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PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD
N5C CABIN CAR (CABOOSE) NO. 477823

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The Museum's caboose, PRR No. 477823, was built in March of 1942 and was part of a group of 199 N5c cabins produced by the PRR (what makes the Museum's caboose more interesting is that it is the second oldest surviving N5C in existence). Arriving on the roster just in time at the start of World War II, No. 477823 became a fixture on PRR freights over the ensuing decades. According to the PRR's System Cabin Car Assignments; Manager Freight Train Operations; Philadelphia, PA, May 15, 1957, No. 477823 was assigned to the Pennsy's Enola - Buttonwood Yard (Wilkes-Barre, PA) run, making it a PRR Northern Region caboose.

 

With the Pennsylvania R.R. - New York Central merger in 1968, this cabin car became Penn Central (PC) No. 23020, and traded in its classic tuscan red paint scheme and PRR Keystones for PC green. Around 1974, the car was upgraded with roller bearing trucks, a 12-volt electrical system, oil heat, toilet, screened cupola windows and screened doors.

 

When Penn Central and several other bankrupt Northeastern US railroads were consolidated to form Conrail (CR) in 1976, PC No. 23020 was repainted in CR's brilliant blue scheme, but continued to retain its numbers. In 1984, Conrail began to discontinue the use of cabooses on most of its through freights, and with that most of the old Pennsy cabin cars were sold off or scrapped. In the early 1990s, CR No. 23020 was privately acquired and stored on the Morristown & Erie. No restoration ever took place, and after being abandoned, the car suffered through years of adverse weather conditions and vandalism.

 

Finally, in the summer of 2001, after many attempts, the Whippany Railway Museum was at last successful in rescuing the car and was able to begin the task of restoring this classic N5c. In just a few short weeks of acquiring the caboose, the Museum was able to strip the old paint away and cover the exterior with primer.

 

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