Green Bay & Western Lines
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Caboose Roster

Up ] #08 (1939.04.22) ] #020 (1939) ] #609 (1940) ] Caboose #611 ] Business Car #603 ] #608 (1961.11) ] X012 ] #102 (1980) ] #112 (1989) ] #113 (1980) ] #114 (1984) ] #618 (1976) ]

A history of the Green Bay Route's cabooses up through the takeover of the Wisconsin Central by the Canadian National in 2001.

This information was made possible through the research of John Campbell, Bob Welke, Bob Wandel and others.


Early Roster
Wooden Cupola Cabooses (1920s - 1937)
Rebuilding With Bay Windows (1930s)
Transfer Caboose Rebuilding (1960s)
Modern Caboose Fleet (1960s - 1993)
Post-GBW Caboose Roster (1993+)
Preserved GBW Cabooses
Consolidated Caboose Roster (1920s - 1993)

Early Roster

In the early part of the twentieth century the Green Bay Route rostered a collection of wooden cupola cabooses from unknown sources. There were up to 15 cabooses at one time on the predecessor Green Bay Winona & St. Paul roster; after the Green Bay & Western was formed from the bankrupt GBW&StP the total fluctuated between 9 and 12 in the first decades of the twentieth century. Official Railway Equipment Register and Wisconsin Railroad Commission data indicates that all cabooses were assigned to Green Bay & Western; the subsidiary lines Ahnapee & Western, Iola & Northern and  Kewaunee, Green Bay & Western were listed in the documents but had no cabooses. Cabooses GB&W 061 and 062 may have been former KGB&W cabooses acquired in the 1897 merger of the two lines.

Wooden Cupola Cabooses (pre-1920s)
GB&W 01 to 09 Caboose, Way Freight
GB&W 061 to 062 Caboose, Way Freight
GB&W 60, 244 Caboose, Box

Of interest are cabooses #60 and #244 listed as "Caboose, Box." Other railroads had listings for "Caboose (Box Car)" in ORERs so this was likely a similar listing. These may have been a former freight cars converted into cabooses and used for transfer runs. The 200- series freight cars on the GB&W were flat cars, odd numbers only, and thus unlikely to be the source of the #244 caboose; these two mysterious cars may have been pre-GB&W freight cars.


Wooden Cupola Cabooses (1920s - 1937)

Many of the cabooses were replaced numerically in the 1920's with second-hand wooden cupola cabooses, which were soon after rebuilt with steel underframes. There were a total of sixteen cabooses, eleven assigned to the GB&W, one to the A&W, and four to the KGB&W.

Wooden Cupola Cabooses (1920s - 1937)
GB&W 01 Acquired or rebuilt at unknown date.
GB&W 02 to 05, 06 (1st), 07, 09 Acquired or rebuilt May 1921.
GB&W 06 (2nd) Ex-Great Northern X-153, acquired March 1929 after #06 (1st) was destroyed in a wreck.
GB&W 08 Ex-Great Northern 90058, acquired November 1925.
GB&W 010 Ex-Great Northern 90071, acquired November 1925.
GB&W 011 Ex-Great Northern 90020 acquired November 1925.
A&W 020 Ex-Great Northern 90008, acquired from Hyman-Michaels Co. December 5, 1924 for $615.75.
KGB&W 030 Ex-Stanley Merrill & Phillips RR, acquired in 1922.
KGB&W 031 Ex-Great Northern 90010, acquired October 1924.
KGB&W 032 Ex-Great Northern X-256, acquired September 1928.
KGB&W 033 Retired or wrecked 1936.

Cabooses #60 and  #244 (Caboose, Box) were gone from the roster by this time.

The cabooses were red with the road name in railroad roman lettering centered on the car side above the windows and the road number centered on the car side below the windows.  Later, a simplified scheme with the reporting marks and number in gothic lettering centered between the roof edge and strap just below the cupola.
Wood Cupola Cabooses:

GB&W #08 (1939.04.22)

A&W #020 (1939)


Rebuilding With Bay Windows (1930s)

Most of the wooden cupola cabooses were rebuilt in 1937-1943 by removing the cupola and adding metal bay windows. The fleet was renumbered to the 600- series at this time.

