On the track beside the Potter Place Railroad Station sits a well-preserved caboose. Identified as CV-4030 from the Central Vermont Railroad, this caboose dates from 1907. It retains all of its historically interesting features. There is the cupola for monitoring the train cars, there are the racks for the safety flares, there is the pot-bellied stove for warmth, the ice box for the engineer’s provisions, and the bunk bed for overnight duty.
All are welcome to visit our caboose and imagine the life of a railroad brakeman, sitting up in the cupola and monitoring the cars ahead, as the train wended its way through the winding track amongst the hills and valleys of New Hampshire.
The history of the train’s caboose is interesting. For more than a century, the last car on a train was the caboose. A little shack on wheels, it served as office, bedroom, and kitchen for the train crew. Its cupola was an observation deck from which the brakeman watched the train for shifting loads, overheated wheel bearings, and other problems.
“Caboose” is an old sailing term meaning a kitchen set up on the deck of a ship; it came to mean any portable or temporary shelter. The railroad caboose undoubtedly began as a tent or shelter set up on an old flatcar.