Historic Marker to be Dedicated
ANGELICA—The Pittsburg, Shawmut & Northern Railroad Historical Society will hold a ceremony to dedicate its new roadside historic marker on Monday, July 17th, at 11:30AM, at its museum, located on the Allegany County Fairgrounds in Angelica, NY. The iconic blue and yellow marker is in honor of the society’s four-wheel caboose that has been restored and preserved at the museum.  The caboose, known as a Bobber Caboose, was constructed in Angelica in 1911 in the Shawmut’s own shops and is the last remaining example of a fleet of these cabooses that operated on the Shawmut in Western New York and North Central Pennsylvania.
The historic marker was funded solely by the historical society through fund raisers, book sales and direct donations.  It was cast by Catskill Castings at their foundry in Bloomville, NY.  Catskill Castings is the current-day successor of the historic Walton Foundry that cast the original NYS roadside historic markers in 1930s.
Society president Ken Clark explained, “These four-wheel Bobber Cabooses were once the standard for American railroads around the turn of the 20th Century.  But as trains became heavier and ‘pusher engines’ started to be placed behind the cabooses, they became unsafe for the train crews that rode in them.
“The railroad unions had a lot of political clout in those days,” continued Clark, “and they eventually persuaded state governments to systematically outlaw them.  In the case of New York State, they were outlawed in 1921, but the enforcement was delayed until 1924.  They were replaced by more modern, two-truck, eight-wheel cabooses.”
The PS&N then restricted operation of these cabooses to Pennsylvania which did not have such a prohibition.  The railroad, which had operated under bankruptcy protection for years, was abandoned and scrapped in 1947.  Company records for the sale or disposition of these cabooses have been lost or destroyed.  However, the PS&NRRHS archives has a photograph of the caboose being used as a hunting cabin in Marienville, PA in 1948.
Bob Sanders, of Wellsville, NY, a trustee and chief engineer for the society explained, “The society was made aware of the existence of this caboose in 1998.  The owners wanted to either donate it, or demolish it.  We quickly arranged to have it transported to our museum in Angelica.  That was the easy part.  The big job was the restoration.
Sanders continued, “We knew it was a Shawmut caboose, but we didn’t know which one.  As we started to peel off the layers of old siding, the number ‘175’ slowly emerged.  One of our volunteers ran up to our station building where our archives are housed.  They quickly located and confirmed that the 175 had been constructed right here in Angelica in 1911.  Our caboose had come home.”