The Restoration of Caboose C-60

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Caboose C-60 along with cabooses C-63 & C-64 were donated to the Chapter on May 4, 2003 by the Long Island Rail Road. C-60 was built for the Long Island in 1963 by Morrison International Corporation of Buffalo, New York.

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Photo Joe Lupinacci

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Chapter members went right to work painting over the graffiti. No one wanted the local community complaining about eye sores in the railroad yard.

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The cabooses arrived in Riverhead with their yellow & blue MTA paint schemes covered up by urban camouflage, better known as graffiti!

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C-60 as delivered to Twin Forks in 2003.

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Work continued late into the night to get the painting completed. (Photo Joe Lupinacci)

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This is how caboose C-60 looked the following day

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And thus, Caboose Row was formed!

The cabooses looked like this for a while. It was decided the first caboose to get restored would be our N22A flat side, C-60. We set up a fund raising campaign to help fund the restoration. Everyone who donated to the project would get their name on one of two plaques depending on the amount of the donation. The donors were placed in either the “Silver Caboose Club” or the “Gold Caboose Club." The plaques were to be placed in the caboose for all to see to honor those who donated to help the restoration project.

 

From the fund raising campaign, we hired a company called NO-Chem Stripping. This company used non-toxic ways to strip surfaces clean of paint, rust and debris. In our case, the media used to strip the interior of C-60 was small plastic pellets. NO-Chem was hired to strip the graffiti covered inside of the caboose.

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NO-Chem's equipment truck was parked outside 
C-60 with air lines run to the inside of the caboose.

The big bags seen in between the cabooses are collecting the material being removed by the stripping crew.

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This is how the interior looked after the work was done. No-Chem started work at 7 AM and finished around 6 PM.

With the interior stripped, it was imperative to prime the unfinished metal to keep rust from forming. That is when the Chapter members grabbed some brushes and rollers and applied two coats of primer to the entire interior of the car. We worked until 1 AM the following day without rest, stopping only to grab a bite to eat.

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Here is the interior at 1 AM on a Sunday Morning. It was a long but satisfying day!

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Chapter members decided to return the Caboose to its "as delivered" paint scheme of Orange, yellow & Black. Pictured above is Member Greg Kruszeski applying the first of two coats of primer. Then two coats of orange were applied. 

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When researching the color of the inside, along with the standard battleship gray, C-60 at one time was painted this shade of turquoise. We went with the turquoise! Above, members Rich Gorddard, Frank Mastandrea and Bob Bender apply the finishing touches to the inside. (Left Photo by Bob Bender)

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The conductor’s bunk needed a major upgrade. Chapter member Heidi Lupinacci constructed a whole new and comfortable cushion.

We were suddenly in a deadline situation. The New York City Transit Museum wanted to display our caboose as an exhibit at their museum. The idea was to have the caboose at the NYCTM in the Court Street subway station in Brooklyn to coincide with the LIRR 175th Anniversary celebration. The heat was on to finish on time.

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We needed to replace the windows which were covered in graffiti. The center photo shows members
​John Thomson & Paul Strubeck repairing and painting the window frame.

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All the second story work was done by member John Thompson. Here John worked late into the evening to get the roof finished. (3 photos by Art Christian)

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Officials from the LIRR, MTA Subway System, the NYCTM and the FRA (Federal Railway Administration) all inspected the caboose. There were measurements taken, height and width dimensions to examine to determine if C-60 would even fit through the New York City subway tunnels to the NYCTM. The FRA official gave us a list of things we needed to do to make the caboose ready for transport. The next several photographs show our members performing the needed FRA work.

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All the journal boxes had to be inspected for leaks and wear on the brasses. All the boxes required fresh packing. The  first picture shows member Anthony De Bellis cleaning out the bearing box. The second picture shows Anthony and Member Steve Sucic removing the old packing.  

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A wasted brass bearing like the one above had to be replaced. Luckily we had other cabooses that acted as donors for replacement brasses. The second photo shows member Rich Gorddard preforming the rather physical task of repacking the bottom of the journal housing with cotton packing.

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Freshly packed bearing, now all that is needed is oil.

Now as we get close to our deadline, with all the FRA work done, all the inspections completed, it was time to finish the caboose restoration.

