Re: Why Transfer cabooses?

Paul Koehler



No, taking a cut of cars to the interchange did not include the interchange of the caboose just the cars.  What ever caboose the delivering RR used would return with the crew and locomotive.


Paul C. Koehler


From: [] On Behalf Of Aley, Jeff A
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 2:17 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?


Aha!  (I was the original poster).


It seems that railroads would want to use their oldest cabooses for transfer service, if possible.

But if bobber (4-wheel) cabooses were outlawed in interchange (and Transfer service IS interchange, is it not?), then they couldn’t use their old 4-wheelers.


So it became logical to convert box cars, etc. for transfer use.


Did I understand that correctly?







From: [] On Behalf Of anthony wagner
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 7:46 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?


My speculation about 4 wheel cabooses is that most, if not all, had wooden underframes and that was the reason for declaring them unsafe not the fact they they were on 4 instead of 8 wheels. It was in the 1920s, 1927 comes to mind, that wooden underframes were banned from interchange but that wouldn't have affected cars that were never went off line such as cabooses, 4 or 8 wheel, and work equipment. I remember from my youth, late 40s, early 50s in Philadelphia, of catching very occasional glimpses of 4 a wheel class ND somewhere on the Pennsy while going somewhere with my parents. That said, the Pennsy NDs seemed to have had steel underframes. There are still a number of them in various states of preservation in museums. Also, in the 1980s TTX had several thousand 4 wheel piggyback cars built after the prototypes were successfully tested at the AAR facility in Pueblo.  Tony Wagner



On Monday, May 21, 2018 8:50 AM, Eric Hansmann <eric@...> wrote:


I believe Ohio passed legislation in 1914 banning the use of 4-wheel cabooses.


From what I’ve seen over the years, any bans on these older cabooses were a state matter and did not stem from ICC/AAR/ARA/MCB actions.



Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN




From: [] On Behalf Of mofwcaboose via Groups.Io
Sent: Monday, May 21, 2018 7:50 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?


1912 in New York , 1929 in Pennsylvania .


The passage of the law did not immediately end their use, as they persisted in subsidiary service and on some short lines well into the 1950s. Possibly their last regular use on any railroad was on the Maryland & Pennsylvania in the early 1970s.


John C. La Rue, Jr.

Bonita Springs, FL



-----Original Message-----
From: Claus Schlund &#92;(HGM&#92;) <claus@...>
To: main <>
Sent: Mon, May 21, 2018 8:22 am
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Why Transfer cabooses?

Hi Dennis and List Members,


Thank you Dennis for your well thought out and complete treatment on the topic.


Dennis wrote: “But four wheel cabooses were fund to be unsafe, and were outlawed sometime in the twenties”


This is the first I have heard of four wheel cabooses being outlawed – can anyone confirm this?


Claus Schlund




On 5/20/2018 7:26 PM, Dennis Storzek wrote:

I think you guys are over thinking this. The main driver behind transfer cabooses was cost. Both the operating rules and union agreements said that transfer moves needed cabooses; if there were not enough old cabooses surplus from road duty available, something had to be built. The requirement was a small shelter, with a stove, some benches and a desk for the conductor. That dictated a small body, and early in the century a four wheel bobler caboose would have filled the bill. But four wheel cabooses were fund to be unsafe, and were outlawed sometime in the twenties, IIRC, and that meant a small cabin on a long frame. Converted boxcars were rather common up until WWII, usually rebuilt from cars that weren't much bigger than a standard caboose. But by the sixties, when these "cheesebox-on-raft" transfer cabooses became common, the available boxcars were way too big to be heated efficiently. Some of the early examples of the style were rebuilt from boxcars, leaving the center section of the body and building new ends, which yielded large porches which didn't need to be heated. Later it was found to be cheaper and easier to just build a new body and mount it on whatever surplus frame was available. Not exactly rocket science.

The lack of cupola was to reduce cost as much as anything. Nobody was much worried that these slow speed moves were going to develop hotboxes, and in many environments anyone riding in the cupola was going to become a target for rocks or worse, so nobody was riding in the cupola anyway. Why maintain the windows? Sometime in the sixties, early seventies the Soo Line did just that; a bulletin went out to the RIP tracks that henceforth broken cupola windows in cabooses in transfer service were to be boarded over. Some few of these cars subsequently received new plywood sheathing, and the cupolas were entirely sheathed over, just a square blank box on the roof. Some roads, like the Chicago North Shore and Milwaukee simply removed the cupolas and filled in the roof sheathing. I'm familiar with one of their cars, CNS&M 1002 at the Illinois Railway Museum, and all the lockers and the ice box that were under the cupola floor remain; the space between the former floor and new roof was good for stowing grips, etc.

Dennis Storzek



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