information about Burlington cabooses

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Sun Jan 29 15:06:00 EST 2006

Hi all -

I just met Chuck Stewart in Chapel Hill and he told me about your
group. I am looking for information and advice about restoring a
caboose (or possibly 2) that were donated in 1993 to the City of
Burlington, NC by Norfolk and Western. The City Council voted to sell
the cabooses in Nov. 2005 and I have made a proposal to them that I
will restore the one that is downtown by the old depot. (The other is
518562 located in City Park in Burlington.) The one I am currently
working on is 518654 - a Class C31P built in 1970.

Although I have a passion for trains and a large model/toy caboose
collection, I have limited knowledge of restoration work on train cars.
I do, however, have lots of skills and experience with restoring old
houses, carpentry, painting, and museum display. I'm hoping that there
will be some of you out there who will be willing to answer questions
for me. I am also working with the Greensboro (NC) chapter of the
National Historic Railway Society - but I need lots of help from people
who know the N&W. I own and have read "Cabooses of the Norfolk and
Western" by Robert Bowers and James Brewer - so I have the general
information about the series 518500 through 518699.

Here's some questions for starters:

Does anyone know any specific history of caboose # 518654? (I have the
specific floor plan provided by N&W as it appeared in 1976)

What is your opinion about painting it red (as it was when it was
delivered to Burlington) or returning it to the blue which I believe it
was originally? (I have detailed photos of how it looked in 1993)

Should I restore the interior to the way I think it was in 1970 (3
bunks etc.) or to 1976 when it went into pool service and the bunks
were removed, the conductor's desk relocated, etc.?

What would the interior color have been in 1970 and in 1976 or later?
I read somewhere that there was an interior color change from light
green to gray at some point. The color of paint that is still clinging
to the backs of some of the metal interior signs appears to be a medium
to dark gray - not green at all. Photos of interiors from the 70s make
the paint appear to be high gloss. Does anyone know paint colors and
brands with dates used?

Where can I obtain some missing items such as the battery powered
radio, tools for the tool locker, N&W record keeping books, etc.? I
want to make the interior look as authentic as possible.

Are there stencils/patterns for the NW logo on the sides?

Were the interior floors painted a color or sealed with varnish?

Does anyone who is knowledgeable about cabooses of this era live close
enough to Burlington to meet with me to take a look at what I've got to
work with?

Thanks for any help you can give me!!!!! I really enjoy reading your
questions and responses about the N&W!!!

Ann Hobgood

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