Note: The following article, written by Al Pomeroy and Bob Norander, is reprinted with permission from the Central Vermont Railway Historical Society (CVRHS) magazine, where it was featured in the September 2022 issue. Visit their website at CVRHS.com.
The Caboose at Potter Place
By Al Pomeroy and Bob Norander
Potter Place is a village of Andover, New Hampshire, located on the former Boston and Maine Northern line between Concord, New Hampshire, and White River Junction, Vermont. The location is named for the Potter family.
The property consists of a well-preserved Boston and Maine station with museum inside, a freight house, and general store, a short section of the original mainline and sidings, and a B&M 50’ 6” Boxcar #4503 (originally B&M 77764), itself a unique relic as it was one of eight cars converted by the addition of grain doors and used to haul spent grain. (It is possible that 4503 was used to haul residue from beer production at the Budweiser facility in Merrimack, New Hampshire.), And of course our primary subject, CV Caboose 4030.
All these properties are under the care of the Andover Historical Society, which maintains this historic site and museum. Today the northern mainline has been converted into a 58-mile-long bike trail between Lebanon, New Hampshire and Boscawen, New Hampshire.
George Dutka reported that the CV4030 was sold to Frank R. Dickinson of Proud Yankee Enterprises, Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, on December 1, 1971, for $850.
I was first contacted by Ed Hiller of the society back in May of 2018. He indicated the caboose was a gift to them from the Wolfeboro Railroad in the 1980s and arrived in Andover in 1987.
Since the exterior had badly degraded over the years, the siding was removed and replaced, along with other repairs. With this work completed in 1989, a fresh coat of red paint was applied.
Since some 30 years had passed, it was time to consider painting the car, but what color to paint it? I was able to dig up photos of the car in all the paint schemes that had been applied in recent years, and after some internal discussion the decision was made to do the Maple Leaf Scheme.
In the spring of 2018, another member, Bob Norander, received a report that the roof was leaking. Bob and Tim Norris made temporary repairs and recommended replacement on the entire covering. A fundraising effort for the roof was begun.
I prepared drawing files for them, based on what I knew from my own prior research on CV 4014. Ed Beaudette made color copies of the car cards from the files and sent them to me, and using the car card data I was able to identify the correct shopping dates for the paint job, as well as other servicing information, to be applied to the car. In early 2019 I forwarded the maple leaf files to Ed Hiller. I followed this up shortly by the other car data.
In April of 2020 Bob notified me that a grant had been awarded from Massachusetts Bay Railroad Enthusiasts Inc. for the roof repairs and other work and would start soon. Contractors found considerable rot beneath the surface, requiring replacement of the sheeting, support members, and of course the membrane. By late October, rubber roofing was being installed to protect the car.
Bob was looking to source some orange paint for the car, but it would be spring of 2021 before I finally got him the info from my paint cans. He had difficulty in getting these paints and had to use a close substitute. They painted the car in June of 2021.
By July, they had one quote to do the lettering at a staggering $5,580. I thought this outrageous and offered to do the lettering work for them, if they paid the expenses. The only caveat was that I could not start the work till mid-September.
Unfortunately, that was not to be either, as I suffered a hand injury from an old accident that took me out of commission for a while.
There were two methods used to apply the lettering to the car. The first method utilized stencils that I was able to make from my artwork on a Silhouette Studio Machine. This is a crafter product that will cut vinyl and cardstock from a digital file. The stencil is applied to the car, and an almost dry paint roller is used to apply the paint.
The second method utilizes the artwork transferred through the use of a pounce pattern. The paper that the maple leaf was printed on was punched out using a dressmaker’s pounce wheel and applied to the car using chalk. This is then painted in with appropriate colors with a brush, painting between the lines.
Fast forward to June 2022. Over approximately four days on site I have, with the help of Bob and other volunteers, applied all the historical lettering to the car. While some work still remains to finish the car, it now has its proper identity back and is attracting a lot of attention from those passing by on the Rail Trail.
The car card maintenance records mentioned in this article were donated to the CVRHS by Frank Orr. These cards trace work performed on 4030 between 1923 and 1968 and are interesting reading, especially for the railroad enthusiast.
Although considerable progress has been made since 2018, additional exterior and interior painting, reattachment of the two roof access ladders, along with window sash repairs for most of the windows remain. Those wishing to contribute to this on-going project are encouraged to send a contribution, large or small, to the Andover Historical Society Caboose Fund, PO Box 167, Andover NH 03216.