Re: Bobber 2 Axle caboose late usage

Tony Thompson

Jim Dick wrote:

      As I recall finding, there was a bobber caboose in Washington State on a stopped train that was run into by a following train. The caboose was reduced to “kindling” however one of the crew was trapped in the wreckage. There was a lit coal stove in the caboose wreckage that soon spread its fire to the wood of the splintered caboose and the cries of a trapped crew member trapped in spite of the efforts of others to free him. (1912-1914 +/-)

     Newspaper clippings found in my railroad's files told of the shrieking of the victim being burnt alive clearly being heard by onlookers who could not clear timbers fast enough due to the intensity of the spreading blaze as the above was happening, and the horrific account was carried nationally. 

I have no reason to question any of this — but I should point out that from the 1890s onward, there were many incidents around North America of horrific accidents with wood passenger cars in wrecks, and the resultant fires and loss of life. Railway Age for many years carried stories advocating steel underframes for strength, and replacement of wood superstructures, along with knuckle couplers to minimize derailments in wrecks. A decade before the dates Jim mentions, all-steel passenger cars were being built and by then the importance of steel underframes was well established.

Tony Thompson

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