Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad No. 6
Cupola Caboose built 1949
Caboose No. 6 is one of 25 identical cars built in 1949 by the skilled workers at the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad (MKT) shops in Denison, Texas.
Originally numbered 1014 and painted “Sloan Yellow,” No. 6, a typical cupola caboose, saw service on all MKT lines in the Southwest United States. Before the age of computers, the caboose served as the “office” of a freight train, where the conductor handled the paper work related to the train’s operation and the brakeman watched over the train as it traveled along the railroad.
At an unknown time, the car was overhauled, painted in MKT’s overall red paint scheme and renumbered 6. During much of the mid-1980s, No. 6 worked in Oklahoma, but in 1988, the victim of spray paint can-wielding vandals, No. 6 was repainted and reassigned to Houston.
No. 6 is believed to have been the last standard cupola caboose in service on the MKT. The MKT was merged into the Union Pacific Railroad in late 1988. During the winter of 1988-1989, No. 6 was stored as it lacked a heater to keep the crew warm (the car originally had a coal-fired stove; the stove currently displayed in the car was purchased by the museum after No. 6’s acquisition).
The car never returned to regular railroad service, its retirement brought on by the changing needs of modern railroading. Union Pacific declared the car surplus and donated No. 6 to the Gulf Coast Railroad Museum in May 1989.