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Restoration of the Darlington Depot Caboose is Underway
Darlington Train

DARLINGTON — The Lafayette County Historical and Genealogy Society recently gave an update about the restoration work on the 1937 Caboose they had set on the tracks beside the Darlington Depot. This project will result in an attraction for Darlington, an educational history exhibit, and a resource for charitable organizations in Darlington. 

The Historical and Genealogy Society acquired the caboose and moved it to the existing tracks beside the depot last winter. As soon as weather warmed up, clean-up and restoration began.  

The caboose will be painted in Milwaukee Road colors, with the interior finished as a working caboose. But first the exterior needed to be repaired. Ted Thuli and Darlington Dairy Supply donated the steel, and Ted’s welding expertise, to put patches on areas needing coverage. Tri-State Softwash was able to give the caboose a gentle wash on the thinner steel cab exterior, and a power wash on the solid steel wheel assemblies. Museum staff treated any small holes with Rust Converter and then covered them with fiberglass to make the “outer envelope” weather secure.  

The next step is painting the exterior which is a three step process. First any surface rust on the exterior will be painted with two coats of Rust Converter. That is scheduled to happen at 9 a.m. on Thursday, May 30. Anyone interested in helping with the caboose is encouraged to come to the Depot that morning. The painting is easy  as brushes, rollers, and gloves are provided — and no ladder work is required.  

Once the caboose is treated with Rust Converter and has dried for two days, it will be painted with PPG Epoxy Primer.  This is likely to occur on June 1 or 2, depending on weather. This is a two-part coating that will be mixed as it is used and must be applied within two hours of mixing, so it is another job that needs extra volunteer painters.

The top coat will be the black and orange colors of the Milwaukee Road, to be scheduled after the primer has dried. 

Anyone interested in helping to paint the caboose should contact the museum at 608-776-8340 and sign up to be a volunteer. Museum staff will contact volunteers when work days are scheduled.

After the exterior is painted, installing windows and work on the interior will begin. 

Anyone can visit the caboose at the Darlington Depot, and the Depot Museum and Welcome Center opens for the 2024 Summer Season on Saturday, May 25.  There are new model train displays and Lucky Cow Gelato available at the Depot.

Darlington Train