Uintah Caboose Restoration

Yes – restoration on the caboose has been completed! Caboose #3 of the Uintah Railway was obtained in very poor condition. It had been used for farm storage for many years and was sitting on bare ground with one side against a dirt embankment. There was such extensive rotting on the under body, floor and one side that it had to have interior and exterior bracing just to be moved to its current location – Cross Orchards Historic Site, 3073 F Road.

In the summer of 1996 members of the Rio Grande Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society decided to attempt a full restoration. The car was disassembled and a new car was made, re-using original parts and materials as much as possible. The new under body frame beams were salvaged from an old standard gauge flatcar and were ripped to size by Skilsaw. The frame beams and end sills were attached with mortise and tenon joints and secured in place with steel tension rods salvaged from the original car.

Most of the car’s vertical frame members (studs) were in good condition except for the rotted bottoms that were repaired by splicing in new wood sections. Long angle braces with rot on one end were trimmed to replace the shorter rotted pieces. New wood was used to replace the long pieces.

The car now has all siding windows, roofing doors and exterior hardware installed. This includes steps, end rails, ladders and couplers. The Chapter has also placed it on a short section of track with a stairway and platform for visitor access.

As part of the final touches, the group designed a “typical caboose interior’ based on the D&RGW long cabooses since there were no known interior pictures or details of the original car. Both cupola “platforms” with seats, the conductor’s desk and bench seats with seat cushions have also been added.