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Different Names for Caboose on Different Railroads

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Different Names for Caboose on Different Railroads
Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 3:19 AM

I though it might be interesting if we could come up with some of the different names railroads used instead of caboose, and which railroads used them.

Here are some names I have heard:

-Way Car (Used on Santa Fe and maybe CB&Q? Please confirm)

-Cabin Car (PRR)

-Brake Van (used across the pond in Britain)

-Guard Van (also Britain, where conductors are called ”guards”)

-Van (not certain, but I think this was a CN thing)

If there are any others please add them below and also feel free to correct anything I just said, it’s highly probable that something is incorrect.

WARNING! Diagnosed RIVET COUNTER! WARNING!

So remember, I model my railroad and you model yours. I model my way and you model yours!


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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 6:53 AM

I think we recently just had this discussion, brought on by the "cabooses vs cabeese" controversy, when referring to a group of .....uhm...cabooses?  cabeese?

I think cabooses won.

Many chimed in with different terms for the caboose, including those on your list.

For the time period I model, terms like "rare sighting" and "M.O.W. service" describe the caboose, cabooses, or cabeese.

Mike.

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:52 AM

mbinsewi

I think we recently just had this discussion, brought on by the "cabooses vs cabeese" controversy, when referring to a group of .....uhm...cabooses?  cabeese?

I think cabooses won.

Many chimed in with different terms for the caboose, including those on your list.

For the time period I model, terms like "rare sighting" and "M.O.W. service" describe the caboose, cabooses, or cabeese.

Mike.

 

I remember reading that tread, although the dictionary says ”cabooses”, “cabeese“ sure sounds fun to say! Big Smile

I should also add “shoving platform”

And “FRED” or “EOTD” aren’t cars, but they are found on the end of the train so let’s give them a mention!

WARNING! Diagnosed RIVET COUNTER! WARNING!

So remember, I model my railroad and you model yours. I model my way and you model yours!


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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:21 AM

I admit, "cabeese" does have a "fun" tone to it. 

Isn't that something close to what Italians say when they're asking if you understand what their saying?  Confused

Actually, I'm currently building a caboose, although the prototype started life as a tender.  Now that's a life change!  From the front to the rear.  I better stop.  Smile, Wink & Grin

Onward to more terms describing the "gone, but not forgotten" caboose.

Mike.

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Posted by wjstix on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 8:52 AM

"Van" was common in Canada because it was based on British parlance. In the UK, most freight cars (goods wagons) didn't have airbrakes, so to help stop a train the end car was the "Brake Van". The man in the van, the "Guard", would apply the brakes to the van when the train was stopping. This made it easier to stop the train then just using the engine brakes would.

"Cabeese" is a fun word, and was made up as a joke some years back in hobby publications - it's based on the idea that if the plural of goose is geese, why isn't the plural of caboose "cabeese"? But the correct plural is cabooses.

 

Stix
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Posted by josephbw on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 10:34 AM
I have a book called "Waycars of the CB&Q". I guess that's pretty good proof that you are right.
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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:47 AM

I would also like to note that sometimes cabooses were replaced by combines or other passenger equipment on local mixed freights. In these cases the passenger cars also serve as caboose. So I guess ”combine” or ”passenger car” is yet another “name” for caboose!

On example would be Spokane Portland and Seattle’s mixed train on subsidiary Oregon Trunk from Wishram Wa to Bend Ore. The train used a pair of specially rebuilt heavyweight combine coaches that included features of cabooses such as a desk for the conductors paperwork. This train is noteworthy because it served flag stops anywhere along the line, making it a favorite for fishermen on the secluded Descutes River, and allowing it to survive up until Amtrak, even through the BN merger!

Keep the different names and forms of cabooses coming!

WARNING! Diagnosed RIVET COUNTER! WARNING!

So remember, I model my railroad and you model yours. I model my way and you model yours!


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Posted by SPSOT fan on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 11:50 AM

josephbw
I have a book called "Waycars of the CB&Q". I guess that's pretty good proof that you are right.

Thanks for the confirmation.

So if I’m not mistaken that make two unaffiliated railroads using the same term. Interesting! Also interesting that CB&Q’s parents (GN and NP) nonetheless used caboose!

WARNING! Diagnosed RIVET COUNTER! WARNING!

So remember, I model my railroad and you model yours. I model my way and you model yours!


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Posted by jeffhergert on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 4:44 PM

CNW crews also called them waycars.  It's funny now when a caboose shows up, either as a shoving platform, gang car or blizzard bus, the few old CNW heads (those who worked in the caboose/waycar era) call them a caboose.  But when they start telling their old head stories, they call them a waycar.

