Re: RF&P/PE cabooses [was USRA Cabooses]

James McDonald

Hi Garth,

Thanks for the data on the N&A’s ex-RF&P cabooses and the photo of the longer red caboose. I understand that the Nelson & Albemarle also got a single 25’ RF&P caboose, which it numbered 102. It’s not clear to me when the N&A received this caboose. Do you know? It has the style of steps that the cabooses had before the 1917-18 rebuilding effort, but it has a retrofit steel underframe. It also has two windows per car side, as was typical of the unrebuilt 1904 cabooses (although this could well have been a N&A action when they cut the freight door in the side). Another strange point is that I gather N&A 102 was painted in a shade of blue quite close to the RF&P color, but the RF&P didn’t begin painting cabooses that color until after the N&A had ceased operating.

You’re pretty much on the money with the length of the longer RF&P cabooses. They had a kingpin center of 28’ 2” and a length over strikers of 41’ 8”. They were originally numbered 922, 923, 924, 927, 929, and 930. The longer RF&P cabooses were built during WWII to meet wartime traffic demands, which grew to the extent that by 1943 the RF&P was running a train every 14 minutes, 24 hours a day, and continued this pace every day for 2 straight years. That was about 45 freight trains each way each day, more than the railroad could handle with its 37 short cabooses. Austerity being a concern, the company’s shops made cabooses out of stock cars RFP 2267-2435 that had themselves been previously boxcars with the same numbers.

All the best,


James McDonald
Greenbelt, MD.

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