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1950 Caboose Rules

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1950 Caboose Rules
Posted by doublereefed on Thursday, March 25, 2021 11:23 AM

Wondering... I am modeling a terminal type railroad, shelf layout. The basic premise is that SP drops a string of cars on an interchange track and then I switch them out and back to industries. Two questions really: for my imaginary branchline or terminal railroad, SP sets out or picks up my string of 10-15 cars right off the mainline, but then it's a few miles from there to the yard where the string is pulled, and then broken up and switched to industry. Question 1: did this sort of thing actually happen? i.e. the actual interchange track is "down by the mainline" but the yard for the terminal railway (branch line?) is a few miles away and that string of cars was moved between that yard and then the interchange "down by the mainline"?   Question 2: if that actually happened, and let's say the trip between the two points is a few miles, would the branch line be required to use a caboose for that short trip in 1950? What were the rules? Just wondering...

 

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Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, March 25, 2021 12:09 PM

The answer to both of your questions is yes and yes.

Interchange tracks do not have to be at a yard.  The receiving railroad would run train with the outbound cars to the interchange point which would be a distance from there yard, pickup the inbounds and return.  For the time period that you are talking about a caboose would be used on the train for the conductor and rear brakeman.

                Caldreamer

 

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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, March 25, 2021 12:12 PM

Finding a period rulebook for your specicif railroad is the best way to get the answer - it's hard to generalize with railroads, particularly the further back you go.

But - in general - I would say a caboose would definitely be required. There were few exceptions to the crews size rules, so you'd need a place for them. Even a transfer run, commonly run before midnight so a railroad could get as many foreign road cars off its property as possible to avoid an additional day of per diem charges, would have a caboose bring up the rear. Coming back to the home road - it would be the loco(s) and the caboose, that's it. Plenty of pictures of caboose hops like that around. 

 Towards the end of the use of a caboose, some railroads had special "transfer cabooses" which were basicly shacks on flatcars - unlike a road crew, the transfer run didn't need space for the crew to rest and cook meals, or even for the conductor to do much paperwork. There just needed to be a place for the tail end crew to ride and carry flares, flags, and hang the markers. By using a simplified version of the caboose, maintenance costs were reduced.

                                          --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by doublereefed on Thursday, March 25, 2021 12:35 PM

Randy, Caldreamer - thank you for that information. Very much appreciated. This will allow me to keep adding detail to my operation. It's time to find a couple of nice 1949-50's SP cabooses. Totally different topic, but when did the SP start using that chunky san serif font on the cabooses?

 

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, March 25, 2021 1:17 PM

There is no railroad operating "rule" that requires a caboose on any train.  Cabooses are required by labor agreements.  So you won't find a rule about having a caboose in an operating rule book.

As others have said the answer to both questions for the 1950's would be yes and qualified yes.  If the job that is pulling the interchange is a switch engine, using a yard crew and its not operating on a main track (its on an industrial lead) then it might not need a caboose.

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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Posted by SD70Dude on Thursday, March 25, 2021 1:31 PM

It should also be noted that in yard, transfer or switching service even if the crew had a caboose it might not be on the very rear of the movement all the time.  Rather, it might be placed elsewhere in order to expedite planned switching moves later on. 

Dedicated transfer cabooses existed on many railroads for decades before cabooses were eliminated altogether.  While I'm not sure exactly when or where the first ones were built, this UP example from the 1930s may be one of the earlier cases:

https://utahrails.net/caboose/caboose-wood-transfer.php

Greetings from Alberta

-an Articulate Malcontent

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Posted by ndbprr on Thursday, March 25, 2021 1:57 PM

And the caboose can be anywhere in the train.  It doesn't need to be on the end.

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Posted by wjstix on Thursday, March 25, 2021 3:34 PM

dehusman
There is no railroad operating "rule" that requires a caboose on any train.  Cabooses are required by labor agreements.  So you won't find a rule about having a caboose in an operating rule book.

However, my understanding is that up until the 1980s some states had laws requiring cabooses on trains not operating within yard limits. I would think if a railroad (or a division of a railroad) was in such a state, they would put something in their rules about it?

IIRC in the late 1970's the Lake Superior & Ishpeming in the U.P. (upper peninsula of Michigan) got around Michigan's law by declaring the entire railroad to be within yard limits.

Stix
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Posted by NHTX on Thursday, March 25, 2021 10:42 PM

Doublereefed,

    That chunky san-serif font was a mistake made by PACCAR (formerly Pacific Car and Foundry).  It only appeared on the first 24 of the SP's 50, class C-50-7 cabooses, built by them, beginning in April !978, and was corrected to the Roman font used on all preceding and, following classes of SP cabooses, as well as the remaining 26 of the order.  C-50-7s were numbered 4600-4649 and saw the return of the SP initials, in addition to the number for reporting marks and, the placement of the road name to the right of the bay window.

     A caboose used in transfer service during the timeframe you cite would be a very old, outmoded wooden cupola type car or, an "outhouse on a plank" type of car.  Most transfer--or "terminal" cabooses were purpose built affairs, using old flatcars, tender frames or cut-down house cars.  Some roads had cars that looked like their standard cabooses but had no cupola.  If yours is an independent, terminal operation, it may employ a car cast off by the larger connection.  Although some may have been used in transfer or terminal service, any car requiring entry and exit through a side door, would be EXTREMELY unpopular and fuel labor unrest.  SP did have some interyard cabooses in the 900 series that resembled phone booths on skateboards which appeared in the book "Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Volume 2: Cabooses" by Anthony W. Thompson, ISBN: 1-930013-10-8.  These cars were built from 1955 to 1960, using tender frames from scrapped steamers.

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Posted by NP Eddie on Thursday, March 25, 2021 10:58 PM

I'll put my two cents worth into this forum.

I started out on the Northern Pacific in April 1966 and saw many wooden cabooses in yard service. Some had bay windows, most did not. After the 1970 meger, I bid on a crappy relief job on the xGN side. The GN used three underframes from old switchers as bodies for transfer cabooses!

My suggestion is to find a copy of Del Grosso's "Cabooses of the Burlington Northern" and you will view many pictures of the BN's Cabooses (although the CBQ called them waycars.

By the way, I was the first X-NP yard clerk on GN property and I took them to accept me!

Ed Burns

NP 1966 to BNSF 2004.

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Posted by doublereefed on Friday, March 26, 2021 12:12 PM
NHTX, very much appreciate your comments on this. After reading up and looking around I agree that I should be looking at old cast off cabooses and equipment. I have found outside braced wood cabooses, and older MOW type box on a flat car. I think I will go that direction, create some one-offs for my fictitious branch line.
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Posted by dehusman on Friday, March 26, 2021 12:39 PM

Also, many labor agreements required a caboose to be PROVIDED, they didn't require a caboose to be USED.  

One of my managers formerly was on the switch crew for the Natchez-Vidailia car ferry job.  They were required to have a caboose, but never used or rather never moved it.  His job was as soon as they went to work to get fire going in the caboose stove and start making breakfast.  They used the caboose more as an office/lunchroom than a "caboose".

Dave H. Painted side goes up. My website : wnbranch.com

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