Cupola Caboose, Northern Pacific, 1923
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 was used as bunk facilities. The #1781 left North Freedom on October 22, 2019 to a location in Iowa closer to the owner’s home.