Wabash Railroad caboose no. 2543 was built around the turn of the century (circa 1905) and contains a coal stove built at a Fort Wayne foundry and a sink and water tank were apparently added during its service life. This caboose was preserved in Fort Wayne’s Swinney Park in 1957 and removed in 1984 with Lake Erie & Fort Wayne steam locomotive no. 1 (former Wabash no. 543.)
No. 2543 has carried thousands of passengers in service for the Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society and has been one of our most active pieces of equipment next to our switch engine, no. 1231 and is now in need of a complete restoration.
Though a significantly sized piece of rolling stock, any piece of railroad equipment is made up of various pieces and sections, all of which require attention in a thorough rebuilding process.
Our assessment of the caboose’s condition has revealed:
- Top and bottom beams on are rotted and need replaced
- Bottom beam on cupola end of caboose needs replaced
- Beam at end of platform that holds railings, brake wheel, ladder, etc. on cupola end of caboose needs replaced
- Several roof rafters in the area above the stove are rotted and need replaced
- Some vertical wall studs and braces on each side and end need to be replaced
- Windows and framing need to be repaired/replaced so they are water-tight
- New siding must be installed
- Some repairs to the sub-roof are necessary and then a new roofing material put down
- Brake rigging has developed issues and need repair
- Outside hardware needs to be removed, cleaned and painted
- Inside flooring should be replaced
- Stove should be removed, cleaned and painted
- Flooring in the cupola should be replaced
- Sub-floor has rotted off at the ends of the boards, need replaced
We’ve initiated a “Buy a Board” campaign wherein visitors can write their names on a board to help finance the restoration with many having dedicated boards to railroaders in the family or for their children. This will help offset the cost of lumber and other materials.
The scope of this project will require carpentry and woodworking skills and dedicated work by volunteers. If you have any interest in helping return no. 2543 to museum quality condition, please let us know at 260-493-0765 or email us.