Welcome Home, Caboose #507!

Oregon & California Caboose #507

In 2015, the Willamette Heritage Center was offered a unique treasure – 1909 Oregon & California Caboose #507. Since its retirement, the Caboose has rested in a forest outside of Eugene, Oregon. The property owner offered the caboose to the WHC in hopes that it could be restored and preserved as a symbol of the Willamette Valley’s past. After several years of preparation and coordination, it finally arrived in Salem on Friday, July 28th, 2017.


According to the 1913 ICC Roster list for Southern Pacific Cabooses, Caboose #507 was one of nine cabooses made by the Standard Steel Car, Co. for the Oregon & California Railroad (O&C) in 1909.  Although technically purchased by the O&C and originally lettered to show it, the Southern Pacific Railroad had a controlling interest in O&C and this caboose was built following a standard SP C-30 class design.  With the formal purchase of the O&C by the SP in 1927, our caboose was officially transferred.  Maintenance cards for the car found in the SP archives show that most of the work done on the car happened in the Brooklyn rail yards in Portland and in Salem, suggesting that the regular route of this car was up and down the Willamette Valley on the tracks that run parallel to the museum site.

Interpretive Goals

Once the restoration of Caboose #507 is complete, visitors will be able to:

  • Gain a better understanding of the purpose of the caboose and its role in local transportation history
  • Learn about individuals who lived and worked around this car
  • Be exposed to and tangibly interact with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematical (STEM) principles related to the operation of a railroad in this area

The Caboose will be designed with an ADA accessible ramp and decking to allow all visitors the ability to experience its interior.


  • Crane and trucking companies hired – Spring 2017

  • Site prepped for track to be set – June 2017

  • Track donated and set in place by Albany & Eastern Railroad Company – June 30th, 2017

  • Caboose moved from Eugene to the WHC

  • Roof replaced

  • Cover built to protect caboose

  • Exterior restoration complete

  • Interior restoration complete

  • Installation of ADA accessible ramps and porches

  • Placement of interpretive signage and exhibit materials

  • Grand opening!

The relocation and restoration of the Caboose would not be possible without the generous donation of time, expertise, and resources from several individuals and organizations. Thank you to the following individuals, businesses, and organizations for your generous roles in getting Caboose 507 home!

  • Kay Lee & Dave Brown
  • Albany & Eastern Railroad
  • Ed Austin & Associates
  • Boatwright Engineering
  • Cougar Construction
  • Financial Products & Services, Inc. in honor of Cascade Warehouse Company of Salem
  • Christopher & Lola Hackett
  • Miller Paint
  • O’Neill Pine Company
  • Photo Electric, LLC
  • Salem Alliance Church
  • Salem Downtown Rotary Club
  • The Salem Foundation
  • Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund
  • Trust Management Services
  • Willamette University Atkinson Graduate School of Management