Train travel has always fascinated me. There is something both sinister and sensuous about it - the steam and whistles, the changing landscape whizzing by your window, the strangers on a train. Railroads bring to mind hobos and industry, romance and mystery. And while this is not exactly the Orient Express...
..."The Curious Case of the Caboose in the Copse" is a mystery, nonetheless, and one worthy of Hercule Poirot's sleuthing skills.
An examination of clues reveal the tracks to extend only as far as the length of the car, so we can deduce it's not a runaway train or a loose caboose.
It's been sitting here for some time, as indicated by this rusty wheel, ladder and connecting hitch.
A few yards away, the rather suspicious and alarmed-looking cooktop of a wood-burning stove was found. He remained silent during my interrogation.
The only accessible windows for viewing the interior have been boarded up and the door has been padlocked. What secrets lie beyond? A table for two is the only indication of recent use...
...as well as a two-wheeled means of transport hidden beneath. Someone's been coming here. Do they own this old caboose? I would love to know who....and how they came about it.
The Oil Creek & Titusville line harkens back to 1862. In 1859, when oil was successfully drilled (for the first time in the world!) near Titusville, Pennsylvania, the closest railroad was 27 miles away. The OC&T line was completed to fill that transportation need. Under a series of mergers, it became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad by 1900, then eaten up by Conrail in the late 1960s. In 1986, The Oil Creek Railway Society formed and acquired the remaining original cars in order to preserve the line.
Today, the 17 mile long Oil Creek & Titusville line operates as a seasonal tourist venue, complete with scenic train trips through the historic Oil Creek Valley, murder/mystery dinner excursions and overnight lodging in refitted stationary cabooses. But that still doesn't answer the question of how one of those cabooses ended up in the Catskills! Hercule? Miss Marple? Anyone?