Railway Heritage Centre and Train Display

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Part 2: The Story Of The Wooden Caboose

Moving The Train Video

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CN 79078 CNoR 82692
Originally CN 79078, Repainted to CNoR 82692, Pontypool, On. May16, 1976.

Canadian National Wooden Caboose No.79078

Canadian National wooden caboose No.79078 was originally built by Canadian Car and Foundry of Montreal in 1918 as a wooden box car for the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) and was numbered as 82692.

Due to financial problems, the CNoR was nationalized on September 6, 1918, and was forced to assume the management of federally owned Canadian Government Railways (CGR).

On December 20, 1918, a Privy Council order directed CNoR and CGR to be managed under the moniker Canadian National Railways (CNR) as a means to simplify funding and operations.

CNoR and CGR would not be formally merged and cease their corporate existence until January 20, 1923, the date that CNR was formally consolidated. CNoR boxcar No. 82692 was now the property of the Canadian National Railways.

In 1956 Canadian National was in need of more cabooses, or Conductors Vans as they were more formally known in Canada, due to ever increasing rail traffic. This need resulted in one hundred being built between December 1956 and November 1957. These cabooses (Conductors Vans) were built in Moncton, NB; London, ON; Winnipeg, AB; and four in VT.

In a further measure to cut costs a number of older wooden boxcars were converted to wooden cabooses. This included CNoR boxcar No.82692 which was refurbished and converted to CN caboose No.79078 in Moncton, NB. Once converted, CN caboose 79078 spent most of her time traveling the CN rail routes in that area.

Mr. Meredith Fleming bought the caboose in 1973 and had it installed on a piece of property with a fishing pond owned by him near Pontypool. Subsequently Mr. Fleming made the caboose into a comfortable cabin by adding electricity, running water, a kitchenette, a shower and toilet. Apparently a CNoR admirer, Mr. Fleming repainted the caboose to resemble a CNoR caboose and used her old CNoR boxcar number to identify her. On summer Fridays, Mr. Fleming would board the train in Toronto and arrange to be let off at his caboose. On Sunday, with a couple of fish for the conductor, he would flag down the Toronto bound train for the return trip home.

In December of 2005, Mr Fleming, now in his upper 80's, sold the caboose to Art Robinson of Whitby Iron & Metal who removed it to his sister's property on Porter Road in Bethany. Once apprised of the plans for the caboose and its= restoration, Art readily agreed to deliver the caboose to Memorial Park in Lindsay to become a part of the City of Kawartha Lakes Railway Heritage display.

Including 79078 there are nine of the original 100 Conductors Vans remaining in various states of repair.

Canadian National Conductors Van 79078 is to be restored to its 1956 origins.

Lindsay & District Model Railroaders - March 2010

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