Built for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in February 1941, No. 95100 was one of 105 “Northeastern” style steel-bodied cabooses built by the railroad between 1937-46. Our caboose is one of 53 cars built with a special cushion underframe. Cabooses with bodies made of steel were made to replace cars that had wooden bodies. Not only would they last longer, but they also afforded increased safety to the crew in the event of an accident.
ABOVE: The restored Lehigh Valley 95100 as seen in 2021, 80 years after it was built in Sayre, Pa.
The caboose was the home away from home for freight train crews, and is where the conductor would keep his office to complete his paperwork and other duties related to train operation. The brakeman would sit in the cupola to observe the train for defects or other issues. Outfitted with bunks, a stove, an icebox, and a toilet, the caboose had everything the crew would need for an overnight stay.
On April 1, 1976, Conrail took over the rail operations of six bankrupt Northeastern railroads, including the Lehigh Valley. Our caboose was one of hundreds transferred to Conrail, and was renumbered as 18632. It was rebuilt by Conrail in the late 70’s, and has relatively new trucks, wheels and couplers. The understructure and frame of the car is also in excellent condition.
It is unknown when the car was retired from service, but a number of Conrail cabooses were stored on the dead line at Renovo, PA after the end of their useful service life. Around 2005, LV 95100/CR 18632 was purchased by a private individual and moved to Manchester, N.Y., for possible inclusion in a new retail development. The development never materialized, and the caboose languished until the owner sought to have it removed from his property in 2011. Through an odd twist of events, the caboose ended up at a local scrap dealer. Actively pursuing the preservation of the car, the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum partnered with Empire-Becks Recycling to purchase and save the car from scrapping.
On October 29, 2011, LV 95100 was trucked to our museum property and placed on our siding. By November, museum volunteers made repairs so the caboose once again had functioning air brakes. On January 15, 2012, this historic caboose was placed inside our Restoration Shop. The sheet metal exterior of the car, while rusty, is in good shape overall. The interior of the car is surprisingly original and intact. Aside from new exterior end doors, new steel steps will also need to be fabricated as the originals were removed some years ago.
This caboose is a significant addition to our collection of railroad equipment that is relevant to Rochester’s railroading history, as the LV served the city directly with a branch line that terminated at Court Street (now home to well-known Dinosaur BBQ restaurant). It is our goal to restore this car to its mid-1970s appearance as an example of a Lehigh Valley caboose, to pair with our preserved Lehigh Valley RS-3m 211. The multi-year restoration of this caboose was completed in March 2022. Please visit our Support page to help donate towards the continued upkeep of this unique piece of historic railroad equipment!
- Built February 1941
- Steel body, cushion underframe
- Length over Strikers: 31′ 6″
- Typical Weight: 42,000 lbs.
- Lehigh Valley 95100 (1941)
- Conrail 18632 (1976)
- Acquired by R&GVRRM October 2011
- Restoration completed March 2022