Monday, April 11, 2005

Keeping the Caboose Running

There is good news for one of Lancaster County, PA's many wonderful railroad-themed attractions.

One of the more obvious changes in railroading over the last 30-40 years has been the elimination of cabooses on trains. As a child, I loved seeing the caboose at the end of a train. For practical reasons, the cute little caboose has been replaced by a much smaller and barely noticeably flashing red light at the end of a consist. Thank goodness, then, for places like the Red Caboose Motel in Lancaster County.

This unique type of accommodation consists of several old cabooses that have been renovated and turned into motel rooms. I have seen the motel in person, but did not get a chance to stay there. Reservations needed to be booked months in advance. It was a busy week, given that so many families were visiting the nearby Strasburg Railroad for an appearance by Thomas the Tank Engine, but when you have to plan your stay about half a year ahead of time, you reasonably assume that the motel is doing great business.

As the article indicates, the Red Caboose has fallen on hard times in the five years since my family last visited Strasburg. (Details on the struggle over the motel's continued existence can be found in a longer version of the article here.) I may need to plan another visit to the area after the motel is back up and running. We have not had a good steam train ride in quite a while.

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