Build Log: Bobber Caboose

When I designed my layout I envisioned an extensive mining operation with its own tiny train. It would serve multiple mines, picking up ore from various tipples and delivering it to the stamp facility at the main yard. The ore would be crushed and deposited in gondolas on the mainline where it would be taken to Albuquerque for smelting.

In addition to ore the train would deliver fuel oil, bracing timbers, blasting explosives and other supplies to the mines. It would also serve to carry the mining crews to and from the remote locations. With all of that rail traffic a caboose for the switchman / brakeman would be needed.

I am using the side dump ore cars from Bachmann and had thought to use a AMS logging transfer caboose but the price was prohibitive. It also looked to big with the ore cars and 0-6-0 engine. I decided to make one out of an extra ore car.


I removed the tub and center supports. The floor was glued directly to the center sill and wood ends attached.



Several designs were debated but the final decision was made that it should be a small shack large enough for two people. I had bought a handful of the Delton peaked roofs on E-bay and found that one of them was the perfect length and width to cover the platform. The dimensions were set. A small enclosure with a single door and a platform on the rear.

The walls were made from a single piece of slatted bass wood from Midwest Lumber. The door and windows are strip wood. Because it is such a small space I did a built-in table and seats.


The polystyrene in the corner is for the corrugated steel that lines the wall behind the stove. I built the cabin separate from the base so it could be painted before installation. Here it is with the Delton roof sitting on it.


Supports were added under the roof overhang for appearance sake. Posts and a hand rail were installed on the end of the platform. The figure is an ancient Fun and Games workman.



The roof is glued in place but I decided to attach the cabin with small screws from underneath just in case I ever needed to remove it.

I installed some tool racks on both ends of the caboose to make it look more utilitarian. The wood stove is a resin model and the various containers are 1/24th model garage items. Most of the tools are from the Bachmann loco sets.

As hoped it fits in with the mine train very well.

Cibola ore

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