She Bought Her Vintage Railroad Trailer Home for $350 at an Auction

by Simplify

Hannah’s vintage railroad trailer is a great example of how a well-done conversion can turn a railroad trailer into a beautiful tiny home. Tired of moving and finding roommates on Craigslist, she wanted something of her own; something she could park in an RV park with rent she could afford.

Her dad had work experience on the railroad and knew that there were trailers up for auction. Hannah showed up with a budget of $350 dollars and miraculously found something in her price range.

The trailer was in good shape thanks to its no-rust aluminum shell, but Hannah gutted and replaced the wood, carrying out the renovation in her Dad’s yard. She estimates that making the train trailer home cost her a total of $9,000 for renovations and furnishings.

The house is full of reused materials as well as DIY hacks. By far, the most expensive item in this tiny home is the toilet, which is tankless and electric.

Even though her home was completely redone, Hannah had trouble finding a place to park it. Many RV parks have official rules that the RV has to be 10 years old or less, and her railroad trailer dates back to 1985.

The tiny home used to be a train car

Hannah has now parked her tiny home in Lake Tahoe, in a beautiful spot that she gets a discount on because she works for the park’s services. Now, she pays $39 a month, plus electricity.

Hannah’s love for art is evident throughout the trailer, from the cozy chairs to a wall of paintings to the fridge covered in family and vintage photographs. There’s also a brick that she and her mom painted to give it an aged look that alludes to the train car's history.

On the exterior, there’s a spray paint mural of an old man in the mountain painted by an artist friend in exchange for a sculpture that Hannah made.

Railroad trailer home

This train trailer home is brimming with beauty and personality, showing that with a little imagination, making a home from a railroad trailer is entirely possible.

For more tiny home conversion stories, discover this artsy train car tiny home built from a WW2 railway carriage or this army truck camper conversion with surprising interior design.

To see more videos, check out the Tiny House Giant Journey YouTube channel.

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2 of 9 comments
  • Russell Iacobucci Russell Iacobucci on Sep 24, 2022

    I have a Grumman Olson all aluminum truck body ( used potato truck ) on a custom made 21' flat bed trailer . I was going to make a mini home , but time and age have changed my plans . It is for sale . contact me at 518 528 6558 . I am in Troy , New York .

  • Karen Karen on Oct 17, 2022

    I'm SURE it cost THOUSANDS just to move it to to your piece of land.