Bobber Caboose – PC&Y 20

Builder: Pennsylvania Railroad
Built: 1905
Original Owner: Pennsylvania Railroad
Class: ND
Acquired: 2013

Bobber cabooses – see our CO&E 0100 page for an explanation of the name – made for a rough ride for crew members keeping watch from the rear of the train.

This wood-sided bobber was built by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1905 for use on its freight trains across its system. We have not yet found its original PRR number. Replaced by more modern cabooses (“cabin cars” in PRR parlance), the little caboose was sold to the Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley Railway around 1920. It served the P&OV, Shenango Furnance Company, and finally the Pittsburgh, Chartiers and Youghiogheny Railroad as its number 20. All primarily served Pittsburgh’s booming steel industry.

Retired by the PC&Y in the 1960’s, the caboose passed into the private ownership railroad executive Fred Okie. Okie donated it – along with Carnegie Steel engine #14 – to the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation in 1978. The engine and caboose joined other historic railroad equipment on display at Station Square, the newly-renovated shopping center based in the former Pittsburgh & Lake Erie passenger terminal. Accordingly, the caboose was adorned with a P&LE logo.

Another Station Square renovation caused the engine and caboose to be moved to a display site in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. When the borough chose to seek a new home for the equipment, Jerry Jacobson successfully bid on the little train set and they were moved to Sugarcreek in late 2013.

A little worse for wear after so many years outside, this historic little caboose finally received a thorough overhaul in 2020. Age of Steam restoration specialists replaced rotted wood, cleaned up metal components, and applied a new coat of paint. The bobber is now restored to its former look as PC&Y 20.