Tracks end in Gardnerville for ATSF Class C8 Caboose
The Silver State is no stranger to railways and trains, but how many Douglas County residents can say they have a piece of railroad history in their backyard?
Laurie Bisch has an ATSF Class C8 caboose at her Minden home.
“As far as we know it is the only caboose in all of Minden and Gardnerville,” said Bisch.
The 70,000-pound caboose arrived in August from Las Vegas on two semi-trucks complete with the tracks from which it was pulled and the railroad crossing and stop sign.
Built in 1978, Bisch said it was one of the last cabooses in service on the Union Pacific Railroad before it was retired in the 1980s.
After retirement the caboose sat in Bakersfield, Calif., where Bisch discovered and bought it in 2004.
“I got it just to have it. They’re getting hard to find,” she said. “The railroad is really what built America, so it’s neat to have that piece of history. It’s a conversation starter to say the least.”
The caboose was pulled for the last time on the tracks from Bakersfield to Bisch’s Las Vegas home at the time until she and her husband bought a home in Gardnerville last year.
During the caboose’s journey from Vegas to Minden, Bisch said people were following it on a forum called Railfan.com.
“It’s interesting, people actually follow where these cabooses are and where they go,” said Bisch. “There’s a whole group of history and train enthusiast out there and it’s just interesting.”
Bisch admitted to being a rail fan herself.
She said her step-dad was a steam engineer on the Pacific Union Railroad in the 1930s.
“He was one of the last engineers in service on the Pacific Union Railroad, so trains and this piece of history is something I grew up with,” she said. “Having it is a tribute for him as well.”
Bisch said she is in the process of re-storing the caboose and plans to make it into a party room or guest house.
“Right now, it’s a blank canvas, “she said. “This is kind of my hobby, I collect old things and like re-doing and re-storing them.”