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Photo 1: Neil Feldman & John Thomson apply the finishing touches. Photo 2: Doug Dimond removes old paint from the railing. Photo 3: Paul Strubeck touches up.

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The painting of the car body complete it was time to start the lettering. The lettering stencils were created by member Arthur Christian from tracings given to him from member Dick Horn. The left picture shows Art prepping the stencils for application to the caboose. 

The following sequences of photos show the lettering process.

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The Restoration of Caboose C-60 is now just about completed. However, now there is some final detail work that needed to be completed.

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In these photos the car numbers and "Dashing Dan" decals have been applied. The decals were donated by the Railroad Museum of Long Island from a group donated to the museum by Mr. Thomas Collins. As time was short the decals were applied in the dark of night.

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The Journals were repacked by the Twin Forks Chapter and completed as indicated above. Stencil by
​Dick Horn

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Here we can see the actual weight of the caboose. Also by Dick Horn 

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The caboose was built January of 1961.

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And at last, Builders Plate placed on the caboose. Builders Plate recreated on aluminum by Art Christian. Applied to the caboose by Dick Horn.

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The caboose was ready for its trip to Brooklyn.

​The BIG day was here, the LIRR sent 3 MP-15 units to move the caboose to its temporary home at the NYCTM.
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C-60 was the last car in line, so the Crew had to move all of our equipment to get to C-60

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C-60 moving out

and crossing Osborne Avenue

C-60 leaves Riverhead. Video by Art Christian

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Even the Long Island crew seemed to enjoy riding it

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Checking the bearings in Ronkonkoma

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Interchanging with the New York and Atlantic

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Imagine sitting at a subway station and seeing a caboose go by! C-60 being held at a station in Brooklyn

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Finally arriving at the Transit Museum

The Restoration of the caboose was a great experience. We all had a blast. There were times when it looked like we would never get her done, but we did. The caboose is on temporary loan to the NY City Transit Museum.

President Richard Gorddard was lucky enough to ride the caboose from Riverhead, NY to Manhattan.  He was a technical advisor for movement of the hack. This was an all day event. The FRA gave us a movement restriction that the LIRR, NY&A and NY City Transit had to obey. The speed restriction was 15 MPH. However, the caboose made it to the Museum and we are proud of our accomplishment.

​There were so many people involved in the restoration of this caboose. The Twin Forks Chapter-NRHS would like to thank thee following for their help, assistance and hard work:

Bob Bender
Art Christian
John Thompson
Richard Gorddard
Anthony De Bellis
Greg Kruszeski
Steve Succi 

Don Fisher
Paul Strubeck
Neil Feldman
 Joe Lupinacci
Hiedi Lupinacci
Phil Salice
Joe Sallou

Dick Horn
Mike Arnold
Bill Wall (NYCT)
John Rooney
​Charlie Sachs
Doug Diamond
Frank Mastandrea

Special thanks goes these organizations, their employees & members:

The Long Island Rail Road
The New York & Atlantic
The New York City Subway
The New York City Transit System
The New York City Transit Museum
The Railroad Museum of Long Island

We must also thank ALL who donated to our Fund Raising program. Below are two photos of the “Silver Caboose Club” and “Gold Caboose Club” plaques, which are prominently displayed in the caboose for all to see.

The Twin Forks Chapter was pleased to be part of the 175th Anniversary Celebrations at the NY City Transit Museum. Once the caboose made it the Museum, C-60 was placed on display.
Our caboose, was the:

1) First Caboose to ever ride the rails of the NY City Transit System.
2) First piece of LIRR equipment to ever ride the rails of the NY City Transit System.

​Here are a few pictures of the Caboose on display at the NY City Transit Museum.

So here’s a salute to all the hard work, long hours, lots of sweat in Summer, and bone chilling times in winter to all the Chapter volunteers who worked so hard to get the caboose restored. Also here’s to all who supported the Chapter and our goals during the restoration. 

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C-60 on display at the NYCT Museum. ​

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Members Dick Horn, Rich Gorddard, Paul Strubeck and Anthony De Bellis pose next to our
​C-60.

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In the fall of 2009 Chapter members returned to the Transit Museum to see how their old friend was fairing.