Re: Caboose restrictions

Bruce Smith


Can you provide evidence for a federal ban of wood under frame cabooses? I looked on the document AAR_InterchangeDates in the list files section and the only really applicable rule was not a federal outlawing, but an AAR banning of wood draft sills from interchange in 1928. That, of course, would not have affected cabooses. I believe that individual states passed a variety of laws affecting cabooses, but I am unaware of a federal law outlawing cars so equipped. 

As for bobbers, you may have underestimated their frequency. The PRR ran ND bobber cabin cars (built 1904) well into the late 1950s and one continues to be active on the Strasburg. These were, of course, steel under frame cars, but given the size of the PRR's fleet, it is probably unwise to say "almost always" with respect to 4 wheel cabin cars.

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

From: <> on behalf of mark_landgraf via Groups.Io <mark_landgraf@...>
Sent: Monday, January 13, 2020 10:46 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Caboose restrictions

In the time frame you are referring, the federal rules changed to requiring steel frames under cabooses. 

Four wheel bosses almost always had wood frames and became illegal. The cause of the new regulation was that wood frame cabooses were getting crushed when a pusher loco was used behind them.  

The replacement program almost always were 8 wheel cabooses. Used tender frames were popular platforms for new caboose bodies because of their size and availability. They were often pulled from scrap lines and sent to the car shops. Lackawanna was a user of old tender frames. 

Many RRs were notoriously cheap when it came to providing maintained working facilities such as cabooses. Some rrs encountered union negotiated levels of maintenance of cabooses or equipment requirements. 

This cheapness was demonstrated by several rrs operating in the central states, where they converted old boxcars. Transfer cabooses were an extreme example of cheap and minimalistic furnishing of equipment that had to be furnished for municipal operations. 

Mark Landgraf

On Mon, Jan 13, 2020 at 11:17 PM, Rupert Gamlen
<gamlenz@...> wrote:

Does anyone know about nation-wide legislative restrictions on the use of four wheel cabooses in about 1910, or employment agreements that may have restricted their use to branch lines or yards? I understand that the states of Washington, North Dakota and Minnesota imposed restrictions on them in 1909-1910 but don’t know the background to them. I am particularly interested in states where the CB&Q operated, such as Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ

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