I doubt that
there is any universal equation that can be developed to determine how many
cabooses there should be on a railroad.
There are a
number of factors that, off the top of my head, come to mind and I’m
sure the list members can add more:
divisions / runs
cabooses for helper service, work trains
If you are
asking to determine how many cabooses your railroad should have I would
turn to the prototype. If you are modeling a chunk of a real
railroad information should be available to guide you for that
If you are
“protolancing” pick a real road that approximates the one you are creating and
use that as a model. Freight car diagram books usually include cabooses
and the indexes show total numbers for each class.
In the case
of my favorite road, the Burlington, other than filling in early
wreck-destroyed car numbers in the early years (before the turn of the
century) most new waycar construction simply added to the pool because of
higher traffic volume and expansion of the railroad up to the Depression.
Wood cars were not added after the 1920s and the first small batch
of steel cars didn’t appear until 1935. There was no replacement
of wood cars with steel….on the “Q” they retained wood beam trucks under
wooden cars (albeit with applied steel underframes) right through the start of
the BN. Some of the wooden cars died of old age (some had original build
dates in the 1870s) but there was no wholesale modernization per se.
During both World Wars the CB&Q temporarily converted box cars into
waycars, adding end platforms, windows and for the WWI cars cupolas. The
WWI cars were probably scrapped when proper standard waycars were able to be
built and the WWII cars went into work service as they were still pretty much
boxcars with doors on the sides and a few windows not unlike regular MOW