Unity 53A was built in 1916 as car 8323 at the New York Ontario & Western Railroad Co. shops in Middletown, New York. It was one of 40 cabooses in its class, three of which are still in existence. 53A was purchased from the O&W in 1953 by Unity Railways, a short coal-hauling railroad which served the town of Renton in eastern Allegheny County, PA.
The caboose came to the Museum in the fall of 1965 as Unity number 53A, and was originally obtained to serve as crew quarters for our members and resided on our railroad siding as part of the railroad exhibit. This changed in 1985 when a Museum volunteer undertook rebuilding its railroad gauge trucks, using the wheels and axles from a dismantled Philadelphia snow sweeper. With 53A successfully converted to streetcar gauge, the next challenge was moving the car over to the trolley line and making it work together with our West Penn locomotive number 1. This was accomplished using our dual gauge switch, locomotives and a great deal of manual labor.
Following its move to the trolley line, 53A received new matchboard siding, new window sashes and a fresh coat of paint and lettering. It offers a great contrast of how big a “little red caboose” is compared to a trolley.
|Car Number||53A||Car Builder||New York Ontario & Western Railway Company, Middletown, NY|
|Year Built||1910||Type||DTDE Railroad Caboose|
|Year Acquired||1966||Status||Trolley Display Building Exhibit|