50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose heads to new home near Illinois River

  • The 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose at Oakton Street and Badger Road near the southern end of Arlington Heights was relocated Monday to Seneca, Illinois, where it will be restored and put on display in a museum.

      The 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose at Oakton Street and Badger Road near the southern end of Arlington Heights was relocated Monday to Seneca, Illinois, where it will be restored and put on display in a museum. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • John Lamb of the Seneca Historical Guild is all smiles Monday after the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose was safely lifted onto a flatbed before making its way to a new home in Seneca.

      John Lamb of the Seneca Historical Guild is all smiles Monday after the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose was safely lifted onto a flatbed before making its way to a new home in Seneca. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • A crane operator gets ready to lift the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose onto a flatbed. The caboose, once used as a marker for a since demolished shopping center in Elk Grove Township, is being moved to a museum.

      A crane operator gets ready to lift the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose onto a flatbed. The caboose, once used as a marker for a since demolished shopping center in Elk Grove Township, is being moved to a museum. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • John Lamb, right, of the Seneca Historical Guild assists Monday morning with the moving of the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose.

      John Lamb, right, of the Seneca Historical Guild assists Monday morning with the moving of the 50-year-old Oakton Junction caboose. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/23/2020 7:18 PM

One person's trash can be another's treasure, even when it's a deteriorating, graffiti-covered caboose that for years marked the location of a now demolished shopping center in Elk Grove Township.

The Oakton Junction caboose, which once stood outside a shopping center with the same name at the corner of Oakton Street and Badger Road, was removed Monday from its longtime location and loaded onto a truck for a ride to its new home in Seneca, southwest of Morris along the Illinois River.

 

For the Seneca Historical Guild, it marks the end of a long search for a caboose to add to its collection.

"We've been chasing a caboose for at least eight years trying to find one in our price range," said guild member John Lamb. "The biggest thing is transportation. Costs a lot of money to move them."

The Seneca Port Authority paid $5,000 for the 50-year-old caboose and got help with the move from Arlington Heights-based trucking firm Bil-Mac Express.

Lamb said people were willing to help once they learned the caboose is going to be restored.

On Monday, the caboose was lifted and placed on a Bil-Mac Express flatbed for the 72-mile trip to Seneca. There it will be restored then placed on display at the guild's railroad museum, along with a flatcar.

"The depot's been restored and we have tracks. We have a place for this (caboose), so this is our next project," said guild member Harion Enervold. "The Port Authority board has been around forever and we are real grateful for their financial help. They're the ones that financed the depot renew and financing this move."

Lamb said the caboose restoration project could take a couple of years.

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