Re: Why Transfer cabooses?


Transfer jobs usually required shoving long strings of cars from departure tracks in one yard to arrival tracks in others, often to another railroad. For a trainman to ride the side of a boxcar over those distances was strenuous and risky. The transfer cabooses were often simply a platform of some sort to provide a place to ride for these long shoves. Correct, transfer cabooses didn't need all the appointments of a road caboose since they weren't going far, and since they often stayed with the cut of cars and returned on the reciprocal move. Also, certain union arbitraries provided for extra pay to trainmen who had to ride long shoves without a caboose.  Most transfer hacks didn't have cupolas so that the locomotive headlight could shine above the roof of the transfer caboose when a locomotive was coupled to it. In the days before radios, the trainmen space themselves out on the roofs of the train to pass hand signals between the leading end and the engineer.

                  ....Mike Del Vecchio

-----Original Message-----
From: jace6315 via Groups.Io <jace6315@...>
To: main <>
Sent: Fri, May 18, 2018 6:43 pm
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?

I believe that some roads invested in transfer cabooses to win favor with the union. I wouldn't be surprised if the NYC had this in mind when they rebuilt a bunch of boxcar frames into transfer cabs right before the PC merger. It definitely didn't hurt that they had lots and lots of comparatively young, obsolete 40' boxcars to work with.

Jim Matthews 

-------- Original message --------
From: Jack Mullen <jack.f.mullen@...>
Date: 5/19/18 12:16 AM (GMT+01:00)
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?

I might not be one of those addressed  ;^)  but I'll offer this anyway. 
The various forms of transfer caboose are cheap, compared to new "regular" cabooses. If you have a surplus of good road cabooses, fine, assign some to transfer service. If you need to replace some older road cabooses, fine, invest in new ones from International or Thrall, and cascade the old hacks to transfer service after stripping the interiors of unneeded stuff, such as bunks.
But otherwise, why buy?  Grab a surplus/obsolescent flatcar, have the car shop weld up a basic steel box with two doors and a heater, add basic steps, renew the deck and put handrails around, and you're good to go. The cash outlay is small, the flatcar was fully depreciated so the capital cost is also.
Jack Mullen

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