Former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad caboose C-2019 was rededicated on Thursday, September 26th at 1:30 PM! The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum’s staff has been working on the restoration, both inside and out, of the I-5 type caboose since its relocation in April of 2000, and it is now ready to unveil! Below, we’ve added some new photos from the ribbon cutting!
The Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum is now the permanent home of former Baltimore & Ohio Railroad caboose C-2019. We have undertaken its restoration,care and upkeep as a permanent memorial to the great influence that the mighty B & O had on the early days of Wheeling, when it proudly held its title of “Gateway to the West”. This particular caboose is an I-5 style caboose that was built by the B&O in 1926.
Formerly, this caboose resided on the Wheeling, West Virginia waterfront, and was used as an information and ticket booth. The museum purchased the caboose in April of 2000, and moved it to its current location. On this page, you can see some of the history of this railroad workhorse, along with both of its previous relocations and its current state, restored to its former glory! When you stop by to tour the Kruger Street Toy & Train Museum, say hello to this champion of the rails! Or for even more fun, why not attend the Wheeling Caboose Day, held in April each year, and help us celebrate Wheeling’s railroad heritage!
The Restored Wheeling Caboose is Dedicated: September 26, 2002
The “Wheeling Caboose” Moves to its New Home in April of 2000
Ancient History: City of Wheeling Receives C-2019 in 1980
B&O I-5 Cabooses
by Dwight Jones
Beginning in 1924 and continuing to 1929, a total of 401 class I-5 cabooses were out-shopped by B&O Railroad Company shops. These cars were numbered in series C-1900 to C-2299 (one car was built new as a wreck replacement which accounts for the 401 cars occupying 400 road numbers.
The prototype car, C-1900, was built at company shops at Mt. Clare in Baltimore, as was standard practice since the Mechanical Engineering department was located adjacent to the car shops and questions or last minute revisions could easily be communicated among shop workers, draftsmen, and engineering employees.
After those initial plans were refined, the balance of the production order was assigned to B&O Railroad COmpany shops at Washington, Indiana.
Using B&O’s standard eight-wheel caboose as a platform, additional refinements and improvements were implemented in the I-5 class cars. For the first time, steel was used in the body construction – the I-5 cars featured steel ends. These were transitional cars, transitioning between the wood era of car building, and the steel era, which already had been adopted for other freight cars, as well as cabooses on some other roads.
The I-5 cars did feature wood sides and wood cupola sides and ends, but these would be the last new cabooses built by baltimore & Ohio to utilize wood in the body construction. In fact, one of the very last I-5 cars off the assembly line was built as an experiment with a steel body. One year after completion of the I-5 cars in 1929, B&O introduced a new caboose – an all steel-bodied car, in 1930. That steel-bodied car also featured bay windows instead of a cupola design – all new cabooses featured the bay window design.
Throughout the years the I-5 cabooses received various changes, upgrading and betterments. Underbody tool boxes were eliminated, “AB” brake systems were installed, original arch bar trucks were upgraded to cast-frame styles, wood end platforms were replaced by steel, and wood-top steps gave way to steel safety treads.
The most significant changes involved improvements to make the cars more stable when used in heavy duty pusher service in the mountains of West Virginia and Pennsylvania. On some cars, truck centers were increased by four feet and cars so modified were re-classed as I-5C. on other cars, the four feet increased in wheelbase was accompanied by adding scrap steel and cement in the floors to substantially increase the weight of the cars – resulting in the I-5D class. In the end, the I-5D class was determined to be the better solution, and many of the original I-5C cars later were modified to I-5D status.
Many cars also received various interior improvements such as sanitary facilities, oil stoves replacing the original coal ones and other betterments which were forced on the railroads by new laws in states such as maryland and Pennsylvania. State laws in West Virginia were not as restrictive, and cars still could operate throughout the state without the new interior equipement.
When new in the 1920s, I-5 cabooses were painted brown. Devil’s Red was adopted as the caboose color on B&O in 1941. In 1970 and 1971, a substantial number of the remaining I-5 family cars were processed through the B&O Railroad Company shops at Chillicothe, Ohio, where they were given class 1 repairs and repainted in bright yellow – a scheme dictated by parent C&O. C&O cabooses had been painted bright yellow since the mid-1950s.
The I-5 family served the railroad well and the cars could be found in use throughout all parts of the B&O. With arrival of newer bay window cabooses, the older cupola cars were relegated to branch lines, yard service, mine runs and terminal use. Many cars survived in active services throughout the 1970s.
The last car of the class was retired in 1980, after serving on the B&O for over a half century, attesting to the solid design and construction of the cars.
Today, the I-5 cars are quite common as back yard displays, museum display pieces, hunting cabins in the hills, and a host of other uses. Almost half of the total cars built are displayed around the country.