Every Depot museum needs a caboose, according to volunteer Eric Martin. I tend to agree with him, as do the kids who come in for tours. We go to the caboose last because, I tell them, it’s the end of the train and the end of our tour.

It’s even fun to say. Try it. Go on. Ca-BOOSE!

Okay, maybe it’s just me.

In any case, this morning I spent some time looking over our caboose with Richard Anderson, director of the Northwest Railway Museum. Thanks to a generous grant of $18,000 from 4Culture, we will be able to contract with the Northwest Railway Museum to make some major repairs to our little yellow caboose, ensuring it’s long life at the Issaquah Depot. The Northwest Railway Museum has a long history of renovating and repairing rolling stock (the official term for rail cars, locomotives, cabooses, etc.) and have just begun doing the work for other organizations on a contract basis. It’s a win-win situation, since it provides expertise for groups like ours who have rolling stock in need of repair, and a source of income for the Northwest Railway Museum.

The most significant issues with our caboose include water leaks and rotting wood on one wall and in the cupola, and rusting on the exterior of the car.

The grant from 4Culture represents about half the cost of completing the project, so we will need to do more fundraising in order to complete the work, but the investment will be well worth the effort. It will be great to secure the caboose from future deterioriation and preserve it as part of the Issaquah Depot interpretive experience.