Western Railway Preservaton Society

- WSLCo Caboose #3 -

WSLCo Caboose #3

Help Restore West Side Lumber Company Short Caboose #3

West Side Lumber Company short Caboose #3 was purchased by the Western Railway Preservation Society in March 2010, with the intent of restoring it to a 1920's era operating condition. Work will be starting mid 2010.

The caboose was heavily modified during its West Side and Cherry Valley tourist railroad stint in the 1970's through the early 1980's, with the original interior stripped out and windows and benches added. Over time, the ends of the caboose's long sill beams and the end beams have also rotted, and will require the replacement of the whole wood frame. The original Carter/Hammond 4'-0" wheel base trucks have also been replaced with the more common flat car 3'-7" wheel base trucks.

A large amount of time, resources, and funds will be required to make this restoration as accurate and correct as possible. Historical information, and especially period West Side pictures of caboose #3, would help tremendously in the restoration effort. The WRPS would like to restore caboose #3 to an operating condition as it was in the 1920's. More History >

If you would like to be part of this project, please contact Mike Roberts at 360-834-4638 or e-mail him at: tank5_mike@yahoo.com.

If you'd prefer to contribute to the restoration project in another way, donations are needed and always appreciated. A tax-deductible donation may be sent to the address below and please earmark for the "Caboose #3 Restoration":

Western Railway Preservation Society

PO Box 1112

Baker City, OR 97814

- WSLCo Caboose #3 News -

August 2012
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  • Documentation and plan work continues on short caboose #3. This shot shows an outer sill beam and wall studs – not a lot of original wood to work with here!


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  • This end of #3 is even worse – the beam has rotted off back into the truck bolster, and the wall stud ends are completely rotted, too. Lots of insect damage as well.


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  • This shot is of the center of the sill beam. More bad news, and also something unexpected. The cut with the drilled hole is where a stud was removed to make room for the center side window. This missing stud supported the cupola – it sure explains why it has settled of couple inches into the caboose body. The other cut appears to be mistake made while the caboose was being built in the 1920’s. Possibly somebody’s measurements were off a bit? This cut was filled with cotton waste. There is a matching cut on the other side of the caboose body, too. Also note that both cuts were painted to try to prevent wood rot.

    Our next work weekend is September 8-9.

    June 2012
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  • With several generous donations now in the WRPS Caboose 3 restoration account, it’s time to officially start the rebuild project! This year we’ll concentrate on documenting the caboose, and getting a set of plans and a material list ready to go for 2013. Here, Ken and Arnie start to strip the rotted original siding off to see what remains inside the walls.


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  • A look at the exposed cupola end shows what was modified when the side windows were added years ago. Several diagonal support beams were cut, and the remains were tacked into place to support the window frames. This explains the very noticeable sway in the caboose body when it was moved from California!


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  • The other end of the caboose body shows the same modification. We’ll find the same in the end walls for sure. Lots of blocking was also added so the interior siding and seats could be added. There is rot throughout the car body as well, and we’re not sure how much of the original wood will be salvageable.


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  • Only one original step bracket was on the caboose when we moved it. Arnie has fabricated seven new ones and repaired the original. We hope to get several other replacement parts made this year.

    Our next work weekend is August 11-12.

    March 2011
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  • We were fortunate to get to visit the privately-owned sister to our #3, West Side’s short caboose #4 (renumbered #6 at end of service). Many thanks to Earl Failla for letting us spend a very hospitable afternoon with him, and allowing us to document #4. Both cabooses are about in the same condition, but #4's interior is very complete. The #4's cupola was removed when the caboose was moved many years ago. The interior of #4 will become the template for the gutted #3.


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  • Well, the word "rustic" comes to mind of this shot of one of the cupola seats in #4, taken from where the stove would sit. Very bare-bones, made out of 2 X 4s. planks, and siding material. The ladder is made from various bits of scrap pipe. Missing are the padded seat and back cushions. Probably not exactly how it looked when first built, but it’s what we will work from while rebuilding #3.


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  • The bench on the opposite side from the stove is very basic as well. The brake lever brackets are on the bench, and other pieces are on the floor. No idea if the bench had a cushion or not.


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  • A shot of one of the small windows on the "long" end of the caboose, and a bit of the original door construction, too. After seeing #4's wall bracing and tension rods, it's apparent that a lot of #3's bracing was cut away to fit in the larger end windows and side windows.


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  • A shot of the emergency brake pipe and valve - long gone from #3.


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  • This short clay tile is what kept the hot 6" stove pipe from touching the wood roof. Needless to say, not a very water-tight fit either. We'll have to have one of these made for #3. The roofs of the West Side cabooses were covered in tar paper, probably replaced once a year.


