Re: Beginning of RED cabooses


Agree that caboose color was likely railroad specific rather than a federal mandate.

On the Lackawanna the cabooses were yellow at the beginning of the 20th Century. During the 1930s the railroad was moving to bright red. After Pearl Harbor and during the war effort, the cabooses went to boxcar brown. Employees from that era almost uniformly recalled that the purpose for the brown was to make the cabooses less obvious on a train in the war effort. Other roads may have gone to darker tones for the same reason.

I've seen reference in contemporary writings that the price of oxide pigments was generally less than most others, which may have played a part. Remember that back in the 1920s paint was purchased in dry bags of pigment which had to be mixed into a "vehicle," be it turpentine, linseed oil or other liquids depending on the desired finish or purpose.

....Mike Del Vecchio

-----Original Message-----
From: asychis <>
To: STMFC <>
Sent: Sun, Aug 26, 2012 7:50 pm
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Beginning of RED cabooses

It seems pretty railroad specific. Missouri Pacific and Iron Mountain
cabooses before 1915 were painted a bright red, then mores standard freight car
red up until the early 1960s when the went back to red (or at least

Jerry Michels

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