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Caboose Tiny House Vacations in Essex, Montana

The caboose train car you see below was renovated into the beautiful caboose tiny house that it is today. Pretty cool, right? It’s called the Great Northern X215 and is available as one of many caboose tiny house vacations in Essex, Montana at the Izaak Walton Inn.

Amazingly enough you can sleep up to six people in this tiny home. Wait until you see how they converted it into a fully functional small space below. I think you’ll also be surprised at how nice it is too. I’d definitely live in it on my own land, how about you? Take the tour and let me know in the comments below. Either way, please enjoy and re-share this railcar tiny house hotel below. Thank you.🙏

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The Great Northern X215 Caboose Tiny House


Images © Izaak Walton Inn

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GN 441 Locomotive

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Other Cabooses And Cabins at Izaak Walton Inn

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Images © Izaak Walton Inn

Learn more: http://www.izaakwaltoninn.com/luxury-railcars and “Like” the Izaak Walton Inn on Facebook

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 33 comments… add one }
  • Lynnette
    March 9, 2015, 4:39 pm

    I so badly want one of these! My hub is a train engineer 🙂

  • Cahow
    March 9, 2015, 5:37 pm

    I have a secret Soft Spot for cabooses that few people are aware of. My cherished Grandpa worked on the railroad when he was young and single and never lost his passion for the rails. He was part of the caboose crew that checked for hot boxes and load shifting. Although he was well-entrenched in dairy farming by time I came into their lives, he and I would ride out on the tractor to watch the freight trains pass by our Back 40 and I am proud to say that he taught me every kind of freight car there was as I sat upon his lap. To date, I’ve never lived further than two blocks from a train line, even out here in the country; a major rail line is behind our cottage.

    Bless these people for all the hard work that they’ve done in securing these remembrances of Time Long Gone. Cabooses began to be phased out for a number of reasons in the 80’s; if not for these people, they would be sold for scrap and would have disappeared from the landscape and memory. I’m quite keen on the 1st model profiled: LOVE the kitchen and the much lighter interior. If we stayed here for a fortnight, I’d bring my Grandfather’s framed photo with me so that he could enjoy the experience, posthumously, too. <3

  • Bev
    March 9, 2015, 5:39 pm

    I love the character of these. Would love one myself! Great ideas!!!

  • Nila Ridings
    March 10, 2015, 3:58 pm

    Oh Cahow,

    Your story brought me watery eyes. Thanks for sharing.

    And please….go do it and take Grandpa with you!

    • Cahow
      March 11, 2015, 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Nila, for your heartfelt comment. I still have my Grandpa’s striped railroad cap and the pocket watch that the R.R. gave him when he was hired. I framed both of them in a shadow box and get to awaken to them each morn, as the frame is on the wall at the foot of our bed.

      My husband and I try to take Amtrak sleeping cars whenever we can; our best trip, ever, was to Boston. ALL of your meals are 100% part of the travel price and being able to have your own loo and shower plus a nice lie-down bed…heaven! I pretended that Grandpa was with us, the entire way there and back, again.

      • Nila Ridings
        March 11, 2015, 2:43 pm


        That is so sweet! It’s a reminder Grandpa is watching over you…always…on a train or not.

        I took a train trip going west but had the sleeping car like you. It was fun. I fly to Minneapolis and went west through Glacier National Park and on to Seattle. Stayed awhile and then headed south to San Francisco. Changed trains and headed east to the Colorado rockies. Stayed with friends in Glenwood Springs and made my last leg of the trip from there to Omaha.

        I live in the city but the train passes through about five miles from me. I love to hear the whistle blow…especially in the early morning hours when all is still.

        • Cahow
          March 11, 2015, 2:54 pm

          What a lovely story, Nila. I felt as if I were traveling right along your side. 😀

          Ah, that emblematic train whistle and ~rumble~ as it roars by!!! The line by our cottage serves both freight and Amtrak; we can tell by the whistles which is which. And “Hang Onto Your Knickers, Granny!”, when one of the heavy freight trains go by!!!! Every dish and window on our home rattles away like a tea kettle on the high boil but we love it so dearly.

