Re: Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]

Merlyn Lauber

I believe the Side Door Ban on the IC cabooses in Iowa was an old Union rule which was due to a safety concern that a crew member could fall out of the open door. I think this was changed in the early 50's and we have photos and have seen the "side door" cabooses throughout Iowa after that. I have seen photos of a crew member setting in the open door. This was discussed and presented at a Clinic some years ago at one of the meets. When we have a railfan show and an IC 'side door" caboose comes on the screen, someone in the audience almost always says "there's another side door that's not allowed in Iowa".

Merlyn Lauber

----- Original Message -----
From: Douglas Harding <>
Sent: Wed, 23 May 2018 22:57:13 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]

The IC did run side door cabooses in Iowa. But I understand, when they did use them in Iowa, the side doors were required to be bolted or welded shut so they could not be opened. The IC cabooses had sidedoors that were half height, the doors did not reach the floor. I heard this was so a crew member could sit on the bench an safely pick up hooped orders without standing on the platform. But so far I have not been able to find anything to verify the Iowa ban, only modeler’s and railfans speculations.

The M&StL had several sidedoor cabooses, I have photos of four different ones. The photo of M&StL sidedoor caboose #1186, was taken by William Armstrong in McCallsburg IA in 1941. A photo of 1306 was taken Marshalltown IA in 1948. (I believe that attached color photo was taken later).

Drover cabooses or cars are a different animal.

Doug Harding

From: [] On Behalf Of al.kresse
Sent: Wednesday, May 23, 2018 8:30 PM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]

Did they want to force separate drover cars for the farmers? Were there more bunk spaces?

Al Kresse

On May 23, 2018 at 9:05 PM Jeffy White <> wrote:

This doesn't explain why the IC built different cabooses to operate in Iowa. I'm not an attorney but in my career as a police officer I read and interpreted statutes all the time and by my reading of the law, the standard IC caboose met all of the requirements of the law. Yet they built cabooses just like the standard cabooses only without the side doors to run in Iowa.

It seems to me that there almost had to be something else that caused them to build those Iowa cabooses. All of the IC literature I have read says side door cabooses were not legal in Iowa.

I wonder what the reason was?

Jeff White

Alma, IL

On 5/23/2018 2:51 PM, Dennis Storzek wrote:

On Wed, May 23, 2018 at 09:19 am, Nelson Moyer wrote:

I’m pretty sure that Iowa did not ban side door waycars in any form.

But they did require end platforms. This link should take you to the announcement of the 1911 law:
Caboose Cars

I was also interested to learn that Lorenzo S. Coffin, the railroad safety crusader from the late nineteenth century, was an Iowa state railroad commissioner.

Dennis Storzek

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