Jeff

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 7:28 PM

Outside Braced Wooden Crummies (CBQ, MKT, RI, WP)

Muley/Blind End Caboose (T&P)

Big Woody/Little Woody Caboose (L&N)

 

 

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Posted by OT Dean on Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:40 AM

Are we going to mention slang?  If so, "Crummy" seemed to be the most popular, but I've heard (and read) them referred to as "Shacks," "Louse cages," and "Brain boxes" (conductors were often called "The Brains"), but there are probably more!

Deano

Revisited: I may have mentioned this before (I have trouble keeping track): My brother worked as a switchman in the Muskego Yard of the Milwaukee Road, back in the '50s.  He came home with some of the wildest tales of what went on down there in the valley below the Mitchell Park Conservatory!  The MILW used EMD "Cow and calf" SW 1200s for the hump and transfer jobs, along with the "Outhouse on a raft" transfer cabooses, nicely built of steel on former steam loco tender underframes.  One night, one of the conductors was showing a New Guy around the yard and when they came to one of these consists, he took out his chalk.  "This is a 'Cow,'" he told the NG, chalking it on the side of the running board, "and this is a 'Calf,'" labeling that, as well.  "What's that, then?" NG asked, pointing to the caboose.  The conductor thought a minute and said, "This--is a--'Sheep!'" his new boss announced, writing same on the side of the "porch."

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, April 18, 2019 4:08 AM

On the C&O a caboose was called "shack" by some old heads.. Some young bucks in the shops called them "sleeping car".

Funny thing this..When the railroad wanted to drop cabooses they thought it was a good idea since a caboose wasn't needed. When the railroad started cutting their shop jobs they cried like babies.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, April 18, 2019 6:38 AM

As the old saying goes, it depends. 

I never worked for a RR so I never got tied to any particular slang for the caboose so "caboose" works just fine for me.  Particular names for cabooses seems to be the most meaningful to railroad employees, and in some cases, hobbyists who get into such things to try to copy a RR practice.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, April 18, 2019 9:15 AM

riogrande5761
Particular names for cabooses seems to be the most meaningful to railroad employees, and in some cases, hobbyists who get into such things to try to copy a RR practice.

Jim,Of the train crews I worked with 98% called a caboose just that---caboose.We had no secret code or colorful words to use.

Larry,We will drop 34009,65123,23056,45623 on  Maysville yard three..Marv will work the switches. In short I will be the "fieldman" making joints where needed and all cuts and setting hand brakes.

Pull the Westbound cut on Maysville yard five start number 13323 and make your cut at 21110.That will be the fifth and last car in the West pull.

I will tell the engineer(via radio) to pull forward to the switch after I made the cut and set hand brakes. If old Marv is on the ball the switch to Maysville yard five will be open for my next move. The engineer will not start the move until I give radio hm to proceed into yard five.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, April 18, 2019 10:41 AM

     On the New Haven, they were "hacks".

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, April 18, 2019 12:47 PM

SPSOT fan
 
josephbw
I have a book called "Waycars of the CB&Q". I guess that's pretty good proof that you are right.

 

 

Thanks for the confirmation.

So if I’m not mistaken that make two unaffiliated railroads using the same term. Interesting! Also interesting that CB&Q’s parents (GN and NP) nonetheless used caboose!

 

 
I remember some years back someone writing (I think in Railfan and Railroad?) about riding a couple of BN freight trains in the 1970's as research for an article. He first spent time in a BN caboose with a crew of former CB&Q guys. Later he switched to the lead engine of a different train with IIRC an old GN man as engineer and NP man as fireman. He looked at his notes and realized he hadn't written down the caboose's number, so he asked the engine crew if they noticed the number of the "waycar" he had just gotten off of. "Way car? What's a "waycar"?" the GN guy said. "Hey Bob, did they have "waycars" on the NP?" "Nope, what is it - a car for weighing stuff?" said the NP guy. Of course they were just giving him a hard time, he knew what they meant. As Larry said, I think "caboose" is pretty universal. Might be the kind of thing railfans worry about more than working railroaders.
 
p.s. I suspect there were some railroads whose crews called em cabooses, but they were listed on the railroad roster as waycars...or vice versa.
Stix
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Posted by mbinsewi on Thursday, April 18, 2019 3:11 PM

wjstix
Might be the kind of thing railfans worry about more than working railroaders.

How true, along with all the nick names for different paint jobs.

Mike.

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Posted by mvlandsw on Thursday, April 18, 2019 7:03 PM

B&O crews around Pittsburgh sometimes called them cabs in the 70's and 80's.

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Posted by PC101 on Thursday, April 18, 2019 8:45 PM

I did not see ''Bobber'' mentioned. I believe mostly if not always the four wheel type.

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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, April 19, 2019 5:16 PM

wjstix

 

 
SPSOT fan
 
josephbw
I have a book called "Waycars of the CB&Q". I guess that's pretty good proof that you are right.

 

 

Thanks for the confirmation.

