IF YOU GO
• What: Caboose Days
• When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
• Where: Southeastern Railway Museum, 3595 Buford Highway, Duluth
• Cost: $8 for adults, $6 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for children ages 2 to 12, while caboose rides are an additional $3 and handcart rides are $1
• For more information: Visit www.southeasternrailwaymuseum.com
The Southeastern Railway Museum is celebrating spring with its 12th annual Caboose Days festival this weekend in Duluth.
Everyone is encouraged to come out and ride in a vintage caboose, explore the museum and even try their hand at operating a Victorian-era handcart.
“There’s something for pretty much anybody if they have the least bit of interest in trains or if they’re just looking for something fun to do with their family this weekend,” said marketing director Jeffrey Hildebrand. “It’s a whole lot of fun, it’s a chance to welcome spring in an unusual way.”
Caboose rides begin for the museum in the spring because the cabooses are not heated. There are two cabooses used for the rides, both from the 1950s. One of the cabooses is a transfer caboose, used to transfer workers to and from worksites. The transfer caboose has open platforms on both ends and an enclosed center, allowing for a caboose ride in the open air or in the comfort of a cabin.
The caboose was an important part of the railroad system. It served as an office for the train crew and allowed them to keep an eye on the train as a whole.
“There’s something about the caboose that fires people’s imagination, and reminds them of the romance and adventure we so often associate with railroads,” said Museum Administrator Randy Pirkle. “Even though cabooses are long gone from the American landscape, they still roll in our hearts. Caboose Days is our way of celebrating these iconic cars and the multifaceted history of rail transportation.”
In addition to caboose rides, visitors to Caboose Days will have the opportunity to operate a 19th-century handcart. This is a rare opportunity, as many museums do not allow the carts to be in operation at all.
Admission to Caboose Days also covers full museum access, including access to the museum’s annual photo contest. The contest pieces are on display to showcase the mixture of railroad history and art.
“This really is one of the best years for the contest,” Hildebrand said. “There are some really striking photographs and a really nice range of images this year.”
Whether you’re a train fanatic or just looking for a nice day out, Caboose Days has something for everyone.