Re: Gould Railroad Standard Wooden Cabooses -

Garth G. Groff <ggg9y@...>


Yes, some of the differences were due to evolving technology. However, as I noted, there were big differences in some non-technological features, including the cupolas widths of cars built for different roads at fairly close dates. There was definitely a general commonality of some Gould-era equipment purchased for the MP, D&RG (no "W" yet), and WP. WP 4-6-0, 2-8-0 and 0-6-0 locomotives were virtually identical to contemporary D&RG purchases, except that most of the small WP fleet were oil burners. The same is true of cabooses. However, there does not seem to have been the careful standardization program by the Gould lines as was seen with the UP/SP and other Harriman roads.

Of course, all this equipment went through many rebuildings and upgrades, and the general designs were recycled for new equipment by several of the former Gould roads for many years. Even more interesting/confusing are pre-Gould cabooses that were rebuilt as "Gould" designs by both the WP and D&RG. (This might have been similar to what Tony mentions in his PFE books as "jacking up the number and rolling a new car under it".) This can get really confusing for a researcher who lacks access to the original plans and specs of equipment (which is most of us railfans).

I will have to check on those 1909 H&B WP cars with steel center sills. I think the general equipment drawings I have specify wooden underframes, but maybe the sills themselves were always steel. Hmmmm.

Kind regards,

Garth Groff

mbcarson2002 wrote:


Although there may not have been a "formal" Gould standard for much of anything and if the results of my research is any indication, I'll suggest the Gould family (Jay & later George) practiced an extractive management style where the stockholder dividend was paramount and every thing else secondary. And towards the end, circa 1910-1911, George Gould couldn't borrow any additional monies, as his railroads had turned into "streaks of rust" as the result of deferred maintenance and had little prospect of generating profits without significant investments of capital.

The caboose examples, you cite, I'll suggest are a result of evolving technology & a changing regulatory environment.

The Eric Neubauer, Pullman-Standard Freight Car Production, copyright 2002, has a section enumerating Haskell & Barker car production prior to P-S purchase of H&B. And listed are two orders of steel center sill cabooses in 1909; one order from the Western Pacific (50 examples) and a second from the Denver & Rio Grande (10 examples). I have yet to discover photographs of these orders.

Regards, Mike Carson

PS. Incidentally, I appreciate your Sacramento Northern website, which through the SN association with the Western Pacific brought me to the subject of Gould cabooses.
--- In, "Garth G. Groff" <ggg9y@...> wrote:


Most of the Gould roads used similar equipment designs, especially with locomotives. Cabooses seem to have followed similar, but NOT identical, designs from at least around 1898 (MP, AC&F-built IIRC) into the 1920s (WP post-Gould homebuilts). There were differences in almost every order. In general Gould-road cabooses had the same body design, three windows per side in the same positions, and wide platforms with tender-type steps. Roofs and cupolas, however, varied quite a bit, and underframes evolved from all wood to composite with steel center sills, bolsters and needle beams.

As for the phrase "Gould standard", there was no such thing. I know, because I originated the term, and wish I never had. I used to put it in quotes with a lower case "s", but it has migrated into otherwise well-researched railfan books and is treated as an official term. Bad, bad, bad.

Kind regards,

Garth Groff

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