Posts Tagged ‘Conrail caboose’

CSX Donates Caboose to Conrail Group

September 5, 2020

CSX has donated a caboose to the Conrail Historical Society.

Extended-vision caboose No. 22130, which still wears its Conrail livery, was retired by CSX earlier this year.

It was built in August 1970 by by International Car Company for the Reading Company and is was one of just 10 class N-20 cabooses among the more than 2,500 waycars on the Conrail roster.

The Conrail group began talking with CSX in 2018 about acquiring the caboose and the railroad agreed to donate it once the car had been retired.

CSX also agreed to make some repairs and provide transportation of the car from Tennessee, where it was in service before retirement.

The caboose is now on the New York, Susquehanna & Western and is expected to be moved to the Delaware, Lackawaxen & Stourbridge Railroad in Honesdale, Pennsylvania.

The DL&S plans to restore the Conrail livery and use the caboose on excursions starting in 2022.

When Big Blue Used Cabooses

August 29, 2020

The way back machine has transported us to a time when railroads still used cabooses. We’ve landed in Berea on April 20, 1985, in time to see a passing train with a caboose.

It may not be obvious but Conrail No. 21237 is special. It was one of 113 N-21 cabooses that the railroad ordered.

It would be the only order of cabooses that Conrail would place.

The N-21 class were built by Fruit Growers Express and had additional seating to accommodate deadheading crews.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

From Pennsy to Penn Central to Conrail

June 25, 2020

This N-5C class former Pennsylvania Railroad cabin car that has been given Conrail colors and markings. On the Pennsy it had roster number 477834 and received roster number 23014 from Penn Central. It is seen in Alliance on its former home rails in December 1978.

Photograph by Robert Farkas

Along Ohi-Rail in Minerva

February 15, 2020

Here are two from Ohi-Rail in Minerva on Aug. 19, 2010.

There is a road in Minerva that parallels Ohi-Rail’s yard. These stored locomotives and cabooses were visible at the west and of the yard.

In the top photo are Ohi-Rail No. 102 and Minerva Scenic Railway No. 18.

The MSR used Ohi-Rail trackage but only lasted a few years and was out of business at the time this photo was taken.

In the bottom photo are former a Canadian National vans (caboose), an ex-Conrail caboose, and an ex-Pennsylvania Railroad cabin car.

Photographs by Robert Farkas

Gonna Make That Caboose Shine

September 17, 2019

A volunteer at the Wabash Valley Railroad Museum in Terre Haute, Indiana, works to clean a former Conrail caboose.

This N21 caboose was one of 113 cars that Conrail purchased new from Virginia Fruit Growers Express.

The museum bought it from CSX and moved it to Terre Haute from Paris, Illinois, in September 2018.

During its service with Conrail No. 21264 operated between Indianapolis and Peoria, Illinois. In its final years of service it was assigned to local service in Paris.

The caboose sat in the weeds for a decade before being “rescued” by the museum.

Now an Oldie But Goodie

September 13, 2018

Conrail has been gone for 19 years, but it doesn’t seem like it because there are so many reminders of it still around.

For starters Conrail still lives in the form of Conrail Shared Assets territories in Detroit and on the East Coast.

Also, there are still numerous freight cars still in Conrail markings running around.

A handful of cabooses still wearing their Conrail colors and markings are also still out there.

One of those used to be assigned to a CSX local in Marion.

This image was made in June 2015 when the local still had a touch of Big Blue. It is shown returning to the yard.

I’ve since seen locals working in Marion, but not with cabooses.

It Must Have Been Serendipity

December 24, 2016




On the day of the Akron Railroad Club’s end of the year dinner, I spent the morning in Pittsburgh with my friend Adam.

We were driving down the main drag of New Brighton, Pennsylvania, when I spotted something on the Fort Wayne Line of Norfolk Southern that I wanted to check out.

I had seen a Conrail caboose sitting on a siding attached to a work train. There was no locomotive with the train so it probably was sitting there for the weekend.

What a coincidence that on the day that I would be attending a program that evening about Conrail I would see a piece of Conrail.

It has been 17 years since Big Blue became a fallen flag, but traces of it still abound.

Pa. Museum’s Long Weekend Has Conrail Theme

June 18, 2016

The annual night at the museum at the Lake Shore Railway Museum in North East, Pennsylvania, will feature a Conrail theme this year.

Lake Shore Railway MuseumThe museum plans to make its former New York Central U25B No. 2500 look as though it is in its first days of Conrail service.

