Chicago Burlington & Quincy #15

Cupola Caboose, CB&Q, January 1895

#15 at North Freedom, August 18, 2001. Paul Swanson photo

#15 at North Freedom, August 18, 2001. Paul Swanson photo

#15 arriving at North Freedom, April 22, 1988. Bill Buhrmaster photo

#15 arriving at North Freedom, April 22, 1988. Bill Buhrmaster photo

Sister caboose #14079, 1954. Paul Swanson collection.

Sister caboose #14079, 1954. Paul Swanson collection.

#15 is the second oldest caboose at Mid-Continent. It was built in CB&Q’s Aurora, Illinois shops in January 1895 and initially numbered #15. It was an NE1 class CB&Q caboose, the largest single group on CB&Q’s roster.

In a major 1904 renumbering program, #15 became #14006. The NE1 class at that time comprised the 14000-14389 and 14496-14498 series.

Although these cars were built at the road’s various shops (West Burlington, Aurora, Beardstown, Grand Crossing, Plattsmouth, and Hannibal) as well as by established car builders (Wells and French, Penninsula Car Co., and Ohio Falls Car Company) over a broad period of time, they managed to maintain a similar “family” look. The layout was fairly standard: wooden construction with a cupola at one end, side windows, and wooden trucks.

Despite their age, a few of the NE1 class cabooses survived the BN merger in 1970. The last was believed to be retired in 1976. #14006 was sold to a private individual in 1965, prior to the merger. It was resold at least once and arrived at North Freedom in April of 1988. Today it is stored unused.