So if I’m not mistaken that make two unaffiliated railroads using the same term. Interesting! Also interesting that CB&Q’s parents (GN and NP) nonetheless used caboose!

 

 

 
I remember some years back someone writing (I think in Railfan and Railroad?) about riding a couple of BN freight trains in the 1970's as research for an article. He first spent time in a BN caboose with a crew of former CB&Q guys. Later he switched to the lead engine of a different train with IIRC an old GN man as engineer and NP man as fireman. He looked at his notes and realized he hadn't written down the caboose's number, so he asked the engine crew if they noticed the number of the "waycar" he had just gotten off of. "Way car? What's a "waycar"?" the GN guy said. "Hey Bob, did they have "waycars" on the NP?" "Nope, what is it - a car for weighing stuff?" said the NP guy. Of course they were just giving him a hard time, he knew what they meant. As Larry said, I think "caboose" is pretty universal. Might be the kind of thing railfans worry about more than working railroaders.
 
p.s. I suspect there were some railroads whose crews called em cabooses, but they were listed on the railroad roster as waycars...or vice versa.
 

It was in Trains Magazine, authored by the late Paul D. Schneider.

Jeff 

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Posted by train18393 on Saturday, April 20, 2019 6:26 AM

New York Central and I am sure other railroads had rider cars on their Mail and Express trains. Frequently they were old heavyweight cars that had many windows plated over and a stove to keep the crew warm. The interior had just about everything a caboose had except the bay or cupola. I am guessing other railroads had them as well, along with drover cars for trains with livestock.

 

Paul

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, April 20, 2019 7:21 AM

train18393
along with drover cars for trains with livestock.

The pictures I've seen of a drover car was a long caboose with lots of extra windows.

At least it was called a drovers car in the pictures.

Interesting.

Mike.

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Posted by OldEngineman on Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:39 PM

train18393 wrote: "New York Central and I am sure other railroads had rider cars on their Mail and Express trains. Frequently they were old heavyweight cars that had many windows plated over and a stove to keep the crew warm."

Even Amtrak had these. "Mail 10" (DC to Springfield) was material handling cars with a Heritage coach on the rear for the conductor/a.c. and deadheads. The cars had all but about 2 rows of seats (at each end) removed. In the mornings it went south/west as Mail 13.

Ran that one a few times...

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Posted by OT Dean on Sunday, April 21, 2019 12:58 AM

train18393
along with drover cars for trains with livestock.

A lot of western roads used drover cars, usually built along similar lines to regular cabooses but longer, with passenger car type seats (walkover?).  Stock trains required drovers to ride along and see to the needs and welfare of the stock.  One of these needs was to keep cattle from lying down and getting injured.  They carried poles which could be inserted between the slats of the car sides to poke them into standing up.  This is the origin of the term, "Cow-punchers."  (I doubt this came, as a friend of mine announced, from the scene in "Blazing Saddles," where Alex Carras, as Mongo, punched the horse.)  BTW, drovers' cabooses often had 4-wheel passenger trucks under them for better riding quality.

Deano

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, April 21, 2019 10:47 PM

PC101

I did not see ''Bobber'' mentioned. I beleive mostly if not always the four wheel type.

 

Yes, something that is "bobbed" is short, like the "bobbed hair" short hair style popular with women in the 1920's. 

Minnesota's legislature passed a law in 1911 requiring that cabooses be at least 24' long, and have at least two four-wheel trucks. Some railroads combined two bobbers together to create one caboose, in particular the Duluth & Iron Range. If you look at Walthers DMIR caboose, you can see how the end with the cupola was once a two-window bobber with a centered cupola. It was then made longer by adding part of another bobber. The joint would be about at the A in MISSABE....

https://www.walthers.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/529x300/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/d/m/dmir_wood_caboose_ready_to_run_platinum_linetm_932-7681.gif

 

Stix
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Posted by cefinkjr on Friday, May 03, 2019 11:26 PM

Quickly scanning this thread, I found "Brain Box".  I'd never heard that before although I have heard "Brain Buggy".  Both, of course, referred to the conductor being the brains of the crew.

Chuck
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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, May 05, 2019 10:18 PM

train18393

New York Central and I am sure other railroads had rider cars on their Mail and Express trains. Frequently they were old heavyweight cars that had many windows plated over and a stove to keep the crew warm. The interior had just about everything a caboose had except the bay or cupola. I am guessing other railroads had them as well, along with drover cars for trains with livestock.

Paul

 
Great Northern had similar cars, basically a mail / baggage car with a small crew section added for a man to ride at the rear of the Fast Mail (or later the Western Star, when it changed to having the 'head end' cars at the rear.)
 
During a caboose shortage, GN also converted some passenger cars to cabooses, painting them red and adding appropriate safety slogans.
 
Stix

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