Three 60' passenger coaches (#86, #107 and #109) were converted to combination caboose-coach cars with the addition of a bay window on one end of the car. They were used on mixed freight trains until the end of passenger service in 1949.

Rebuilt Cabooses (1940s-1960s)
Number Notes Last Known Photo
GB&W 601
road caboose
Bay window added, not certain if it received a steel underframe.  Retired after burning 1949.05.  
GB&W 602
road caboose
 Bay windows added 1937.11.  1965.07.19
GB&W 603
officer's car
Bay windows added 1943.11. Swing motion trucks added 1945.01 and converted to an officer's car 1947.08. Remained in service until 1972. The car was cut down and the frame used around Norwood Yard as a flat for at least two more years. The body was sold and used as a cabin until 1996; it is now part of a residence in Lakewood, Wis.  
GB&W 604 / X604
road / transfer caboose
Bay windows added 1937.11. Later bay windows were removed, renumbered X604, and used as a transfer caboose around Green Bay. 1967.03.31
GB&W 605
road caboose
Bay windows added 1937.11.  It was sold to the Copper Range ca. 1966. Sold to Dr.Sabin of Marquette Michigan in 1972 and now on display near Big Bay, Michigan.  
GB&W 606
transfer caboose
Cupola removed, did not get bay windows. The car did not receive a steel underframe and had arch bar trucks.  It ran for a time without yellow handrails and had a bolted-on steel GREEN BAY ROUTE herald. The car appears to be the old #06 cupola caboose as the length and window arrangement (three on a side) is consistent between cars. Used as a transfer caboose around Green Bay and lasted until the late 1950s.  
GB&W 607 (1st)
road caboose
Bay windows added 1937.08.  Retired 1954.02.  
GB&W 607 (2nd)
road caboose
Constructed 1954.02, probably from a different body than 607 (1st), since this caboose is noticeably longer than it's predecessor. 1967.02.11
GB&W 608 / X-08
road caboose
Longer car, bay windows added (sometime after April 1939).  Converted to transfer caboose X-08 1949.04.  Reconstructed as road caboose 608 1954.02. Photos indicate that this frame was used for "new" caboose #608 built in 1969. 1969.06.06
GB&W 609
road caboose
Bay windows added 1940.09.  Usually assigned to Trains No. 7 & 8 (the Plover local) in the 1960s. 1967.07
GB&W 010 / X010
transfer caboose
Cupola removed, did not get bay windows. Converted to transfer caboose X010 1949.04.  
GB&W 611
road caboose
Bay windows added 1937.10. 1967.06.25
GB&W 012 / X012
transfer caboose
Cupola removed, did not get bay windows. Converted to transfer caboose X012 1949.04. This caboose did not get gray window sashes or yellow handrails.  It was used as a transfer caboose around Green Bay, probably until the rebuild program of the 1960s.  
A&W 620 / 33
road caboose
Rebuilt 1928.01 with steel center sills, needle beams, and 1 1/4" truss rods replacing wood center sills, wood cross ties, and 1 1/8" truss rods.  New draft arms were installed as were 60,000lb arch bar trucks replacing 50,000lb arch bar trucks.  Vulcan swing motion trucks installed 1940.10.   Bay windows added 1943.10.  The last run was made 1972.09.15.  
KGB&W 630
road caboose
Bay windows added. 1967.07
KGB&W 631
road caboose
Longer car, bay windows added. 1967.06.25
KGB&W 032 / X032 Cupola removed, did not get bay windows. Converted to transfer caboose X032 1950.09
KGB&W 86 / X-86
Sixty-foot combination caboose-coach. Converted to work car X-86 1949.04.  
GB&W 107 / X-107
GB&W 109 / X-109
Sixty-foot combination caboose-coach. Converted to work cars X-107, X-109 1949.04.  

Rebuilt cabooses were painted red with gray window sashes. The handrails were painted yellow beginning in the late 1940s. Most had a standard GREEN BAY ROUTE herald below the bay window; the added bay window was offset from center and "GB&W" and the car number was in white gothic lettering on the long half of the car side.

