Northern Pacific #1781

Cupola Caboose, Northern Pacific, 1923

#1781 at North Freedom, April 8, 2000. Paul Swanson photo

#1781 at North Freedom, April 8, 2000. Paul Swanson photo

BN 10975 caboose before painting, August, 1983, 35mm Kodachrome transparency. Paul Swanson photo.

BN 10975 caboose before painting, August, 1983, 35mm Kodachrome transparency. Paul Swanson photo.

Sister #1215, Livingston, MT, c.1970.  Paul Swanson collection

Sister #1215, Livingston, MT, c.1970. Paul Swanson collection

NP 24-foot caboose diagram

NP 24-foot caboose diagram

This 24-foot caboose was built by the Northern Pacific as their #1781 in 1923. The 24-foot caboose design standard first appeared on NP in 1907 as a block of one hundred cars numbered erratically in the 1000-1300 series. A later lot of cars numbered in the 1600 series were rebuilt from 19-foot cabooses. By 1917, there were 328 24-foot cabooses on the NP roster. The last group of 24-foot cabooses were numbered in the 1700 series beginning in 1921. #1781 was contained within this lot.

#1781 enjoyed a long service career. In 1970, the Northern Pacific was merged into a new railroad company called the Burlington Northern. #1781 was renumbered to BN #10975 and painted in the BN’s cascade green and white paint scheme. The car incredibly served another twelve years and was finally sold to a private individual in 1982. It was moved to North Freedom in October of that year and is presently used as bunk facilities.