Marcia’s Soo Line Caboose

Marcia’s Soo Line Caboose

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Marcia Weber lives full-time in a Soo Line train caboose that was built in 1909. She purchased the caboose with her husband at the Tunerville Station in Whippany, New Jersey in 1975 from an ad in the Wall Street Journal that simply said “wooden cabooses for sale.”

For years, the caboose was just a vacation home for Marcia and her husband. After a divorce and a job loss, she decided to move permanently into the caboose. She said the first winter was tough with no indoor plumbing and only space heaters available for heat. Electricity had been installed in the caboose years before, but there was no bathroom. In the following years, Marcia was able to add a bathroom to the back of the caboose (to retain the look), indoor plumbing and electric heat. She also replaced the siding on the cupola and put in some gardens and a lawn. She also had a deck built which added an additional “room” to the caboose.

The caboose sits on a 30 foot train track on Marcia’s 5 acre parcel in Northeast Pennsylvania. Her 337 square foot living space also includes a washer/dryer, refrigerator, stove, microwave and a dishwasher. The cost of the caboose and the track cost about $6,000 (in 1976).

Marcia calls the caboose “a 36-year labor of love”, and is proud that nearly everything on the inside is still in its original 1909 state. She did replace out the floor with a laminate. She will also be replacing the siding on the outside with beadboard to resemble the original wood.

She loves the light that comes in through the windows (including the six in the cupola) and has decorated the caboose with colorful accessories. She thought that going from a 2,500 square foot house to a 337 square foot caboose would be difficult, but she absolutely loves it.

“I sold 95 percent of my belongings and feel very free as a result,” Marcia said. “Plus, I can clean the whole place in fifteen minutes. The area here is absolutely beautiful and I spend a lot of time sitting on the deck reading and just looking at my surroundings. It’s all mountains, ponds, and open space.”

Photos courtesy of Marcia Weber

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

189 COMMENTS

  1. This is incredible! You did an amazing job-you can really see the love you put into making it a home. I am recently divorced and wish I could find a home like this set myself up in. Beautiful!

  2. It is perfect….love what you have done and the peace and contentment has got to be priceless. Just found a caboose yesterday, it is within a couple miles of some retirement property I have bought and I am going to try to duplicate your genius. Would also be interested in a train car for a diner in close by small town…..what fun…wish me luck…..Donna

  3. I love to talk to you about the plumbing since I’ll be doing the same thing with the caboose I just bought

  4. Lived in a caboose 10 years now, just south of you by 1 1/2 hours from yours. If they mean the city of Northeast. Love to chat and share

  5. Marcia,

    I’m very jealous I’d love to own a Soo caboose. I’m a member of the Soo Line Historical and Technical Society and I’m trying to make a list of all preserved Soo Line cabooses.

    Do you have the original road number of the caboose? My guess, based on the ladder configuration, is that it was originally built by American Car and Foundry (AC&F) for the Wisconsin Central in 1908, in a series of 50 cabooses numbered 152 to 201.

    The Wisconsin Central was purchased by the Soo Line in 1909 which is probably where the 1909 date came from. The Soo renumbered these cabooses to the 99046 to 99095 very shortly after the merger. If you have either the WC or Soo Line number, I’d really appreciate it.

    The roof configuration and window configuration is important for my roster. These are visible from your photo but I need the actual car number. The car number was on the side of the car, possibly above the end doors and possibly cast on the side of the trucks.

    Depending on the actual number, I might be able to supply some diagrams, more history and possibly a photo of it in service.

    Thanks so much! Mike

  6. Marcia…
    You made a cozy home, it was nice to see what imagination can do. Love it! I am going to downsize from a smaller home, ready for freedom and less cleaning! Thanks for allowing me to visit.

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