WISCONSIN DELLS — For train enthusiasts, one of the newest hotel rooms in Wisconsin Dells might be just what the next overnight guest wants.
Antoni Wolan, owner of Parkway Motel and the Rail Dog eatery on Wisconsin Avenue in Wisconsin Dells, had a retired caboose from the Soo Line delivered Tuesday.
Wolan is converting the caboose that came from Chicago into a hotel room, and it will have all the accommodations, including a bathroom and shower, air conditioning and heat and cable television.
The new attraction possibly will be ready to rent out to travelers by next Memorial Day, Wolan said.
Wolan said he is doing his part to keep visits to Wisconsin Dells unique so people will come back.
“This is something different,” he said in an interview the day the caboose arrived.
It was brought on the bed of a large semi-truck. The caboose was so large that the semi it rode spanned the width of Oak Street while the men were unloading it.
Three men were unloading the caboose onto a segment of railroad track nestled into a corner of the motel property, but within feet of the street.
One of them was Wayne Gietzer of Grand Marsh, who retired from cleaning up train derailments. Through his connections, he was able to obtain the caboose for Wolan.
Wolan said Gietzer helped him get the current rail cars he has on his property, which house the Rail Dog eatery.
Ten years ago, Wolan acquired the current rail cars.
By stepping inside the Rail Dog eatery, one can see the grill Wolan has, in addition to numerous pieces of railroad memorabilia hanging on the walls. Wolan has a sound system set up where guests can pull on levers inside the rail car to trigger the sound of a train.
Children these days might not get a lot of exposure to trains, and he said they might only know about a caboose from having seen one in the movies or in pictures.
As Wolan said, it’s a “Suite Caboose.”