Making a Living by Buying and Selling Railroad Cars

Learn about buying, selling, and renovating railroad cabooses.


| January/February 1972



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This is an example of a railroad car purchased and renovated as living quarters.


PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

In the early morning, before most people get out of bed, I usually go for a long walk just to absorb the unadulterated sounds of nature . . . and it was on just such a walk that I discovered a purple caboose parked on a semi-deserted railroad siding.

Now it's almost impossible—even at 5:30 a.m.—to be unaffected by a purple caboose sitting in a nearly abandoned area . . . and the yellow sunshine smile painted on the side of this one made it absolutely irresistable. Paying no attention to the hour or to the red cabooses on either side, I climbed right up on the platform of that smiling wonder.

The sound of my own knocking suddenly brought me back to my senses. Five-thirty in the morning is no time to be beating on the door of a purple caboose! After waiting a few moments and getting no response, I made a hasty retreat. I also made a mental note to return at a more reasonable hour.

My subsequent visit proved that I hadn't been dreaming. There stood the happy caboose, sandwiched between what appeared to be three ordinary red ones. I cautiously stepped up on the purple car's platform again and peered through the window in the door. With the exception of some carpenter tools and lumber, the interior was bare.

I was badly disappointed and was starting to leave when an automobile pulled up and a man in his early 20's jumped out. He was wearing a smile as friendly as that of the sunshine face.

"Hi," he said as if we were old friends. "Will you join me for a cup of coffee?" He was headed toward one of the red cabooses and, in somewhat of a daze, I followed.





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