anything that had ever looked like running gear,
moved it 65 miles from the nearest railroad, welded the wheels to a piece
of track, and remodeled it for $10,000. The best I could sell it for would
be $5,000 and somebody would have to reverse the process to get it to their
place for a total of $13,000.
Sorry to sound a bit angry here but this kind of thing takes A LOT of
heavy, hard work and cold hard cash. I sold many coaches, diners,
sleepers, lounges, hacks, locomotives, cranes, motorcars, rail, ties,
ballast, track machines and made some good money. I also lost my shirt on a
few of them. I exported equipment to all kinds of exotic place overseas
including Austrailia, China, India, Indonesia...and even traveled to Osage
City, Kansas where I fell for a local beautiful, blonde, heartbreaker.
An unsold car could run up storage costs at the railroad standard rate of
$45 a month and several cars could get HUGE real fast. There were just too
few customers and too many long nights with union stewards, shop foremen,
yard clerks and superintendents who had hundereds of thousands of tons of
freight to move and not enough time to mess around with one or two old,
condemned, cars. And house movers and equipment movers and heavy haulers
with an axle falling through an old bridge deck at 4:30am, stuck in the
mud, knocking down traffic signals, breaking load tie-downs, willfully
violating load, width, and height limits, getting set out for oversize load
curfews (Kansas requires that all oversize loads be off the highways when
school busses are on the roads and after dark. That gives you between 9:00
am and 2:10pm to move most days.) sideswiping building, automobiles,
bridges and public utilities, jacking up cars in high winds, on soft ground
or in places so as to create a 'public nusance'. And then there were the
vandals, arsonists, parts hunters, and transients who found the cars
palacial residential abodes...at least until they could not stand the
mounting collection of their own fecal matter in all of the corners and
moved on. And there is my personal favorite, graffeti "Artists"...these
ill-concieved vaginal farts could wipe out the value of a car in minutes
and the city would fine ME for not cleaning it up.
This is why I went back into full time employment in railroad operations
after only 3 years away from the job. I still have to deal with cranky
union stewards, shop foremen, yard clerks and superintendents but on even
turf! (most of the time).
Now then, I would like to direct you to some fine folks in the brokerage
business: Anderson Steel Flange Railway Equipment Comapny in Iowa and D.
F. Barnhardt & Associates in North Carolina and John Clark in Southern
California. I have done business with all of these folks and found them to
be very honest, very capable, and right nice to deal with. I would not
recommend them if I didn't know them! They'll even tell you what the
selling price is and exactly how much they are making on the deal just like
a realestate agent on your house.
Above is a copy of Mr. Hall reply on buying &
She probably thinking?? (Not another
Also we have a 1910 Reading Railroad Station
where the cabooses are!
Welcome to my railroad hobby.
railroad equipment and properties
which includes, 1910 Train Station, 13 cabooses, 2 bridges and a tunnel!
I restored the 1910 Train Station in 1980, it was in very bad shape. It
overlooks the Susquehanna River & St. Lawrence & Hudson
Railroad, which you can watch three to six freight trains pass a day, this is a great
place for interesting train watching and photo taking. We are catering to people who love
seeing trains and want to fall asleep to the sound of trains. Our cabooses are only 200
We are also thinking about making the upstairs in the station a B&B. In 1996 we
purchased eight railroad cabooses, 1997 two more and 1998 three. So far we have thirteen
of them, which four are completely refurbished with special accommodations, Full
size & Bunkbeds, new knotty pine wood work, AC,
heaters, refrigerators and microwaves.
We started renting cabooses late in 1999 and
most of the people that stayed over are returning this year.
I'm going to open in April this year, we don't bother opening in the winter, but we
received so many request, that I'm thinking about insulating the floors in each caboose
and staying open all year.
Looking for Conrail, Norfolk Southern, Erie - Lackawanna, CP, Penn Central, EL, NS,
NW, PC, cabooses.
Two of the 13 cabooses are ready for overnight stays, you
can call the number below for prices and more information.
THE CATAWISSA RAIL ROAD CO. AND WHISTLE STOP FENCE
119 Pine Street
Catawissa, Pa. 17820
See what it takes to move a REAL CABOOSE
to your back yard.
Just finished my caboose video!
TOTAL ONLY $60.00
See what it takes to move 14
REAL CABOOSES to your back yard.
NOTE read this first!
This is not a Hollywood made movie, does not have anywhere near the cinematic quality of
a standard Hollywood movie.
It's only a homespun video tape!
My main objective is to show you what's evolved in moving a caboose, before you buy one.
There are some scenes that are a little grainy, also s little camera shake caused by,
for example, an unsteady hand.
Most of these clips were shot from inside a crane, heavy pay loader, moving vehicles
or hanging on the side of a railroad bridge,etc.
Hope you get the idea?
(Example: Videoing from semi-truck on the interstate)
Which is petty cold.
You'll see my Penn Central Caboose only 15 feet away going down Interstate
80 about seventy miles an hour and listen to the other truckers comments on there CB's
These are live action clips, there is no AUCTION, CUT, RETAKE
when you have a 50 ton crane waiting at $700 per hour.
How often do you get to see REAL footage of moving a
caboose or steam engine.
Here, you get the REAL
You will not be disappointed if you buy this movie.
Do not buy it, if your "a movie critic" this
is not a Bambi movie.
Buying & Moving Cabooses nothing other than that!