• M&E Caboose

  • Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.
Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, mikec, cjl330

  by NJTRailfan
Before my deployment to Iraq I purchased an M&E Caboose built by Atlas. It looks great and runs smoothly. How many cabooses does the M&E have? I thought 2 right? So far Atlas only did one which is number 4. Atlas did the M&E Alcos numbers 18 nd 19 even though M&E owns alot more. I was once told they only have one. But I thought they had 2 or even 3 of them.

  by RS115
The M&E has had 4 cabooses.

#1 a 4 wheel bobber now on display at the Whippany Railway Museum originally Lackawanna RR #4 acquired 1933. (It was on display on the Black River at Flemington for many years before being returned to the museum in the 1990s)
#2 a wooden ex Susquehanna caboose acquired in 1950 and destroyed by fire 2/62
#3 ex Erie #04932 acquired in 1962 withdrawn from service late 1960/early 1970's eventually rotted away and scrapped at Whippany. For many years the railroad operated without a caboose on what is now the 'Whippany line'. I believe purchase of #4 was at least partially motivated by operation of the D&R/High Bridge/Chester lines which can involve some fairly lengthy back up moves.
#4 is ex Susquehanna acquired in the late 80's I believe from a private owner who was then an employee. It is currently in service when needed.

To the best of my knowledge all the other cabooses at Whippany used on the caboose train this past summer are either privately owned or owned by the museum. The bay window caboose at Whippany that carries ME reporting marks is reportedly privately owned by an employee who was allowed to use the reporting marks to move the car in interchange to Morristown.

Other than number 4 none have been specifically commercially modeled though one could get pretty close with some models that have been available over the years and some modifications.

Most of the above date from Thomas Tabor's book 'Morristown & Erie Railroad: People Paper and Profits'

Hope that helps.

  by Al Holleuffer
A couple of corrections to previous posts regarding M&E cabooses.

No. 3 was not scrapped in Whippany. Intially it was given to a local Whippany resident who placed in his backyard by his swiming pool but the township made him remove it due to complaints from his neighbors and failure to apply for permission to put it there. The M&E (the original company) was in receivership at the time and retook possesion of it. It later was trucked to Oakridge, NJ, and placed on the old Eastern Propane Corp. siding on the NYS&W. After the Morris County Central RR ceased operations over the NYS&W No. 3 was scrapped in Newfoundland along with other MCCRR equipment.

No. 4 is former NYS&W 0112 built as part of a 10-car order by International Car Corp. to replace the Susquehanna's wooden hacks. In 1979 the NYS&W placed an ad in Railfan Magazine offering four of their cabooses for sale. I purchased No. 0112 and had it shipped to the M&E in Morristown as I was employed there at the time and began restoring it. For six months in 1980 I rented it to the demolition firm which was dismantling the Hanover Mill of Whippany Paper Board Co. to use as a guardhouse and office and it was spotted on the siding there right across from the Whippany Station off Whippany Road. Its movement back to Morristown was the last train to operate over Whippany Road.

When Ben Friedland and his partners took over operation of the M&E in 1982 he made me an offer for the car and it was sold to him personally. M&E Master Mechanic Tom "Chooch Painter" Martin finished the repairs to it and painted it into its first all red scheme. Later solar-powered lighting was added and the roof was painted black. Lettering was done by the late Mr. Thomas Burns, a local signpainter, and friend of M&E General Manager the late Thomas G. Peterson, Sr.

A couple of years ago the M&E bought two extended vision capolla cabooses from the Soo Line and began painting one. This car was later spotted in the Madison Team Track on NJ Transit along with M&E loco No. 22 and Tri-State RR Historical Society's restored DL&W mail storage car for a town celebration and remained there for over a year. Several months ago the caboose was moved back to Morristown but I have not seen it since nor heard if the paint job was ever finished.

In case anyone is wondering why I sold it, I had gotten married in October of 1981 and my wife and I used the money for a trip to France so I could meet her mom's family in Nice and visit London and Paris. All things considered, it was a great deal. Got to ride behind some steam in England and ride and operate the then brand new TGV on SNCF enroute from Paris to the Cote D'Azur.

Al Holleuffer

Great recollections there, Al. I remember Mr. burns, and his hand lettering of the locos at the M&E. I stopped him from lettering the #19 as "MORISSTOWN & ERIE", while he was in the shops, doing the lettering. We all know and loved T.L. Martins handywork, as well. I was lucky enough to enjoy many a day riding that hack, with Al, and some of the other guys, while switching the DR and Chester branches. I never realized the connection Al had to this hack, until reading this. I knew it came from the Suzy sale, but I always thought Ben had purchased it outright. I do remember the solar panel going in, and I still think about hand firing that coal stove, while waiting to run west........ :-D

  by cjvrr

Curious as to how much the NYS&W originally sold it to you for? Was the price advertised in the magazine?

I also think one of the cabooses (possibly a Soo caboose) went to a Boy Scout Camp in Jefferson. I work with someone involved with that Camp and he had mentioned to me they got a caboose from the M&E.


  by Al Holleuffer
I don't recall if the NYS&W listed an asking price in the ad but I made an offer for 0112 which they accepted. It amounted to scrap value based on the going rate back then, somewhere a bit under $2,000.00. I turned over all the paperwork to Ben Friedland when he took title to it so I don't have the exact figure on file anymore.

I think you're correct about one of the Soo hacks being sold.

  by cjvrr
Thanks Al!

It is one of my long term goals to get a caboose for the backyard, but first I need a backyard ;-)

Wish they were still in the price range now. I remember hearing rumors that when CR had the big caboose sell off they were going for a few hundred a piece, delivered to the nearest CR railhead.


  by Al Holleuffer

Regarding your post about the ex-Soo cabooses, both of steel widevision hacks are in Whippany on the track closest to the museum. I saw them both when I attended the Annual Membership Meeting of the museum Sunday. The one that was in Madison is right by the museum building while the other, still in its Soo paint, is all they way at the end of the siding and blocked from view by other equipment.

I had almost forgotten about a group of wooden Soo cabooses the original M&E bought back in the '70's for use on the Whippany Toonerville operation. They had some sort of idea for a caboose train but never got it past the planning stage before the Trustee took over in 1976 and shut the WT down. I think it was one of those wooden hacks that went to the camp. I recall one being trucked out. Not sure what became of the others. I believe there were nine altogther of three different body styles.