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WP668 caboose in the air
photo: copyright 2007 Danek Duvall
WP668 in the air, San Jose, May 2007
Image Copyright 2007 Danek Duvall
 

WP668 Caboose Story

WP668 is a historic Western Pacific Railroad caboose being restored by Katy Dickinson and John Plocher, a private family in San Jose, California, USA. More information and pictures are added as WP668's story evolves. For a summary of the WP668 story, see Katy's 8 December 2013 Caboose Clinic slides: "The Adventures of WP668: 1916-2013".

Questions, corrections, and additions are welcome!
Please send email to: katy dot dickinson at gmail dot com
.
For more about the detailed restoration of WP668, read katysblog

Published information on WP668 is in the References section below. In the Suppliers and Supporters section below you will find the names of the vendors we have used, our train club, the museums which have supported our restoration project, and others.

  WP668 caboose wheel truck and HO-scale model caboose 
photo: copyright 2006 Katy Dickinson
HO scale model caboose on WP668 wheel truck
Image Copyright 2006 Katy Dickinson

WP668 Interior - December 2013
WP668 Caboose Interior
. WP668 - December 2013:
WP668 Caboose
. WP668 - December 2008:
WP668 view from cactus garden
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson

Last updated: 13 December 2013


WP668 Caboose History

See
Historic_Pictures and Newer_Pictures, below.

  • 1916:
    • WP668 was originally built by Pullman as a steel strapped Western Pacific wooden box car in 1916 (during World War I). Boxcar series was 15001-16000.
    • WP668's steel straps are embossed in several places with the Pullman brand "ILLINOIS. G. U.S.A."
  • 1943:
    • In October 1943, WP668 was converted to serve as a caboose on San Francisco Bay Area freight trains (during World War II).
    • Two bay windows replaced the original side freight doors. The front and back doors and decks, and interior caboose fittings were installed.
    • 48 Bay Window cabooses were made 1942-1945. WP668 was the last made in 1943.
  • 1976:
    • After serving in the Sacramento area on fruit trains of the Sacramento Northern line, WP668 was retired from active service.
    • WP668 was sold by Western Pacific to a private owner. We think it was this first private owner who removed the front of one of the bay windows and cut out a large window opening in the side of WP668.
    • By 1979, WP668 was stored on the San Francisco waterfront.
  • circa 2000
    • WP668 was acquired by the Golden Gate Railroad Museum in San Francisco's Hunter's Point neighborhood.
    • Restoration by GGRM was planned and started.
  • 2006
    • GGRM sold WP668 to John Plocher and Katy Dickinson in January 2006 after the museum lost its Hunter's Point lease in San Francisco.
    • In February 2006, WP668 was moved by truck from San Francisco to storage in San Jose.
    • While in storage, the roof was rebuilt and the ceiling lights were installed.
    • Dickinson-Plocher backyard swimming pool was removed and a very short rail line built in the same location.
  • 2007
    • San Jose City Council grants a variance for WP668. Building permits are issued.
    • In May 2007, WP668 was moved onto the very short rail line in the Dickinson-Plocher backyard.
    • The exterior was stripped and painted.
    • Both decks and the bay window were rebuilt.
  • 2008
    • The inside was painted, the floor was rebuilt and covered with linoleum, the metal roof was installed.
    • The electrical and network wiring were completed.
    • The stained glass was designed and installed.
    • The cactus garden and arroyito were designed and created.
    • The historical markings and WP herald were added.
    • The ladders and stair handrails were designed and created.
  • 2009
    • The San Jose City permits were signed off (24 February 2009).
    • Fainting couch restoration complete - couch moves into caboose.
    • Bay Window seat designed and installed.
    • Stair handrails coated and finished, stair lighting installed.
  • 2010
    • Installed under carriage lighting.
    • Window seat cushion designed and created.
  • 2011
  • 2013
  • Work in Progress on WP668:
    • Install roof walk, attach it to existing ladders
    • Restore the rest of the windows (1 done, 5 to go)
    • Complete the back deck and step woodwork (steel is done)
    • Restore brake rigging and wheels
    • Reattach and restore battery box
    • Restore (replace?) the doors
    • Caulk and paint repair


WP668 Caboose Pictures

We don't have any photos yet of WP668 from 1916 - 1970 or from 1980 - 2005.
Please contact katy dot dickinson at gmail dot com if you find any!

