Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh No. 280

BR&P No. 280The Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway connected its three namesake cities with a Y-shaped railroad. In business for less than 30 years before being taken over by the B&O in 1932, the BR&P was a well-run mainline railroad which came to roster 66 of this class of caboose.

The #280 was part of the third lot of this class of caboose built for the BR&P in October, 1923 by Standard Steel Car in Butler, Pennsylvania. Standard Steel constructed the #265 through the last in the class, #314, in the time period of September – December, 1923. Prior to this, the class car #150 was home built in the BR&P’s DuBois, PA shops in January, 1914. The second group was built by the Mt. Vernon Car Company in Mt. Vernon, Illinois in April & May, 1918. These cars were all steel underframe, center cupola cabooses.

When the B&O took over in 1932, the entire class of this caboose was still is existence. The cabooses were classified as I-10’s by the B&O and were renumbered C2600 – C2665. However, only 62 cars were renumbered since BR&P 260, 261, 271, & 297 were wrecked before gaining B&O numbers C-2611, C-2612, C2622, and C2648.

In 1961, the B&O began a modernization program of the I-10’s at the DuBois shops which included covering some of the side windows, modifying the toilet facilities, adding water tanks, replacing steps, changing stem handbrakes to Ajax type handbrakes, and modifying the cupola windows. The #280 was reworked in 1968.

In 1967, 14 of the I-10’s were sold to the C&O and renumbered C&O 90357 – 90370. In 1971, the C&O sold eight of them back, but the B&O never renumbered them. The #280 was not part of this group sold.

B&O C2631
Industry, N.Y., 1979

The last I-10 was retired in 1977. The museum acquired the #280 (B&O C2631) in 1979. It was the first piece of equipment to be rostered by what would become the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum.

The car saw a major restoration in 1980 as B&O C2631. However, the outdoors is not kind to wooden cabooses, so the car was again in need of a major restoration. This time, however, the car is going to be backdated to its BR&P appearance and has been undergoing a complete restoration inside the museum’s restoration building. The hope is for this caboose to emerge and return to service within the next few years.

The museum is seeking more information for the restoration of this caboose including drawings, photographs, etc. Please contact us if you might have something to contribute. All photographs will be returned.

Technical Data

  • Built 1923 at Standard Steel Car in Butler, Pa.
  • Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh No. 280 (1923)
  • Baltimore & Ohio C2631 (1932)
  • Donated to our museum in 1979
  • Restored in 1980
  • Currently undergoing second restoration

Service History

Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway caboose No. 280 was constructed by Standard Steel Car Co. in Butler, Pa., and released on October 31, 1923. In 1932 the railroad was acquired by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, and our caboose became part of B&O class I-10 and was renumbered as B&O C2631 in 1935.

In April 1951, B&O replaced the original K-type brake valves with more modern AB-valves. This was the first major modification since the car was built in 1923. Assigned to East Salamanca, N.Y., in 1951, it was briefly assigned to Clarion Jct. in 1953. Caboose C2631 returned to East Salamanca and was placed in the shop for repairs in November 1953. It was fully repainted in March 1954 and returned to service the following month. In 1955 the conductor’s emergency air brake valve was relocated up to the cupola position.

By November 1955, caboose C2631 was assigned to the 2nd Subdivision pool operating between Rider, Pa., and East Salamanca, N.Y. Harold O. Jacobson was the assigned conductor. Our caboose received a fresh coat of paint at East Salamanca in 1956, with a large “B&O” replacing the spelled-out “BALTIMORE & OHIO” lettering. The car was painted again in January 1958 at East Salamanca, and the safety chains across the end rails were replaced with a welded bar that August. The car remained in the 2nd Subdivision pool, assigned to conductor John T. Sipko starting in 1958. Bernie L. Craft was briefly the assigned conductor in 1961.

Our caboose was sent to the shops at DuBois, Pa., in May 1961 for upgrades and modernization. When the car was finally released in October, it emerged with updated cupola windows, a new water and toilet system, new steel vestibule steps, and Ajax-type geared brake wheels. Caboose C2631 returned to the 2nd Subdivision pool, assigned to conductor Joseph M. Lenda until October 1966.

Caboose C2631 made its first recorded trip to Rochester in 1970. It was a brief visit, as the car was sent to the shops in Chillicothe, Ohio, for repainting in January 1971. The car emerged with a yellow body, small B&O logo, and minimal lettering. It returned to our area with a brief visit to Silver Springs in October 1971 before being sent back to East Salamanca in August 1972.

In 1973, Chessie System was formed as a holding company to acquire the Chesapeake & Ohio, Baltimore & Ohio, and Western Maryland railroads. The end of the line came for C2631 in January 1974 when it was sent to Chillicothe and retired after more than fifty years of faithful service. Aware of the mass-retirement of Class I-10 cabooses, our museum made a written inquiry to the management of Chessie System inquiring about the possible acquisition of a former BR&P car. The response was in the affirmative and the car was delivered to Rochester by the end of the year. Stored at the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville shops, the former BR&P No. 280 was placed on track at our museum in 1979. Restored once by museum volunteers in 1980, the car is undergoing its second restoration and is expected to be released for service again soon.

Thanks to historian Brian DeVries for providing the detailed service history of this historic car.

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