Prototype Discoveries

Bruce Smith

And I might add that these laws, in some states, exempted some uses of bobber style cabooses, allowing their continued use for locals, and yard jobs. As a consequence, the PRR had class ND bobbers on the roster into the 1960s!


From: <> on behalf of Bruce Smith <smithbf@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2021 5:04 PM
To: <>
Subject: Re: [EXT] [RealSTMFC] Prototype Discoveries

Perhaps I wasn't clear enough in my post earlier today, but the outlawing of bobber cabin cars has nothing to do with interchange. Indeed it was not regulated by the authorities that typically regulated interchange, the AAR/ARA.

Rather, these were state laws, passed by state legislatures and signed into law by state governors and thus they truly OUTLAWED these types of cabins (no "quotes" needed), making their use against the law. As in go to jail or pay really big fines if you don't fix the problem. 

The genesis of these laws appears to be lobbying by the brotherhoods for safer working conditions. Regulating interstate commerce is obviously a tricky legal situation, but states took the position, and it was affirmed in the courts, that they had the right to regulate working conditions within their boundaries. The challenge for the railroads was to then have cabin car designs that met all state laws where the affected railroad operated. For the PRR, this was the genesis of their first all-steel cabin, the N5 as well as a massive rebuilding program that converted bobbers into wood cabin car classes N6A and N6B (with steel underframes, trucks, and sufficient length to be legal).

Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

From: <> on behalf of Paul Catapano <pc66ot@...>
Sent: Sunday, September 12, 2021 10:20 AM
To: Steam Era Freight Cars <>
Subject: [EXT] [RealSTMFC] Prototype Discoveries
CAUTION: Email Originated Outside of Auburn.

Where four wheeled Bobbers “outlawed”, outlawed from interchange, or was there a series of different laws and regulations beginning and ending at political boundaries?

Paul Catapano
Winchester, VA.

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