1971-1979 Historic Photos of WP668


1971: 4 April 1971 at Cannon (near Fairfield) California -
Taken by Don Marenzi on a Bay Area Electric Railroad Assn. fantrip train called the "Rio Vista Junction Limited". WP668 was coupled to
Sacramento Northern Alco switcher # 403
Used with permission of Don Marenzi
    WP668.CannonCA.DonMarenzi.1971
    Photo 1971-April.A
WP668.CannonCA.DonMarenzi2.1971
Photo 1971-April.B

1972: March 1972, West Sacramento, California -
Taken by Don Marenzi on the Sacramento Northern line
Used with permission of Don Marenzi
    WP668.WestSacramentoCA.DonMarenzi.1972
    Photo 1972-March

1973: 16 July 1973, Sacramento, California
Photo from p. 8: "The Self-Propelled Era on the Sacramento Northern" by Tom Irion, "Western Pacific Headlight" Issue #29, Spring 2006, Publisher: Feather River Rail Society and WPRRHS. The caption is: "WP's wooden bay-window cabs, long bumped from mainline service, continued to earn their keep on the rear of SN trains well into the 1970s. Number 668 was assigned to the Woodland branch melon extra on July 16, 1973. - Dave Stanley photo"
Used with permission of Dave Stanley
    WP668.Sacramento.DaveStanley.1973
    Photo 1973-July

Photo of WP668 with Sacramento Northern engines from p. 3: "Western Pacific Headlight" Issue #29, Spring 2006, Publisher: Feather River Rail Society and WPRRHS.
Used with permission of Dave Stanley

    WP668.Sacramento2.DaveStanley.1973
    Photo 1973

1974:
July 1974, Oakland, California
Photo by E. Chambers, in Oakland, California.
Purchased from John C. La Rue, Jr.
Used with permission of John C. La Rue, Jr.

    WP668 Caboose 1974 in Oakland California
photo: copyright 1974 E. Chambers
    Photo 1974-July

September 1974, Sacramento, California
Photo from p.122 of Western Pacific Color Guide to Freight and Passenger Equipment by Jim Eager, 2001, Publisher: Morning Sun Books (ISBN-10: 158248063X, ISBN-13: 978-1582480633). The caption is: "WP 668 NE series 644-668 - Converted in October 1943 and still two years away from retirement, the 668 was at Sacramento in September 1974. That is the axle-drive for the generator silhouetted inboard the right hand truck. (Peter Arnold)"
Used with permission of Bob Yanosey, Morning Sun Books
Also used with permission from Peter Arnold whose website is: http://www.rrimages.net/

A black and white version of this image was also published on pp.22-23 of "The Western Pacific Headlight" Issue #35, Spring 2008.

    WP668.PeterArnold2.1974
    Photo 1974-September

Taken by Peter Arnold in 1974
Used with permission from Peter Arnold whose website is: http://www.rrimages.net/


    WP668.PeterArnold.1974
    Photo 1974

1975:
22 June 1975, Taken by Don Marenzi in West Sacramento - on the Sacramento Northern line
Used with permission of Don Marenzi
    WP668.DonMarenzi.Sacramento.6-22-75-1
    Photo 1975-June.A

Taken in June 1975 by Stephen Sloan in Sacramento (WP668 with what are probably WP658 and SN1642)
Used with permission of Stephen Sloan whose website is: http://www.ssloan.net/trains
With regard to this photo, Mike Mucklin on 3/18/2008 wrote in the "Train Orders" discussion group:

    WP didn't assign classes to their cabooses like UP (CA class) or Santa Fe (Ce class) so I generally refer to them by the first number in the group as being the "class car". All of the outside braced cupola and bay window cars were built by WP in Sacramento from retired 1916 era Pullman box cars. The first 12 cars were cupola style cars (nicknamed "Canyon Cabooses" for their recessed ends that provided some protection for crews in inclement weather) in 1937. There was a total of 28 cupola style OB cabooses built before WP built the first bay window style car in 1942. A total of 48 of these bay window box car rebuilds were constructed between 1942 and 1945 when the program ended. The 668 in your shot was the last of the 25 cars built in 1943 and the 658 was in the same group.