GBW #604, #606, #010, #012 became transfer cabooses and did not have bay windows.

GBW #603 became a supplemental business car to the primary business car #600 ROAMER; both were painted dark green with gold lettering and no GREEN BAY ROUTE herald to indicate the company purpose for those cars.  It was usually assigned to Whitehall Division Superintendent Van Dreese at Wisconsin Rapids. Gold "GB&W" was applied to the short side and "603" was applied near the end of the long side of the car.  Later #603 was repainted with a warmer green color and "GBW" with "603" beneath it was centered on the lower half of the long side between the bay and car body window.  Sill no GREEN BAY ROUTE, but with yellow grab irons.

Caboose #620 kept the standard paint scheme after the 1947.06.01 sale to A&W, but with the GREEN BAY ROUTE herald and reporting marks painted over.  In 1954 the caboose received a new paint scheme with AHNAPEE & WESTERN RAILWAY art deco font; on one side the lettering above it read "ROUTE YOUR FREIGHT" like the A&W diesels, but the other side read "SHIP VIA" like the A&W steam locomotive tenders. In 1963.07 it was repainted with a large A&W RAIL-TRUCK ROUTE herald opposite the bay window; silver end platforms, ladders, grab irons, lamp brackets, and smokestack; and the red window sashes matched the rest of the car body. The caboose was probably renumbered to #33 at that time. The car was sold in 1972.12 to Dee Erickson of Casco, and the car was moved from Algoma to Casco by Jim Rabas (local tow truck/mover) on a trailer, sans trucks. The caboose was welded to a short piece of track in front of the 'Erickson Apl Hus' in Casco on state highway 54 through most of the 1970s before being transferred to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.

Wood Bay Window Cabooses:

GBW #603 (1966).

GBW 608 (1961.11)

GBW #609 (1940)

GBW #611 (1965)

GBW X012 (1957).

KGB&W X032 (1950)


Transfer Caboose Rebuilding

Some of the wood cabooses were rebuilt into transfer units beginning in the 1960s using the existing caboose frames and with a short center steel cab, retaining the 600- number series previously used. Two cabooses escaped the conversion, AHW #33 and GBW #605. By July 1966 #605 was sold to the Copper Range Railroad of Houghton, Michigan as CRRR #605.

There is some confusion on which frames were used for which cabooses, since a transfer caboose GB&W #605 was built at this time despite the simultaneous existence of CRRR #605.

1960's Transfer Cabooses
GBW 601
transfer caboose
Rebuilt from an unknown car as a transfer caboose with a short center cab. Renumbered #101 in 1980.
GBW 602
transfer caboose
Rebuilt as transfer caboose with a short center cab. Photos tend to indicate that wood caboose #602 wasn't the donor for the frame of transfer caboose #602. Renumbered #102 in 1980.
GBW 604
transfer caboose
Caboose X604 was rebuilt as a transfer caboose with short center cab and renumbered 604. Last known photo was dated 1985.
GBW 605 (2nd)
transfer caboose
Rebuilt transfer caboose with short center cab after the sale of first #605. Last known photo was dated September 1980.
In addition to these four rebuilt transfer cabooses, several wood bay window cabooses from the 1930s rebuilding program remained on the roster in the 1960s, including GBW 607, 608, 609 and 611; KGB 630 and 631; and AW 33.  They were eventually replaced by new steel bay window cabooses.

Modern Caboose Fleet
(1960s - 1993)

Two steel bay window cabooses built by Thrall Car Manufacturing Company were added to the roster in 1961. GBW #613 and #614 were similar in construction to the design used for about 150 Chicago & North Western RR cabooses built at the same time. Caboose #614 had large "The Colonel Caboose" lettering on the sides early in its career.

Three additional bay window cabooses were built by International Car Company in 1965-66. They are #615, #616, and #617. They were purchased as shells from International Car Company and the GBW completed the interiors with the 615-616 going into service in 1966 and the 617 in 1967.

