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Treats from a train car: The Caboose celebrates 25 years

Nothing beats a cool ice cream treat on a hot summer day and Tammy Weisbeck can vouch for that. She and her family run Great Lakes Station Ice Cream, otherwise known as “The Caboose,” at 1729 Union Road, north of the 400 expressway. The family is celebrating 25 years of serving ice cream from a train car, which has become a fixture in the Southtowns.

As she looks back on 25 years, she’s proud to carry on the legacy that her father started back in 1992.

Question: Obviously, you’re known as the Caboose and you can’t miss it from Union Road. How did you get started with the train theme?

Weisbeck: I don’t honestly remember! Everybody knows we’re here. The train came here from the Canadian National Railway in Toronto on the railroad to West Seneca. We own Great Lakes Business Park next door. We’ve had the train here for all of the 25 years.

Luggage carts add to the railroad theme at Great Lakes Station Ice Cream. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: How have you expanded upon the railroad theme?

A: We built more around the Caboose. The railroad track was professionally built by Ebenezer Railcar. We have railroad carts around to enhance the theme – they are luggage carts. My dad worked in construction and was a contractor so he built it all. He didn’t have a specific love for trains, but he was the founder and builder of the Caboose. His name was Bob Metzger. He passed away 10 years ago from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Q: How do you try to carry on his legacy?

A: Every year, on my dad’s birthday, which is July 19, we donate all of our proceeds to The ALS Association.

Q: And you have a special occasion this summer. How do you plan to celebrate your 25th anniversary?

A: We are celebrating 25 years of scooping for you from 1992 to 2017 with free t-shirts to the first 25 customers, prizes and free kid-size cones with any purchase. The 25th anniversary is Saturday, July 29.

Customers line up for ice cream just as they would for a train at Great Lakes Station. (Elizabeth Carey/Special to The News.)

Q: As you mark your 25th anniversary, how does it feel?

A: It went by extremely fast. My children work there now and I’m hoping they will manage it soon. I have two teenage girls; Leah and Sarah Weisbeck are my daughters who work there. We are very family-oriented.

Q: Your Facebook page says you have the one and only drive-thru bridge in WNY. How does that tie into the railroad theme?

A: We do have a drive thru – it’s our fourth season with that. We used an I-beam for the bridge. We wanted to build it as a bridge so it looks authentic. We have a bunch of other businesses ranging from real estate to construction.

Despite having a menu of flavors, vanilla remains most popular at the Caboose. (Photo courtesy Great Lakes Ice Cream.)

Q: What other expansions have you completed?

A: We’ve added a few new things. We did add custard. This is our second year with nine flavors of custard – the most popular item is still the custard in French vanilla. It’s from Upstate. During the summer season we’re open from noon to 10 p.m. every day.

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