    WP668.Sacramento.SteveSloan.1975 copy
    Photo 1975-June.B


1976:
June 1976, Taken by Don Marenzi on King Street in San Francisco
Used with permission of Don Marenzi
    WP668.SanFranciscoCA.DonMarenzi.1976
    Photo 1976-June

1976, Taken by Ken Rattenne on King Street in San Francisco (WP668 with sister SN1642)
Used with permission of Ken Rattenne

    WP668.KenRattenne.SanFrancisco.1976
    Photo 1976

1979
Taken by Don Marenzi's father Ernest Marenzi in San Francisco from a cruise ship in August 1979. WP668 is newly painted and stored on a San Francisco Belt Railway track on a pier along the Embarcadero (with SN1642 and other privately owned passenger cars).
Used with permission of Don Marenzi
    WP668.SanFranciscoCA.DonMarenzi.1979 copy
    Photo 1979-August

2006-2008 Photos of WP668

For more pictures of the detailed restoration of WP668, read
Katysblog
    January 2006 at GGRM, San Francisco
    WP668.GGRM1.2006
    January 2006 at GGRM, San Francisco
    WP668 Caboose January 2006 at GGRM, San Francisco
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    WP668 Inside
    WP668.GGRM2.Jan2006
    Family GGRM Visit
    GGRM.family.Jan2006
    Jan 2006: WP668 and WP646
    WP668.WP646.GGRM.Jan2006
    Jan 2006: WP668 and SN1642
    WP668.SN1642.GGRM.Jan2006
    Jan 2006: SN1642 and WP646
    SN1642.WP646.GGRM.Jan2006
    Feb 2006 Loading Trucks, GGRM in SF
    WP668.SFmove1.2006
    February 2006 moving to San Jose
    WP668.SFmove2.2006
    WP668 on San Francisco street
    WP668.SanFrancisco.Feb2006
    Under 14'10" Bridge: Highway 101
    WP668.SFmove4.2006
    February 2006 moving to San Jose
    WP668 Caboose February 2006 moving from San Francisco to San Jose photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Safely Landed in Storage, San Jose
    WP668 Caboose Safely Landed in Storage, San Jose
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Removing roof nails
    WP668.Roof.JessicaMattPaul.2007
    Adding roof insulation
    WP668.Roof.2007
    Removing swimming pool 2006
    PreparingShortLine1.2007
    Crossbuck
    WP668.Crossbuck.2007
    Filling in Swimming Pool 2006
    PreparingShortLine2.2007
    Ties in Place
    PreparingShortLine3.2007
    Spiking Track
    WP668.TrackSVL.2007
    2006 - Golden Spike
    PreparingShortLine4.2007
    2006, Ballasted
    PreparingShortLine5.2007
    2006, Moving Trucks
    WP668.movingtrucks.Josh.2007
    2006, Moving Trucks
    WP668.trucks.2007
    2007 - Going Home
    WP668.DanekDuvall.SJmove1.2007
    Move from Storage to Home
    WP668.DanekDuvall.SJmove3.2007
    Over the trees
    WP668.DanekDuvall.SJmove4.2007
    2007 - Almost down
    WP668.DanekDuvall.SJmove5.2007
    Family with WP668
    WP668.DanekDuvall.SJmove6.2007
    2007 - Stripping Paint
    WP668.Paint1.2007
    Rotten Deck Out
    WP668.Ironwork1.2007
    Deck Enlarged, New Wood
    WP668.Ironwork2.2007
    2007 - Painting the Exterior
    WP668.paint3.2007
    2007 - Painting Trim
    WP668.paint4.2007
    Rotten floor out
    WP668.floor2.2007
    Floor repaired
    WP668.floor3.2007
    Fixing Wall Hole
    WP668.hole.2007
    Bay Window Repair
    WP668.baywindow1.2007
    New Bay Window Wood 2007
    WP668.Baywindow3.2007
    Interior Paint
    WP68.paint6.2007
    2008 - New Standing Seam Metal Roof
    WP668.roof4.2008
    New Linoleum Flooring
    WP668.floor.2008
    Checking it out
    WP668.JessicaPaul.2008
    2008 - Starting the New Garden
    WP668 Caboose 2008 - Starting to Create the New Garden in San Jose
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    2008 - Planting Cactus
    WP668 Caboose 2008 Planting Cactus in the new garden 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    2008 - More Cactus
    WP668 Caboose 2008 Planting more Cactus in the new garden 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    More Electrical
    WP668 Caboose 2008 - more electrical work 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    2008 - New Fence
    WP668 Caboose 2008 new fence 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    2008 - New Fence
    WP668 Caboose 2008 new fence 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Welding Stair Rail
    WP668.stairs.2008
    Cactus Garden and Arroyito
    WP668 Caboose 2008 - cactus garden and arroyito 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Stained Glass in Bay Window
    WP668 Caboose 2008 stained glass in bay window 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    2008 - New Furniture Inside
    WP668 Caboose 2008 new furniture inside
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Summer 2008 - Inside WP668
    WP668 Caboose 2008 - inside 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    WP668 Template
    WP668.markings.2008
    October 2008 - Stair Rail, Markings
    WP668 Caboose 2008 New Stair Rail, Markings
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    Wheel Chock
    WP668.wheelchocks.2007
    WP668 Drawing by
    Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson
    WP668 Caboose 2008 caboose  drawing by Eleanor Dickinson 
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    December 2008
    Adding WP Herald
    WP668.herald.2008
    December 2008
    Outside View of WP668
    WP668 Caboose 2008 outside view
photo: copyright 2008 Katy Dickinson
    March 2009
    Inside WP668
    WP668 Caboose inside 
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
    24 Feb 2009 Permits Signed Off
    WP668 Caboose 24 Feb 2009 Permits Signed Off
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
    March 2009 Window Seat
    WP668 Caboose March 2009 Window Seat Construction 
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
    Window Seat Done
    WP668 Caboose Window Seat Done  March 2009
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
    April 2009 Flowers
    WP668 Caboose Flowers April 2009
photo: copyright 2009 Katy Dickinson
    2011 Interior
    WP668 Caboose Interior
    2011 Gas Stove
    WP668 Caboose Stove
    Katy Dickinson: 2013 WP668 Talk
    Katy Dickinson


