Caboose History

Our caboose was built by CN in its Pointe St. Charles Shops in Montreal, September 1974, from a 472000-series box car. It was painted red-orange with a black roof and under frame.

Photo courtesy of Ian McCord.

A white stripe around the cupola, and stenciled signs indicates that it could clear the old Sarnia Tunnel to the US. It was deployed in the Toronto/Sarnia area.

Photo courtesy of Michael Taylor

CN Caboose 79717 heads east through Burlington at the rear of a local pick-up freight. It was photographed early one evening in summer 1984 by Michael Taylor.

CN 79717 has had several owners:

Owner 1: CNR / CN Rail 1974-1992
Owner 2: Smurfit-Stone Container in Portage du Fort, Quebec 1992-2006
Owner 3: OCR / OCRR (Ottawa Central Railroad) – 2006-2008
Owner 4: CN 2008-2010
Owner 5: Central Frontenac Railway Heritage Society (CFRHS) in Sharbot Lake, Ontario 2010.

In 1992, CN sold the caboose to Smurfit Stone Container in Portage-du-Fort, Quebec.

In 2006, when the Ottawa Central Railway took over switching operations at Smurfit Stone, they acquired the caboose and renumbered it AMXX-79717.

In April of 2007, the caboose was damaged during a hard couple by a CN crew at Coteau, PQ. Here is a picture after she returned to Walkley yard in Ottawa, Ontario.

Photo courtesy of Ian McCord

Then on November 1, 2008, the Ottawa Central Railway was acquired by CN and the caboose was re-stenciled to CN 79717 – its original number.

Shortly after this, in 2010, she was retired from service and sat on a siding at Vankleek Hill, Ontario. She was to be scrapped.

Wayne Moase, a board member of the CFRHS, saw it sitting on a siding there while on  a business trip and inquired about it. It was to be sold for scrap.

In May 2010 it was purchased from CN by the CFRHS and transported on a flatbed truck to a piece of track at the Railway Heritage Park in Sharbot Lake. Ontario.

CN 79717 arrives at the Railway Park.

It’s placed back on its trucks.

It’s now ready for renovation.

After extensive renovations on the inside, a new paint job on the outside and lettered in a CP script scheme, it was officially opened on August 28th 2011.

Shesham and Lotus celebrate the opening of the caboose with some “good ole tyme” music.

She is now used to showcase railway artifacts from the area and to demonstrate
how a caboose, also called a van, once played an important role in the life of Canadian railways.

Special thanks to Ian McCord, railroader and photographer, who provided the information on our caboose and some of the photos.