The last of the original 600- series cabooses to be rebuilt were #608 and #618 in 1969 for way freight service. They were fabricated by Kraft Steel Fabricators in Green Bay, and had small fiberglass bay windows. GBW #608 was typically assigned to trains No. 5 and 6 (Green Bay to Amherst Junction) and #618 for trains No. 7 and 8 (Wisconsin Rapids to Plover/Manawa).

After Itel Corporation purchased the GB&W the caboose fleet was renumbered from the 600- series to the 100- series in the winter of 1978-79. This was done because of the recent purchase of a fleet of 600- series boxcars and the inability of the computer system in place at the time to handle two different sets of cars with the same numbers. The cabooses retained their last two digits.

In the early 1980s the Federal Railroad Administration required caboose windows to be equipped with shatterproof glass. By 1982 the GB&W eliminated many of the road caboose windows by replacing them with steel plates, with only the bay windows and small windows on the end doors left remaining.

Modern Caboose Roster
GBW 601 / 101
transfer caboose
Transfer caboose with short center cab.
GBW 602 / 102
transfer caboose
Transfer caboose with short center cab.  Destroyed by fire on 1991.01.25 in Norwood Yard from a leaking fuel oil line.
GBW 604 / 104
transfer caboose
Last known photo was dated 1985
GBW 605 / 105
transfer caboose
Transfer caboose with short center cab. Last known photo was dated September 1980.
GBW 608 / 108
road caboose
Road caboose with small fiberglass bay window built in 1969. The car length and position of the axle generator and underbody brake gear implies that wood caboose #608 was the source of the frame.
GBW 112
road caboose
Cupola caboose, ex-Missouri Pacific  #11241, acquired June 1980.  Put in service May 1981 and was typically assigned to the 'Plover local' which served the paper mills in Central Wisconsin; it replaced #116 on 'Boat Trains' No. 1 & 2 beginning around January 1990.
GBW 613 / 113
GBW 614 / 114
road caboose
Steel bay window cabooses built by Thrall Car Manufacturing Company in 1961.
GBW 615 / 115
GBW 616 / 116
road caboose
Steel bay window cabooses built by International Car Company 1965.06.  #616 was usually assigned to Trains No. 1 & 4 from the 1960s through 1990, after which it was reassigned to the  west side of Green Bay ''Park Job'' which usually went on call at 6:30 A.M.
GBW 617 / 117
road caboose
Steel bay window cabooses built by International Car Company in 1967.
GBW 618 / 118
road caboose
Road caboose with small fiberglass bay window built in 1969. Perhaps an old caboose was the source of the frame. Scrapped at Norwood Yard on 1990.01.11 & 12.

The final caboose added to the GB&W roster was a second hand riveted steel cupola caboose purchased 1980 when an increase in traffic often required a second Green Bay - Winona train. GB&W#112 was built by International Railway Car (International Car Co.) in 1956 for the Kansas Oklahoma & Gulf as #1549, renumbered to Missouri Pacific #13241 [by 1969] as the KO&G was merged into the MP system and eventually renumbered MP #12241, then #11241 by the time it was retired from the MP in 1978 (the change in the first two digits indicated assignemnt in road, local and transfer service, respectively). The 112 made it's "trial" Green Bay to Winona run on May 10, 1980 (with the 115 as the "working" caboose). The car was later often used on the Plover way freight.

Transfer Cabooses:

 #102 (1980.08)

Road Cabooses

 #112 (1989.09.28)

#113 (1980.06)

#114 (1984.09)

 #618 (1976.05)


Post-GBW Caboose Roster

The Wisconsin Central RR purchased the Green Bay & Western in August 1993. At that time the following cabooses went in service on the Wisconsin Central.

Wisconsin Central / Canadian National's ex-GB&W Caboose Roster
GBW 101
transfer caboose
Became WC #101 transfer caboose; involved in a collision on July 26, 1993. Scrapped the summer of 2001.
GBW 112
road caboose
Became WC #112; acquired from CN/WC by the Colfax, Wis. Railroad Museum. Last reported at the Colfax museum in February 2003.
GBW 113
road caboose
Steel bay window cabooses built by Thrall Car Manufacturing Company in 1961.
GBW 114
road caboose
Became WC #114 and repainted yellow with a WC shield; later restencilled GBW 114. Usually stored in Manitowoc, Wis. and used about three times a week for the backup move to Rockwood. As of April 2010 it was listed for sale on Craigslist.
GBW 115
road caboose
Became WC #115; by 1996 it was at Thomaston, Mich.; later to Neenah and generally used for a backup move from the US Paper Converting plant, currently used for trackwork and other MOW projects in Appleton, Wis. Last reported February 2015.
GBW 116
road caboose
Spent some time in transfer service around Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, with a WC herald where the GBW herald was. Last reported fully plated over in WC solid maroon paint and renumbered #19 with the new Wisconsin Central System herald stenciled on. As of 2004 it was used primarily on CN train YGY758 which runs on the old C&NW line from Green Bay towards towards Manitowoc. Last reported in use at Green Bay in December 2009.
GBW 117
road caboose
Donated to the Portage County Historical Society in 2002.

The disposition of cabooses #108 and 118 are unknown.  The last known photo of #108 was taken on July 18, 1992.

In October 2001 the Canadian National Railway merged the Wisconsin Central. As of that time, the remaining GB&W cabooses on the WC were #112, #114, #115, #116 (renumbered WC #19) and #117.


Preserved GBW Cabooses

Preserved GB&W Cabooses
GBW 605 On display near Big Bay, Mich.
GBW 113 On display at the Rock K Ranch, 2372 Day Street (state highway 96), Greenleaf Wis.
GBW 116 Owned by Dufeck Wood Products Manufacturing. It sits on the Dufek spur on the Canadian National tracks in Denmark, Wisconsin and has been restored in GBW paint, including unplating the windows.
GBW 117 Acquired by the Portage County Historical Society in 2002 and on display at Heritage Park, Plover, Wis.
AW 33 Ahnapee & Western's sole caboose is housed indoors at the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay.

Consolidated Caboose Roster (1920s - 1993)

Marks Road Number type material acquired rebuilt retired
1920s-1930s 1940s-1980 1980-1993
GB&W 01 601 (1st)   road wood ? ? 1949
GBW   601 (2nd) 101 transfer steel ca. 1960s   to WC in 1993
GB&W 02 601 (1st)   road wood 1921 1937 1965?
GBW   602 (2nd) 102 transfer steel ca. 1960s   1990.01.25
GB&W 03 603   road wood 1921 1937 1972
GB&W 04 604 (1st)   road wood 1921 1937 1967
GBW   604 (2nd) 104 transfer steel ca. 1960s   1985
GB&W 05 605 (1st)   road wood 1921 1937 1966
GBW   605 (2nd) 105 transfer steel ca. 1960s   1980
GB&W 06 (1st)     road wood 1921   1929
GB&W 06 (2nd) 606   road wood 1929 1937 Late 1950s
GB&W 07 607 (1st)   road wood 1921 1937 1954
GB&W   607 (2nd)   road wood 1954   1967
GB&W 08 608 (1st)   road wood 1925 1939 1969
GBW   608 (2nd) 108 road steel 1969   unknown
GB&W 09 609   road wood 1921 1940 1967
GB&W 010     road wood 1925    
GB&W 011 611   road wood 1925 1937 1967
GB&W 012     road wood ?   1960s
GBW     112 road steel 1980.08   to WC in 1993
GBW   613 113 road steel 1961   to WC in 1993
GBW   614 114 road steel 1961   to WC in 1993
GBW   615 115 road steel 1966   to WC in 1993
GBW   616 116 road steel 1966   to WC in 1993
GBW   617 117 road steel 1967   to WC in 1993
GBW   618 118 road steel 1969   1990.01.11
A&W 020 620, 33   road wood 1924 1943 1972
KGB&W 030     road wood 1922 ? 1967
KGB&W 031     road wood 1924 ? 1967
KGB&W 032     road wood 1928   ?
KGB&W 033     road wood ?   1936
KGB&W 061     road wood ?   ?
KGB&W 062     road wood ?   ?
GB&W 244     box wood? ?   ?

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Updated July 11, 2015