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Almost home

February 13, 2020

The vintage Illinois Central caboose, purchased a year ago from a private owner in Texas, is much closer to its final destination and home at the Depot Museum in Webster City’s Wilson Brewer Park.

Bob Oliver, local railroad enthusiast who’s been handling the details of bringing the caboose to Webster City, updated the Wilson Brewer Historic Park Committee Wednesday morning on the car’s progress. He told the committee that the train car has arrived in Iowa and is currently waiting to be moved to Webster City.

“At our last meeting, we were still searching for an appropriate track to deliver our caboose to. That was cleared up just a couple of days later,” he said. NEW Cooperative has allowed the park committee use its rail spur at Vincent.

“And Union Pacific moved the caboose to Vincent,” he said. “So it’s a lot closer to Wilson Brewer Park than it was two weeks ago.”

Still to be decided is the plan and schedule to move the train car from Vincent to Webster City. That will require cranes and lowboy trailers, according to Oliver.

Peterson Construction donated and installed some rails on the west side of the depot where the caboose will be displayed. Some additional work will need to be done to the site before the train car is put in place. The cross-ties will need to be replaced, and ballast — the rock overlay — will need to be added to allow for proper drainage, said Oliver.

“That work should go quite quickly once a truck can get in there,” he said.

Committee Chairman Gary Groves said the caboose is currently sitting on private property and cautioned the public not to walk the railroad tracks to see the train car.

“I’ve driven by a few times and you can see the caboose in the distance. There’s no problem with seeing it that way,” Groves said.

“Where it is sitting now is literally in the middle of a field, located remotely away from the co-op,” Oliver said.

“It’s a great favor that NEW Cooperative is doing for us,” Oliver said. “Union Pacific did a great job. Everybody involved all the way from Houston to Omaha to Kansas City to Des Moines to Eagle Grove – I’ve heard from all of them. I think this was one of the better publicized movements.

“I would guess that I have had more than 100 emails and calls from people who noticed this car when it began to move north,” he said. “I think once we set the car at the depot, we’re going to have a lot of visitors. And that may be the next task for us to prepare for.”

The historic park committee approved the purchase of the caboose Feb. 13, 2019. The cost of the 1969 Illinois Central caboose was $32,500 and Oliver said four local individuals, who wished to remain anonymous, came forward to donate the funds for the purchase.

The move from Texas was delayed last year due to the hurricanes and severe weather in the area.

Last modified: February 13, 2020

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