Father and daughter transform an old caboose train into a cozy home


Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

A father and daughter have created a cool place to rest while giving new life to old train rolling stock. In northeast Iowa is a former SOO Line caboose overlooking a horse pasture. Inside is comfortable accommodation with all the amenities of home.

At one of my trips to California This year, I decided that instead of staying in a big fancy hotel, I would lie down in a historic building turned into a guesthouse. The experience was so great that I will be trying other quirky accommodations on my next road trip. One place to find weird lodgings is Airbnb; this is where you will find this van converted into a vacation rental home.

Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

Jim Dotzenrod walked past a line of 10 cabooses parked near his home in Decorah, Iowa, Insider reports. He walked past the vans several times until his curiosity really flew in 2016. Then he decided he had to have one. But what do you do with a caboose? You can’t turn it into a motorhome, but you can turn it into a stationary house. And that’s what Jim and his daughter Danielle did.

Jim couldn’t get one of the 10 parked cabooses, but Danielle is then …partner found one at a nearby salvage yard. He was going to be scrapped for his iron, but for $ 8,000 Jim was able to keep it from being cut. He then spent an additional $ 2,000 to bring the 52,000-pound caboose home. He was brought to his property, where a short set of tracks was put in place for the caboose.

Railcar was built in 1973 and served the SOO Line Railroad in the Midwest. At that time, cabooses were used on all freight trains. A crew in the caboose watched the train in front of it for breakdowns or damage. They also checked the movement of the cargo.

Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

Deregulation in the 1980s and technology ended the need for trains to have cabooses. Now the tracks are equipped with fault detectors and an end-of-train device takes the place of the caboose. The next time you watch a freight train go by, watch out for the last car. YesYou will likely see a yellow box with a red light attached to the back. It is the machine which took the place of the caboose.

Without use, many cabooses ended up in museums or scrapped.

Turning a caboose into a vacation home is harder than it looks. The interior of the SOO 124 van had iron walls and the air inside smelled like diesel. Jim cut out the walls to open up the interior and replaced them with wood paneling, including turning the upper level into a bedroom accessible via stairs.

Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

The diesel odor was removed by high pressure washing.

While Jim took care of the woodwork, Danielle did much of the design, including finding the furniture for the van. Unfortunately, the renovated interior only has a few nods to the caboose past. The Dotzenrods have retained some original parts such as the ceiling handrail and the original driver’s chairs.

Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

Image of the article titled Father and daughter turned an old caboose train into a cozy home

Photo: Airbnb

They would have spent an additional $ 4,000 for the renovation, and it took about 300 hours of work over six months. It is not bad at all, because it has everything from a functional kitchen to a bathroom.

I love to see old equipment – be it buses or trains – converted back into something new, and it hits the spot. But I understand why it’s not often that I find old railway equipment reused. This stuff is heavy, so it’s kind of something you put down and don’t move. Always, I wish more people saved old railroad gear from the junkyard.

About Candace Victor

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