Thursday, September 15, 2011

Burlington Northern Caboose 10792

The history of Bellingham is linked with trains. At the end of the 19th Century, regional lines were built to encourage economic development and to transport natural resources to market. Head on over to the Bellingham Train Museum for more information.

Today, tracks run through downtown along the shoreline carrying passengers and freight from Canada to destinations south and east. If I leave my window open at night, I can hear their haunting whistles.

Last weekend when I spent the night on our boat in Squalicum Harbor, I saw an interesting sight. It was an old caboose on a siding. You don't see many of those any more. And this one had seen better days.

This is caboose number 10792 from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railway. As you can see, she is in quite a state of disrepair. It made me curious to find out a bit about her history. Doesn't she look like she has lots of stories to tell?

I went online and found this picture of her in 1983 from the Burlington Northern photo archive. As you can see, she has changed a lot in 28 years. Her side windows have been welded over for some reason. And obviously the paint has been changed and patched over and over.

I also found a picture taken of her on the job in 1989. At that time she was seen passing through Greenland, Colorado. This was on the Colorado Joint Line that runs north and south between Denver and Pueblo. I found this picture at website. The next reference I found has her in located Vancouver, WA, in 1998.

The final reference I found was at By 2009, Caboose 10792 was in the Balmer Yard in Seattle looking basically like she does today. At this site I learned she was built in 1973, is 41 feet 8 inches long outside, and 30 feet long inside.

As I walked past I wondered what it would be like to convert her into a home. Maybe living in a float cabin has made me think a little bit out of the "boxcar." Couldn't you just imagine making the cupola into a bedroom loft? Of course, it would be the best to find an old siding where you could set her up and be able to hear and feel the trains as they rumble past. What do you think? -- Margy


  1. Oh, Margy, you can't imagine how many times I've thought I'd love to convert a caboose into a home! It was a dream of mine for years.
    I once saw a caboose with a "For Sale" sign on it, but when we stopped to look at it, a man came across a field and yelled threateningly for us to go away. Maybe he really didn't want to sell it?
    That was the closest I got. Not quite as close as I almost got to buying a tugboat to make into a live-aboard. LOL
    Thanks for the story about 10792. The Burlington-Northern was part of my life for a long time.
    — K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Interesting.... if we had trains up here I'd post train pictures also, along with the planes!

  3. Kay - Seems like we have even more in common. I saw one that said it was for sale on the Seattle website Might be a bit difficult to get it up to your place though.

    Paul - I guess there were quite a few logging railroads back in the heydey. Now even the old railbeds have disappeared into the bush.


  4. Lovely, I can picture what a great place to live it would be. Rail ... that is the way to travel, a lot more natural than that flying lark! Never heard it called a caboose before - freight wagon over here, caboose is a lot more romantic sounding xx

  5. Hi Fran - Here we go again with our different brands of English. Freight wagon sounds more like one of the freight cars as we call them. The caboose used to be the last car on the train to provide a place for the train crew and to be readily available at the end of the train for coupling new cars. - Margy

  6. great shots, i love the color in them. Great to meet a neighbor, your blog is lovely.

  7. Hi Stasha - Thanks for stopping by. This is a great part of the world isn't it. - Margy

  8. Anonymous2:20 PM

    Just saw your post. I live in a converted caboose in Northeastern PA. Check it out on "Tiny House Blog" or "Hooked on Houses. I would love your feedback.

  9. I did see you caboose on Tiny House Blog just before I saw this classic one on the tracks. It's probably what made me think a conversion. I will return and see if there is a link to you there. - Margy

    p.s. Did you see my float cabin on Tiny House Blog as well?


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy