All Aboard: 9 Railroad Cars Converted into Homes

In today’s culture of downsizing to reduce carbon footprints, tiny houses and recycled homes are getting increasingly desirable—in both conventional and unconventional ways. You may have already seen converted buses, storage containers, and even make-it-yourself tiny-home kits, but have you ever seen a train converted into permanent living space? The high ceilings and multiple windows typical of old train cars are a great starting point for a new small home chock-full of character. If you’re in search of an unusual home, you may need to look no further than these 9 railroad cars that have gone off the rails and become cozy and comfortable living spaces.

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  1. San Francisco Cable Cars


    This San Francisco home, made from two converted cable cars, is the sole survivor of the unusual Carville-by-the-Sea neighborhood of yesteryear. This unusual community, which enjoyed its heyday at the end of the 1800s, consisted of more than 100 homes made from upcycled cable cars and horse-drawn cars. courtesy of David Paul Morris

  2. Vintage Train Carriages


    If vintage is more your style, you’ll love this restored UK train car. Lizzy and David Stroud carefully restored and refurbished this train carriage, which they rent to tourists in Cornwall, England. Take note of original features like the pull strap on the refinished train window!

  3. Western Rails


    How’s this for a Western train experience? This refurbished train car, sitting pretty in Montana, features a studded leather couch and chair that highlight the wood-grain floor and ceiling. Modern stainless-steel appliances balance the rustic charm.

  4. Small-Scale Luxury


    From the outside, you’d never guess that a bright yellow industrial-style recycled train caboose hides a surprisingly comfortable home. Warm oak paneling and luxurious upholstery give this converted train car the illusion of opulence; a fireplace adds to the cozy ambience.

  5. Step Back in Time


    The Centennial Inn in Livingston, Montana, treats visitors to a taste of the 1800s Old West with its refurbished Northern Pacific train cars. This 900-square-foot example was a parlor car where travelers could socialize. It’s been restored to reflect the Victorian times in which it would have been used.

  6. Cheerful Caboose


    This delightful renovated caboose-turned-tiny-home was restored to provide a year-round residence for its owner. The 1909 Soo Line Train now boasts indoor plumbing and electricity, as well as a deck that enlarges the outdoor living space. Check out the nifty red metal ladder leading to additional sleeping space.

  7. Netherlands Bed and Breakfast


    Hoogwoud, Netherlands, is the home of this converted train car which is part of the Controversy B&B, a bed-and-breakfast catering to tourists who want accommodations that are a little out of the ordinary. Quirky features in this bright and cheerful railroad car include a recycled tire as a sink and a boat upcycled into a bed.

  8. Ultra-Modern


    This ultra-modern home is actually a retired subway train car. Sleek stainless-steel interior accents pick up the exterior color, while birch paneling and flooring add to the airy feel of the home. Lots of windows and recessed lights make this train car bright and cheerful.

    Related: Home, Home on the Road — 10 Houses on Wheels

  9. Railcar Luxury


    Don’t think that living in a converted train car means sacrificing comfort. This 807-square-foot railcar home comes complete with a full electric kitchen and an incinerator toilet. Living, dining, and sleeping areas are bright and modern.

    Related: 10 Cool Shipping Container Homes

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