436994 was built in the late 1920s by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The caboose was used as the railway employee’s ‘home away from home’. While working on their train, this is where the crew slept, cooked, worked and lived. It has room for 3 beds, a stove, desk for paperwork, a small sink, but not much else. Employee’s would live in these for days at a time. The cupola, the raised section on the roof, was there so the conductor of the train could see over the tops of the freight cars. From there the conductor could make sure there were no problems with his train.
How 436994 looked When We Got It
How the Caboose looked when we first got it in 1994. It was on a property near Mildmay, Ontario. The caboose was taken off its trucks and moved by road back to Guelph. At Guelph, it was put back on the rails at the ABB plant.
Over the years, our group has done a lot of restoration work to the caboose. It is always an ongoing project to maintain the caboose to an operating and display worthy state. It is a true labour of love for our group.
Around 2008 we had a rubber membrane roof installed on the caboose. This membrane will ensure a strong roof and leak free for many years. Also in 2008, we restored the wooden substructure and completely repainted the entire caboose. In 2009 new windows were installed in the cupola. 2010 we completely redid the tongue in groove siding of the caboose, bringing it back to its ‘as built’ look.
Our 2009 Cupola work. During this work we completely rebuilt the cupola sides and removed all rotting wood. We also restored the ‘tongue-and-groove’ siding opposite the window. This brings 436994 back to its original as-built look.
In 2019, our group repainted the whole caboose. Sanding the wood and stripping paint off were possible. A coat of primer was added, and then high quality exterior paint. This work should last the group at least 10 years. We also applied GHRA decals , which is the first time our name was applied to the caboose.
History of 436994
436994 had a long service with the Canadian Pacific Railway, starting when built in 1928 and lasting into the 1980s. In 1941 the caboose was rebuilt to a more ‘modern’ standard, however it never had electricity installed, it remained lit by oil lamps and heated by oil stoves.
436994 at Hochelaga Yard in Montreal, Quebec in 1968. By this point 436994 still retained it’s tongue and groove, but had certain spots rebuilt such as the end of the cuploa, which was covered over with plate steel.Also worth noting is 436994 also still had the ‘stem winder’ handbrake (horizontal wheel instead of vertical) , instead of the more modern handbrake it has now.
Ian Stronach photo, used with permission. Click on the photo to see a larger version.
During it’s final time on the CPR, 436994 was based on the Dominion Atlantic Railway in Nova Scotia. From our research we can tell it was stationed in Nova Scotia from the early 1970s-1981.
After leaving the DAR, it was sent to Montreal, where it was repainted and used until the late 1980s, when it was retired for good from the CPR. After retirement it was given to an executive of a large Canadian retail chain as a thank you for signing an agreement with the CPR. It sat on a cottage property until purchased by our group.