In 1969, Hersheypark received a donation from Reading Railroad Company – a rare red caboose. This caboose, #92938, was built in September 1942 – when steel was only allowed to be used for the war effort during World War II.
As a result, this caboose was made out of wood, a material not otherwise used for such a purpose since 1920. The cabooses made during the war were all made out of wood, making them rare compared to all the other years made from steel. (That’s interesting, given the US Mint released steel pennies in 1943.)
This train car was a little red caboose, often called a Northeastern Caboose, and was placed adjacent to several kiddie rides – Helicopters, Whipperoo (later Wells Cargo), Space Age, Motorcycles (named Traffic Jam today) – in an area approximately where Music Box Theater stands today.
In 1980, the caboose was relocated when Hersheypark expanded and Pirat and Cyclops were added. The caboose was moved to a spot where Tip Top had been located (it had been removed after the 1979 season). It remained in this location until it was removed from the park in 2015.
The caboose was originally a walk-through ride at a charge of 10 cents in the 1970 season. This was essentially a flop and the walk-through was discontinued in the 1971 season. It was then used as a place parents could have parties for their children. It eventually became Lost Children’s Caboose, a place where children who were disconnected from their parents could be taken until their parents were found. In 2006, the caboose was discontinued for this purpose with a new building having a Lost Children’s Corral next to The Claw.
The caboose is currently in Hamburg, Pennsylvania, at a train yard for Reading Railroad Heritage Museum. Pictures of the removal of the caboose from Hersheypark and installation at the train yard can be seen here.
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I have a wide variety of interests, from sports to politics, music to Star Trek. I write about the history of amusement parks on my website, The Amusement Parkives, which I founded in 2016.