          When friends stay the night, the first morning after, they wake up bleary-eyed and grumble, “HOW do you sleep with the trains going by each night?!?”, to which we honestly respond, “What trains? There’s trains going by?” Of course, we’re used to them by now but every once in a while, some nutter who is leaning on the engine’s whistle will have a complete go at it and we’ll wake up…but promptly drift back to sleep. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

          It’s been a joy sharing stories with your, Nila! <3

        • Nila Ridings
          March 12, 2015, 12:35 am

          Yes, it’s been fun. I don’t have the sentimental attachment that you do, but everyone I know that has had a family member (parent or grandparent) that worked for the railroad has that same love for traveling by rail that you do.

          I worked in aviation for a number of years and loved life in the air. It’s been fun to see places like Glacier and Yellowstone National Park from the ground and remember how they looked from 35,000 feet above.

          When I saw these photos at Izaak Walton I recalled seeing that area by rail and by car a few years later. I brought back memories of a special time and place. I do not recall seeing the cabins and cabooses though. Guess I’ll need to make another trip!

          I ran errands today and just as I was pulling up to the tracks I heard the whistle. I thought of you and your grandpa as the train went whizzing past. You will always come to mind when I heard the whistle blow.

          Go take that trip with grandpa on the nightstand and report back soon! Travel safe. 🙂

        • Cahow
          March 12, 2015, 9:31 am

          Nila wrote: “I ran errands today and just as I was pulling up to the tracks I heard the whistle. I thought of you and your grandpa as the train went whizzing past. You will always come to mind when I heard the whistle blow.”

          Dear Nila, I have stitched your kind words into my heart. What a joy you are to the world! <3

  • Karen R
    March 10, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Every train had a caboose when I was growing up, and my husband’s dad worked on one. These “tiny houses” are SO SPECIAL!!!!

  • Gabriele Napier
    March 10, 2015, 6:08 pm

    I just love the Isaak Walton Inn! I love the wood work and the full kitchen, fireplace in bedroom. All looks real roomy and all the necessities are there.
    My favorite so far!

  • judy
    March 10, 2015, 7:33 pm


  • Mardee
    March 10, 2015, 10:22 pm

    I would love to have a couple of these put together….engine & dinner car be so cool

  • Linda
    March 10, 2015, 10:52 pm

    In 1991, my then husband and I stumbled across the Izzak Walton Inn on our Montana honeymoon. The cabooses were there but not in the condition they are now. We thought they were pretty cool at that time with the renovated primitive accommodations. Believe me they looked nothing like they do now. Makes me want to go back!

  • Jean
    March 11, 2015, 12:39 am

    Sweet layouts on interesting wheels.

  • Cecelle Ebsworth
    March 11, 2015, 8:08 am

    That is amazing! Beautifully done.

  • Meg
    March 11, 2015, 9:09 am

    Darling…and reminds me of the children’s books from a while ago…The Boxcar Children. Anyone else remember these books? I remember thinking how awesome it would be to live in a boxcar! Yup I’ve been enamored with tiny houses of all kinds for quite some time. 🙂

  • Sandy Jones
    March 11, 2015, 9:49 am

    I own a Caboose (Central of Georgia) in the Hamptons in New York. My Father had great love of trains and purchased this one in Pennsylvania and had it moved to New York on a flat bed truck and crane back in the 70’s. He then built a house to look like an “old fashioned Rail Road Station” in front with a platform all around it. My Father has since passed and I remodeled it about 10 years ago. I tried to keep as much of the original interior as possible. My nephew (a professional meteorologist and semi-professional wind surfer) loves to live in it during the summer.

  • Lorraine
    March 11, 2015, 11:26 am

    So beautiful. How could anyone not want one?

