Long Island Rail Road Wooden Caboose No. 38


Raymond Robinson, Jr.


Built:  American Car & Foundry Co.

Lot : 9270

Class: N52A

June, 1922


          Caboose #38 served the Long Island Rail Road from 1922 until the early 1960s.  I thought it would be nice to have a caboose in my backyard and make it into a guest cottage.  My friend, Lois Nickel, worked for the L.I.R.R. in the Jamaica office.  She was the person who arranged the deal for $100.00.  The freight brought the caboose out to Speonk and placed it on the team track, south of the main track.


          I had arranged to have Bubby Williams of Eastport with his truck crane and John Stackiw of Riverhead, with Pete Danowski’s low-bed trailer, to get the caboose to my house, which was only about one tenth of a mile away from the Speonk team track.


          On a Saturday morning, we all gathered at the site.  I had made a sling, using steel cable, and attached it to one end of the caboose.  Bubby raised one end, and I disconnected the brake rods and rolled the truck out from under the caboose.  The next step was to back the trailer under the caboose, as far as possible, and then pick up the caboose and move it forward on the trailer.


          A problem!!!  The crane could not life the caboose.  The railroad said that each truck weighed four tons and the caboose weighed four tons, a total of twelve tons.  Apparently, it weighed much more than that.  At that point, I decided to give up the idea, before someone got hurt!


          I knew that Camp Pa-qua-Tuck, a camp for disabled children, in East Moriches was looking for a caboose.  I donated it to the camp, in my father’s name:  Raymond G. Robinson.  He was a L.I.R.R. conductor and, in his early years, worked the freights.


          The railroad moved the caboose to a side track in East Moriches .  The camp arranged with a construction company in East Quogue to move the caboose to the camp site.  The camp, after several years, rebuilt the interior of the caboose and made on big room out of it.  Caboose number 38 still remains at the camp.


Ray Robinson, Jr. – December/2006

The Hurricane of September 21, 1938 and the Long Island Rail Road Wreck 
at Fairy Dell** in Quogue, LI, NY


Raymond Robinson, Jr.



          Train #26, the evening mail train, left Pennsylvania Station NY at 4:7 pm, bound for Montauk.  It should have arrived at Speonk at 7:00 pm, but because some tress were down, it was a few minutes late.


          The Conductor of this train was my father, Raymond G. Robinson.  He and the rest of the crew had rooms in Montauk, so they could take train #27 out in the morning.


          On that day, the wind had been blowing out of the northeast.  It blew most of the water out of the bays and out to sea.  The eye of the storm passed over us and soon after, the wind change and came out of the southwest, causing the tidal-wave that washed out the roadbed from under the track.  The newspaper article stated that the wind had blown the train off the tracks, which, of course, was not true.


          When the tidal-wave came rushing back, it washed out the fill and roadbed where the head waters of Quantuck Bay flowed under the tracks.  It left the rails and ties intact.  When train #26 came along, the engine and tender, a PRR K4s, made it across OK, but the mail car and two coaches left the rails.


          My father was in the first coach, eating his lunch.  When the car laid over, his arm went through the window.  No one was seriously injured, so he moved all the passengers to the rear coach which was still upright.


          In order to repot the wreck, he had to walk back to the Westhampton station.  While there, he discovered his arm was cut, so someone took him to Dr. Keller (a local medical doctor) and they sewed up the wound under the light of a kerosene lamp.


          It took several days to clear up the wreck and rebuild the roadbed.  I was told that they never found one of the trucks from the mail car, which was buried in the marsh.


Ray Robinson, Jr.


(** Fairy Dell is approximately 600 feet west of the Old Country Road grade crossing, by the present-day Quogue Wildlife Refuge.)