This 100-Year-Old Caboose is Now an Airbnb on a Mountain in Maine
I have loved trains ever since I was a kid and would walk down the railroad crossing at the end of my street in South Paris to watch the local switch deliver cars to Paris Manufacturing. I was at the crossing so much to watch the train that one day the engineer asked if I wanted a ride and I got to sit in the cab of the engine as it moved up and down the tracks. I'll never forget that day.
Back then, there was always a caboose on the end of the train, even for these switchers. But since then, technology has taken over and everything that was monitored from the caboose is now done with a computerized device mounted to the end of the last car. I miss seeing those cabooses. They may not be in use anymore, but they aren't completely gone. Take a look at this.
This is a former Maine Central Railroad wooden caboose. Back when it was still on the rails, it looked like this, which is an HO scale model of a Maine Central wooden caboose.
That caboose has been converted into an Airbnb that is on Sugarloaf Mountain. It took seven years to restore and covert and although it may be homey inside, it still has the look and feel of a caboose.
The caboose now is lettered with "Sugarloaf Railway" rather than Maine Central. I don't believe there was ever a Sugarloaf Railway, but there was a narrow-gauge railway called the Sandy River and Rangeley Lakes Railroad that had a station near the base of the mountain.
The inside is cozy, but it does have a double bed, a twin bed and sofa bed. So it can sleep five.
There's a small kitchen with a microwave, which is much better than the woodstove that the crew used for heat and to cook on back in the day.
The cupola is still intact and provides seating from above. This is where a crewman would sit and have a view over the train where he could monitor cars that might be shifting their loads, damaged equipment and axels that were overheating. That's all done electronically now. That pressure gauge you see here was used to monitor the break pressure of the train.
If you're looking for a really neat place to stay at Sugarloaf and an experience you'll never forget, book a stay with Airbnb host Johanna. I don't ski, but spending a night or two in a caboose sounds like an adventure to me.