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  • A shot of #4's brake wheel and upper brake staff support bracket.


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  • The brake ratchet and pawl on #4 was a bit of a surprise. There is one similar on #3, but we felt it may not be original. A picture taken in 1942 appears to show this style in use on #3.


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  • An outside shot of one of the small end windows on #4. These are very basic in design and construction.


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  • Something you don't see very often - one of the trucks on #4 has wood brake beams.


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  • A shot of the odd little stove that was used in #4. This may be a tough one to locate for #3. The manufacturer appears to be "DUDLEY" and the model number appears to be "322". Any ideas out there, anybody?

    September 2010
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  • Back on its trucks, caboose #3 has been cleaned out and the plywood covering the windows for the move has been removed.


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  • A look at the last of the 'B' end beam and the buffer block. Pretty rough, but the two pieces hold the clues to making the replacements.


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  • With the buffer block removed, here’s a good shot of how the West Side hung the draft gear. Two 1/4 inch thick plates hold the draft beams to the center beams, and supported the coupler gear. This allowed the use of Douglas Fir draft beams instead of Oak. This method was used for link and pin as shown, as well as the later knuckle couplers.


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  • Looking a bit forlorn, caboose #3 sits in the September sun. The new flat car for West Side tank car #5 sits behind her - a good portent of what's to come for the caboose.

    May 2010
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  • End railings and loose parts have been removed from caboose #3. The heavy end railings added by the West Side and Cherry Valley Ry. were the only thing holding the rotted end beams together.


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  • The 'B' end (brake end of caboose) buffer block will be left in position to avoid any more damage. It will become the pattern for two new buffer blocks. An old sheet of plywood over the platform kept this end from deteriorating.


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  • The 'A' end is in worse condition. Both rotted main beams on the right are completely missing back to the truck bolster, which also has some soft spots.


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  • The few pieces of the two end beams worth saving. Enough clues remain to design and cut the two new replacements.


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  • Caboose #3 looks a bit forlorn after the lower windows have been removed for the move. The rotted platform boards will also be removed.


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  • Plywood now covers all of the window openings. The first trailer has been positioned to load the trucks.


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  • The 'A' end truck has been winched out and rolled up onto the trailer. The truck bearings were loosened and heavily oiled the day before, and both trucks rolled easily.


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  • With the caboose body now carefully balanced on two long beams and four twelve-ton bottle jacks, the 'B' end truck is winched out for loading.


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  • The trucks have been loaded, and its time to back the second trailer under the caboose body.


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  • After some careful maneuvering, the caboose is ready to be lowered onto the trailer. It took about two hours to lower the caboose onto the blocking.


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  • The trucks have been blocked and heavily chained to the trailer.


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  • Strapped, chained, and tarped, caboose #3 is ready for its several hundred mile trip to McEwen, OR. and the home of the Sumpter Valley Railway.


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  • A long day of travel later, a forklift makes easy work of moving the caboose body onto temporary blocking. What took hours of work in Trinidad, CA. took just a few minutes. The trucks are already in the restoration shop, and will be evaluated in June.


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  • The Caboose #3 Move Crew: from the left, Mike Stewart (OR), Arnie Lipshetz (WA), Ken Hittle (OR), Mike Roberts (WA), Adam Navokovich (WA), and WRPS Vice President Jerry Huck (WA). Congratulations for a job well done!

    April 2010
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    • Western Railway Preservation Society Vice president Jerry Huck surveys the latest WRPS acquisition – West Side Lumber Co. short caboose #3, now located near Trinidad, CA At about nineteen feet long over the link and pin couplers, it’s a short one!


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    • The end beams are badly rotted, as well as the tenons on the ends of the long main beams. The West Side and Cherry Valley end railings will be replaced with reproductions of the originals. The link and pin draft gear is surprisingly complete.


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    • A look inside one of the truck journals shows that it's still well oiled with no rust. The bearings will be lubricated with heavy oil prior to the move. These are WSLCo 3'-7" wheel base trucks, not the original Carter/Hammond 4'-0" wb trucks. Note the staggered two truck springs instead of the normal four for freight service.


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    • Side view shows that a lot will have to be done to get the caboose looking like it did on the West Side. The WS&CV doors and windows will go. Surprisingly, the siding appears to be original. The holes for the original curved side grab irons are visible.


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    • One original step bracket survives – enough to replicate the seven new replacements.


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    • One original end beam support bracket also survives. Three new ones will have to be fabricated. Also note that the original ends of the end railings also survive.


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    • A view of caboose #3 at the end of West Side trains operations – quite a difference from today’s appearance. Photo courtesy of Fritz Klinke.

      Expected move date for caboose #3 is in late May, with the trucks on one trailer and the caboose body on another for the long trip to McEwen, OR.