Re: number of cabooses

Armand Premo

    While I tend to agree, model railroads are still models of the real thing varied by the owners' personal preferences.We can not have the same number of cars as the protoype .I have tried to determine the number of cars I have on my roster  based on percentages,by road and  car type appearing on wheel reports and all other available data  .Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, September 28, 2015 1:01 PM
Subject: RE: [STMFC] number of cabooses



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:

Traffic Volume

Length of divisions / runs

Assigned cars vs. pooled

Use of cabooses for helper service, work trains

Local traffic vs. overhead

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 road.

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 conversions.

Charlie Vlk


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