Caboose 61

History of Caboose 61

1914: Waterloo Central Railway caboose 61 was built by National Steel Car of Hamilton, Ont., as Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo 61. It was originally constructed as a wood-sheathed van and later rebuilt to steel.

1956: The van was painted in the yellow-and-black colours of Hamilton’s Canadian Football League Tiger-Cats.

1973: Caboose 61 was taken out of service after working for TH&B for almost 60 years.

1985: Port Stanley Terminal Rail purchased the caboose for their tour train in the Port Stanley area and received its current red paint. The caboose became PSTR 61 and was used on their trains until more passenger cars were added to the fleet.

2000: The Southern Ontario Locomotive Restoration Society purchased 61 for use on their new tour train. Caboose 61 became STCR 61 and was used on the consist for the SOLRS’ steam tours.

2007: The van was moved with the other SOLRS equipment to St. Jacobs, where it became Waterloo Central Railway 61.

History of Cabooses

A caboose is an office coupled at the end of a freight train or transfer. Cabooses, also known in Canada as vans, provided shelter for the crew at the end of a train. Cabooses were required for switching and shunting, and to keep a lookout for load shifting, damage to  equipment and cargo, or overheating axles (also known as hot boxes) which could derail a train. Designs were originally modified box cars or flatbed cars carrying a cabin, but later became specialized cars, with projections above or to the sides of the car so crew could observe the train from shelter. The car also served as conductor’s office, and on long routes, included accommodation and cooking facilities.

61 displayed in its yellow-and-black colours of Hamilton’s Canadian Football League Tiger-Cats, received in 1956. Photo credit www.niagararails.com.
61 displayed in its yellow-and-black colours of Hamilton’s Canadian Football League Tiger-Cats, received in 1956. Photo credit www.niagararails.com.
Caboose 61 in 2014 on the Waterloo Spur. Photo credit Tim Ball.
Caboose 61 in 2014 on the Waterloo Spur. Photo credit Tim Ball.
Caboose 61 in 2020 at Waterloo Central Railway in St. Jacobs.
Caboose 61 in 2020 at Waterloo Central Railway yard in St. Jacobs, Ontario.
TH&B vans were noted for displaying safety slogans on the side, a tradition maintained by No. 61 which proclaims, “Tight Grip, Safe Trip.”
TH&B vans were noted for displaying safety slogans on the side, a tradition maintained by No. 61 which proclaims, “Tight Grip, Safe Trip.”
Inside heritage Caboose 61's cupola.
A view of inside heritage caboose 61's cupola.
Inside Caboose 61
Inside heritage Caboose 61.

Specifications

Road Number61
TypeWood and Steel
BuilderNational Steel Car
Date BuiltAugust 1914
LineageToronto, Hamilton & Buffalo 61
Port Stanley Terminal Rail 61

The historical information and photos presented on our website are gathered from several sources including historical websites, literature and first-hand accounts of volunteers, staff and industry experts.