Grand Trunk Western Railroad Caboose #77137
The function of a caboose was to provide crew members with shelter and living quarters (which contained a stove, beds, desks, chairs, etc.). The crew’s main responsibility was to ensure nothing went awry, this involved: ensuring hotboxes didn’t catch fire (link), inspecting trains to ensure there weren’t any problems with the loads, and performing business (which was managed by the conductor). However, due to the Flashing Rear-End Device (FRED), cabooses have almost become obsolete.
This caboose was constructed in 1891 in Port Huron, Michigan for the Grand Trunk Railway. Initially numbered #90724, this caboose is one of the few to survive with its original arch bar trucks because Grand Trunk Railway replaced the trucks on many of their cabooses in the 1950s.
At one time, all Grand Trunk Western (a subsidiary of the Grand Trunk Railway) cabooses were mineral brown. Then, in 1944, the company adopted the colour of Canadian National orange because CN absorbed Grand Trunk Western. The maple leaf logo was applied in 1954, as was the lettering in 1957. At one time the cupola (which is the upper space where the brakemen were positioned- see image below) was shortened to allow passage through St. Clair Tunnel between Sarnia and Port Huron.
In 1964, the caboose became property of Bayview Railway Museum in Sarnia which was in its infancy. It was later moved to Toronto under the Canadian Railroad Historical Association in 1974 where it remained for 16 years until Mr. Ross Robinson purchased the caboose. He then moved it to Smith Falls, Ontario where he restored it and later donated it to ECRM in 1998.