New Project: "Little Red Caboose Educational Express"
Caboose SOUX 246
Fort Payne Depot Museum
There is a wonderful old relic of a bygone era that you can visit at the Depot Museum in Fort Payne, Alabama. The Caboose was acquired in 1987 from Norfolk Southern Railroad. Cabooses became obsolete when computer systems became capable of
absorbing the duties of safe train functions by the addition of electronic trackside detectors. Cabooses used to house break repair parts, and employees to do the work. These people also did flagging work. Now days, signals are automated and dispatcher controlled. Some cabooses also had places for the workers to sleep, but since the Lodging Agreement of 1964, the Railroad companies are now required to provide “sleeping rooms
(normally motels) away from noise of train movements.”
The Cab was built by Gantt Manufacturing Company in 1971 and set upon secondhand 50 ton solid bearing trucks. It was designed for local and yard service and was therefore not equipped with electricity or radios. Due to the lack of power, that had to be added. Without climate control, the caboose is too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. It has a potbelly stove and an ice box. There is still coal in a box for the stove. It has a toilet and a sink and a water tank. There is a small table on which the employees did paperwork and eat their meals. There are storage areas for clothing and equipment.
The caboose is open seasonal (closed winter months)
Coming in the future is our "Little Red Caboose Educational Express Project". The Fort Payne Depot Museum is working on a project to be done in phases.
Phase 1: Structure and Maintenance of loading dock. Building of new ramps and landings for the loading dock area. Reconditioning of loading dock door.
Phase 2: The second phase is the production of an educational experience and revitalization of the caboose interior. This will consist of computer aided technology that leads the viewer through our local history and the importance the railroad plalyed in it.
Phase 3: Our final phase will be the beautification of an area to be enjoyed by children and adults. Also installing environmentally sound turf, plus educational play equipment, and seating for all ages. To be used for children's birthday parties and also for children's educational workshops.
Donations are appreciated for this project.