Re: Bars on Caboose Windows?


Lackawwanna used bars on the cupola window interiors as well, and company memos described the installation as a way to prevent a trainman's head from breaking the window in the event of a sudden change in speed. Some of the preserved cabooses still have these cages, and they're not exactly egonomic though they do have some spring action.

Old timers have shared stories of stoves being pulled out by the roots after some heavy banging around, a couple of guys referring to the wooden cabooses as coffins. One guy said "you'd call it a coffin, too, if you sat in one watching the nose of a three-cylinder engine barking at you. One high-low of if the caboose goes on the ground you're a gonner." These guys also claimed the caboose was the fastest accelerating vehicle in the world, that at the end of 80 cars can go from zero to ten in an instant. Somewhere I printed a negative of the wreck, but after a D&H Challenger in pusher service crushed a wood-bodied caboose in the early 1950s, the railroads in the east started making rules that wood-bodied cabooses had to be unoccupied if pushed upon, otherwise the pusher had to be cut in ahead of the caboose.

Each railroad had its own way of assigning cabooses. The Lackawanna assigned cabooses to regular Drills and Roustabouts (yard jobs and locals), and assigned hacks to some road conductors. Others were kept in pools for road jobs and work trains.

....Mike Del Vecchio

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Thompson <tony@...>
Sent: Tue, May 28, 2013 9:44 pm
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Bars on Caboose Windows?

Bill Vaughn wrote:
3.Regardless of what the rule said it would have been up to the crew to secure if they desired. All cabooses and passenger cars used the same key on every railroad as far as I know.
Not true on the SP in the days when cabooses were assigned to individual conductors. The conductor had the only key to his assigned caboose, except for the Master Mechanic's office. Maybe later in the pool-caboose days, they used universal keys.
I agree with Dennis Storzek: the bars inside the window were to prevent crewmen from breaking the window if they fell against it. Anyone who has never experienced slack action in a caboose has no IDEA how violent and abrupt this can be.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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