Our caboose, C356, spent it's career working the entire mainline of the EL from Jersey City to Chicago. Delivered in the red car-body scheme, with black roof and yellow handrails, she carried the EL logo and number in white. Then, sometime after August 1973 she came back to the Meadville Car Shops and received a new paint job of maroon,gray and yellow, a reversal of the diesel paint scheme.
In April, 1976, C356, and the test of the EL roster, was about to see change with the takeover of the railroad by Conrail, re-numbered 21152 in the Conrail fashion, she saw changes during her shopping, including removal of the roof walks and end ladders and replacement of the window glass to bullet-proof type. Once out of the shop she would venture the mainline of Conrail, riding rails never before traveled by C356. Then in 1988 an action by the Erie-Lackawanna Trustees would change the history of this special caboose. Bought by the trustees from Conrail, she would be donated to the Erie-Lackawanna Historical Society and delivered to the Morristown & Erie Railway in Morristown,NJ. There C356 would be restored to her maroon, grey and yellow paint scheme, and see active duty on the M&E.
When the FCVRRHS reorganized, the new officers received an offer from ELHS for use of C356 for display purposes. After deciding on the site at the lower end of Meadville along the arterial highway, negotiations began.
Like all stories, this one has a happy ending. The negotiations are complete; the paperwork is signed; and caboose C356 is getting ready to ride the rails again, this time back to her home town and the employees who lovingly took care of her during her life on the Erie’ Lackawanna railway. - Dennis Mead