Ann Arbor Cabooses 2838 & 2839

Built in January and March of 1952 respectively by the Wabash Railroad in Decatur, Illinois, these two cabooses served the Ann Arbor Railroad between Toledo, Ohio and Frankfort, Michigan. These cars were serviced during their careers in the old railroad shops in Owosso, now operated by the Great Lakes Central Railroad.  The cars have a unique streamlined cupola design used by the Wabash and its subsidiaries.

2838 had a rough life on the Ann Arbor Railroad. In the 1970’s, the car suffered an interior fire after rolling down an embankment during a derailment near Farwell, Michigan. The interior of the car was completely redone, hence its different appearance from the 2839. No. 2838 was auctioned by the State of Michigan in 1985 as part of the Ann Arbor’s bankruptcy. The caboose was purchased by the Bluewater Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society before being sold to the Steam Railroading Institute in 2007. Restoration was made possible with aid from the Krauss Foundation of North Carolina, as well as donations from the Marsh and Wilson families. 2838 has been restored to the “DT&I/ Compass” scheme, as it appeared in the mid-1960’s.

2839 was kept in service after the Ann Arbor Railroad’s bankruptcy and was purchased by the reorganized Ann Arbor Railroad Company and was used in and around Toledo, Ohio until the 1990’s.  It was then purchased by Steam Railroading Institute member Steve Zuiderveen, who moved it to Maryland to repair the damage from a collision on the Ann Arbor. The car came to SRI in 2004 and was restored by the volunteers in 2005 to the “Wabash/ Flag” scheme as when delivered in 1952. Mr. Zuiderveen donated the caboose to the Steam Railroading Institute afterwards.