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Caboose 117 in Plover

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Caboose 117 in Plover

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An update on the restoration of GBW #117 in Heritage Park, Plover, Wis.

Caboose on the move:

June 7: GBW #117 is ready to be moved from the former GB&W main line to a display track in front of the depot at Heritage Park.

June 8: Car men from the Wisconsin Central Railroad chained the trucks to the underframe of the caboose.  Doing this saved money for the historical society as it required only one crane to move the caboose.

This is seconds before the actual lift. This is actually a re-lift using a considerably heavier cable. The crane crew tried using much smaller cable to start with, but there was too much elongation in the cable.

The caboose is off the WC rails, ready to swing towards its location next to the depot in Heritage Park.

And, around we come!

Mid point in moving the caboose to the rails laid by the Historical society members in front of the depot.

It took a lot of tugging and pushing of the caboose by the ground crew as the caboose swung around to the display track.  Here the car is just about ready to be set on the track.

Setting the caboose back down was the most difficult part of the maneuver. The truck furthest from the camera moved as the car was swung around, making it difficult to align the wheels with the track and making a one-shot attempt at moving the car an impossibility.

The crew used a come-along to straighten out the errant truck to get the car precisely on the rail heads. In all, the move took about 40 minutes from start to finish.

GBW caboose #117 was acquired by the Portage County Historical Society  in the summer of 2002 and moved it to Heritage Park in Plover, Wis. The car is on Washington Street right next to the Green Bay Route main line and in front of the Bancroft depot that has been restored by the Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders (CWMR).

Restoration of the caboose is being done by the PCHS and CWMR. Preparations are underway to sandblast and repaint the caboose. All window frames, including the plated windows, have been removed for cleaning and won't be reinstalled until after the painting is complete. The interior furnishings have been removed for cleaning and repair and top half of the walls have been painted. The flooring has also been removed.

The PCHS and CWMR have these requests for help:

Caboose toilet: The toilet was removed from the caboose long before it was donated to the PCHS; they are looking for information on that part of the caboose so they have an idea of what to look for to replace it -- or better yet, does anyone know where one could be obtained?

Axle generator: They would like to add an axle generator to the caboose and are looking for a broken one that could be donated.

If you can help, or would like to see the caboose restoration in progress, contact Carl Whittaker of the Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders. Members of the CMR are usually at the club room of the restored Bancroft Depot on Wednesday nights. The depot is in Heritage Park, Plover, Wis., next to the GBW #117 caboose. When there are events at the park the caboose is open to the public.

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Updated July 11, 2015