FEBT Restoration – Caboose 28

Caboose 28 and her sister, 27, were built in 1920 to replace a pair of four-wheel cabooses. The new cars were built by the EBT crews in the railroad’s Car Shop. Caboose 28 served for 36 years on EBT freight runs, bringing up the rear of hundreds of coal trains. After the EBT was reactivated as a tourist line, 28 was pressed into service as part of the regular passenger train.

Although stored inside during the off season, 28 was stored outside during the season and operated in all types of weather. After 43 years of service, the elements had taken their toll. By 2003 the siding and platforms of the car were rotting. It was decided that FEBT would reside the car and re-plank the decks. As with many projects on antique equipment, once the top layer was removed, additional problems were found. In the end the FEBT crew also welded new steel plate under the platform decks, re-roofed the car, fixed numerous problems in the roof and cupola, and repaired the original ironwork. The crew also restored the stove pipe chimney so that the original pot bellied stove could again heat the car on cold autumn days.

After nine months of work, 28 was formally returned to service on August 14, 2004, the 44th anniversary of the EBT’s reopening as a tourist railroad. The car was dedicated with Joe Kovalchick, owner of the railroad, standing on the platform with the general manager, Stanley Hall; the FEBT president, Hank Inman, and the FEBT restoration coordinator, Lee Rainey. Over 900 hours of volunteer labor were needed to restore the car.