WP668 References: Books, Magazines, Videos


Suppliers and Supporters

  • Armstrong Carpet & Linoleum put the linoleum floor in WP668
  • Avi Decorative Painting (Avi Lenchner) painted WP668 inside and out
  • Chris Gremich ("The Iron Expert" of CG Designs in San Jose, CA, phone: 408-313-3706) made the new ladders for WP668 and did several large welding jobs. Also: Adam Stickles (Fusion Welding, 408-849-6636)
  • Felix Quintero (408-592-4341, San Jose CA) helped build WP668's new roof and worked on the landscaping
  • Golden Gate Railroad Museum (GGRM) - where we bought WP668 - moved the remains of its historic railroad collection from San Francisco to Nile Canyon in Sunol, California
  • Poot's House of Cactus (17229 E State Highway 120, Ripon, CA) - where we bought many of our larger plants
  • Portola Railroad Museum and Feather River Rail Society - a great source of information and inspiration
  • Silicon Valley Lines model train club members have been our biggest fans and helpers from the start
  • South Bay Crane and Rigging (408-244-0414, San Jose) moved WP668 twice
  • South Bay Historical Railroad Society - in the Santa Clara Railroad Depot in Santa Clara, California
  • South Bay Materials (408-977-1855, San Jose) is where we buy rocks, dirt, and bark
  • John Gibbs of The Workshop (500 E Mcglincy Lane, #G, Campbell, CA 95008-4919, Phone: 408-371-7166) and Tom Malloy Upholstery (1334 Dell Ave # G, Campbell, CA 95008, Phone: 408-374-8670) restored the fainting couch and the rocking chair, made pillows for the rocking chair and window seat
  • Stove: Majestic Brand Oxford stove from Bay Area Fireplace
  • Vincent Taylor Architectural Art Glass made the bay window stained glass for WP668
  • Wildcat Metals put the metal roofing on WP668


Except as noted, images Copyright 2006-2013 by Katy Dickinson, John Plocher. All photos are used with permission. All rights reserved.