  • Kay
    March 11, 2015, 12:14 pm

    I love it! I love it! I LOVE IT!!

  • Sandi B
    March 11, 2015, 11:54 pm

    These are just great — and such a good job has been done on them. I could certainly see myself living in any one of them on my own property. In Washington State there are couple of railroad cars that have been made into private vacation houses on the Snohomish River — would love to be able to do something like this. My uncle worked the railroad.

  • Nancy
    May 4, 2015, 2:30 pm

    Are these cars on concrete pylons? Slabs? What is the foundation?

  • Barbara Childs
    May 4, 2015, 11:09 pm

    Could this dream come true for me? I have not so good credit Can this work for me too? Help! Please what do I need to do

  • Peter Piper
    May 5, 2015, 1:15 pm

    The best ever !! What a fantastic idea for a tiny house! Would love to have one!

  • SteveDenver
    May 21, 2015, 2:45 pm

    Very cool. I love the recessed lights. The engineer’s chair looks like an amazing reading room or office space!

  • Karen R
    May 21, 2015, 3:48 pm

    Love to hear a train at night! The tracks ran quite near my Nana and Poppa’s house when I was a child (I looked for the Chessie cars) as well as the house in which my husband grew up, so we both love when the air is clear here in Williamsburg and the sound of a train whistle briefly awakens us.

    We have traveled by train through the Southwest, Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast (for whatever reason, we are always in a car in the Southeast), and throughout England and Scotland plus thru Scandinavia and from France to the Czech Republic on trains. No swanky hotel can beat sleeping on a train!

  • Comet
    May 21, 2015, 5:59 pm

    If any one is in the Montreal Canada area there is an AMAZING Train Museum we stumbled upon. They have MANY trains from the oldest to much more recent–many are housed inside and then there are some we did not see (in the depths of a Cnadian winter!) housed outdoors. They also have presentations and a toy train room and films—a great place and if I remember right very reasonable tickets. Well worth seeing–some of the trains you can actually go thru and they even have a handicapped lift for at least one. I believe it is run by one of the Canadian train lines. Google is your friend! Also==

    If you want to go to Montreal and avoid the huge hotel bills–there are a number of older houses in the University area that have been turned into small hotels; one would think these would be spendy but they are quite reasonable. The one we found even had an elevator AND a private bath–a rarity in these type places we have found! And the farther North on the Isle you go–the cheaper for more “modern” hotels–but no wheres near the charm! Try and get there for one of the dates of the International Fireworks Festival—best view is from the side of the river looking towards La Ronde.

  • Mark
    May 21, 2015, 9:39 pm

    .. I’ll do something with my 1920’s Melbourne tram one day .. One day I’ll have money .. Money isn’t easy to come by ..

  • Porcsha S.
    May 22, 2015, 4:13 am

    Why oh why aren’t there more pictures? Each of the cars appear to have their own uniqueness. Absolutely, stunning restorations. Who doesn’t love trains? They remind me of the train exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, Il.

  • Sondra
    May 6, 2016, 4:26 pm

    How wide are those trains? That 9th pic down I just love that dark wood kitchen, what a beauty !

  • Dave
    May 6, 2016, 7:10 pm

    My first apartment was a converted train caboose. I was 18 years old and I had the coolest pad out of all of my friends. And the girls were always very interested in coming to see it. 🙂

  • Jack
    December 10, 2019, 8:58 pm

    Those tiny house cabooses at Essex are really great. I stayed in one back in the early 90’s. It had been completely transformed and was great. They sat up on the hillside across the tracks from the Issac Walton. They were on the original wheels with a section of track to sit on. Nice thing about Essex is the variety of things to do there; summer hiking, traveling up to Glacier PARK and Pole Bridge, winter cross country skiing, grizzlies were always getting hit on the tracks and just learning about the history of Essex and why it is there. Go if you ever get the chance…

  • Linda Tracy
    December 10, 2019, 9:20 pm

    Love these train tiny houses. So cozy!!

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