.Buying A Caboose
You may not find cabooses on everyday rail lines, but they remain a target for collectors. Cabooses fell out of fashion in the 1980s as train companies merged and scaled back to save money. Companies sold the cars for scrap. Over time, the costs soared, but that hasn't stopped the interest of collectors.
Wes Coscia, a general contractor in Dade City, said he bought a 1952 Seaboard caboose for $2,000 in 1998 and spent $20,000 to convert it into an apartment for his daughter. He has been fascinated by trains since childhood and started collecting 10 years ago.
"It starts small and it grows," he said. "It's the nostalgia of it."
Joe Oates of Seffner, president of the Atlantic Coast Line & Seaboard Air Line Railroads Historical Society, said collectors can start with photos, signals or kerosene lanterns and graduate to big purchases.
A caboose today can cost up to $10,000, and transport costs for the 55,000-pound vehicle can double that amount.
"The thing about the cars is it's not so much the purchase," Oates said. "It's the upkeep of the thing, because they just sit there outside. You have to really love trains."