Also being highlighted will be a Penn Central transfer caboose that became Conrail No. 18374.

The caboose is the museum’s latest acquisition and was assigned to the Erie, Pennsylvania, area in the 1980s and 1990s. It was later retired by CSX, by which time it was parked in Dunkirk, New York.

The musum will open at noon on Saturday, June 19, and remain open for 28 hours through 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 19.

The event features track car rides, museum tours and staged night scenes.

Longtime Rivals Now Sit Side by Side

January 2, 2016

PRR cabin car in Tyrone

Conrail caboose

For decades the New York Central and the Pennsylvania Railroad were fierce rivals. Then the railroad industry fell upon hard times in the 1950s and someone got the idea that these two rivals should join forces.

We all know how that worked out or, more to the point, didn’t work out. Penn Central filed for bankruptcy protection in June 1970, just over two years after the PRR and NYC got married.

In time, most assets of PC were folded into Conrail, which had a longer and, arguably, more successful lifespan than had PC.

I was recently in Tyrone, Pennsylvania. It’s a former Pennsy town, being located on the mainline that ran between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

A replica of a PRR passenger station is now the home of a historical society and on its lawn sit two cabooses.

Correct that. On the lawn sit a caboose and a cabin car, the latter being the nomenclature that the PRR used to describe what most lay people say is a caboose.

The caboose is not painted in New York Central colors. It looks like it did when Conrail retired it on June 19, 1994.

But it has the shape of a NYC caboose and a check of the Conrail caboose roster determined that it was, indeed, built in March 1963 for the Central.

Both cars sit on what was once a leg of a wye between the mainline and the Bald Eagle Branch. One leg of that branch is used today by short line Nittany & Bald Eagle. The other leg has been abandoned.

But a small portion of it remains to remind everyone that the trains passing on the nearby mainline may be operated by Norfolk Southern, but there is a colorful history here that is worth remembering and commemorating.

So long as there are people alive who remember the mighty oval or the mighty keystone, there will continue to be a rivalry over two companies that have not existed for more than 40 years.

That is how I know that at least one viewer of this post will take notice of the fact that the ex-PRR cabin car got top billing over the ex-Conrail (nee NYC) caboose.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders

What Were They Thinking About?

February 21, 2015

Conrail MTO loco

Conrail MTO caboose

It’s early April 1982 in my hometown of Mattoon, Ill. I have just finished my work shift at the Journal Gazette.

I was a reporter there, but on this day I filled in as wire editor for a guy who had the day off. That meant having to start early, very early. It was around 5 a.m. or so when I walked in.

For reasons I no longer remember, after work I drove downtown. An unusual spring snow squall had descended upon east central Illinois as I left the office.

There had been a going away party for a guy in the advertising department who I had gotten to know.

We shared an interest in photography and had spent hours talking about making photographs.

I had taken my personal camera to work to make some color photographs of his last day at the newspaper. My work camera would have had black and white film loaded in it.

I don’t remember how I learned of this approaching train. I might have gotten out of my car to walk somewhere or maybe I saw the crossing gates go down.

But I heard a train horn blowing on the former New York Central mainline to St. Louis, which was owned by Conrail at the time.

At the time, seeing any train on this line was a rarity. The overhead traffic had been removed in summer 1980. A local worked on the line for a while.

Less than a month earlier, Conrail had received permission to abandon the ex-NYC between Paris and Pana, Ill.

Within a year, these rails would be ripped up. But for the next 120 days the rails must remain in place in the event that someone wanted to buy the line and operate it as a railroad.

I scrambled to get into position to get off the top photo, which is the best of the three frames I made of this train approaching the crossing at North 16th Street.

To the left is what is left of the passenger platform for the NYC station, which is out of sight to the left.

In the bottom photo the train is about to cross North 15th Street. I’ve often wondered why this train was out here.

Perhaps the crane had been out picking up things to be removed in preparation for removing the rails.

Or maybe the crane had been stored elsewhere and needed to be moved off the line now that it was no longer being used to haul freight and Conrail was in the process of walking away from it.

I also often have wondered what was going through the minds of the two railroaders on the back of the caboose.

Were they making the last trip they would ever make over these rails? If not, it was likely one of their last trips.

What are they thinking? Are they reflecting on their railroad careers?

It is a mystery for which I will never know the answer. More than three decades later, I’m glad that I was in the right place at the right time and had a camera with me.

Article and Photographs by Craig Sanders