Topics

Caboose Lighting?


Jim Betz
 

Hi again,

  So when a caboose was going down the road at night and
the lights were on in the interior - was the 'entire' caboose
lit up?
  Or was it some of the windows but not all?  Such as the
entire long end or the entire short end - but not necessarily
both ends?   Were there usually separate switches for each
end of the caboose so someone could sleep even if the
conductor was working at his desk?  Or did his desk have
an individual light shining just on the desk?
  Was there light showing in the cupola windows or just a
slight glow if at all?
  If it is was a bay window were the bay windows pretty
dark and just the end windows were well lit?
                                                                                              - Jim


Schuyler Larrabee
 

Well, Jim, are you sure your caboose had electric lighting?  In the steam era, a lot of roads were still lighting their cabooses with kerosene lanterns.

 

If that’s the case, I’d think that there would be some slight glow around the conductor’s desk, and maybe some at the other end as the crew was awake while on the road.  If they were sleeping, it is likely that they were in a terminal and chose not to patronize the local railroad Y.  Cupolas were likely pretty dark, so the crew could really see out over the train, minimal reflections in the cupola glass.

 

Schuyler

 



  So when a caboose was going down the road at night and
the lights were on in the interior - was the 'entire' caboose
lit up?
  Or was it some of the windows but not all?  Such as the
entire long end or the entire short end - but not necessarily
both ends?   Were there usually separate switches for each
end of the caboose so someone could sleep even if the
conductor was working at his desk?  Or did his desk have
an individual light shining just on the desk?
  Was there light showing in the cupola windows or just a
slight glow if at all?
  If it is was a bay window were the bay windows pretty
dark and just the end windows were well lit?
                                                                                              - Jim


John Larkin
 

I happen to own ex-UP 25624 and I can only address these cabooses with accurate knowledge, however I believe most modern steel cupola cabooses would share these traits.  The UP cabooses had switches for both ends.  The conductors desk had a switch for a wall mounted light for that hard working individual to keep up with their paperwork.  The cupola had its own switch and the lights below didn't intrude badly if one was in the cupola at night.  There were also large running lights mounted in the cupola (Red and green) that were controlled from the cupola.  We also had outside running lights in each corner that lit up the steps, controlled at each end.

Everything used 12V bulbs so the batteries could be wired directly with no change in voltage.  UP had generators that worked well most of the time.  The cupola mounted radio also was 12V.

25624 is still up in NW Iowa, up for sale now that the railroad is mostly gone.  It was one of the top three picks out of 200+ when we acquired it with the help of 2 UP carmen.  The choice finally came to that caboose because it had the original ladders and running boards, very handy to clean windows when needed.

John Larkin



On Friday, June 19, 2015 9:10 PM, "'Schuyler Larrabee' schuyler.larrabee@... [STMFC]" wrote:


 
Well, Jim, are you sure your caboose had electric lighting?  In the steam era, a lot of roads were still lighting their cabooses with kerosene lanterns.
 
If that’s the case, I’d think that there would be some slight glow around the conductor’s desk, and maybe some at the other end as the crew was awake while on the road.  If they were sleeping, it is likely that they were in a terminal and chose not to patronize the local railroad Y.  Cupolas were likely pretty dark, so the crew could really see out over the train, minimal reflections in the cupola glass.
 
Schuyler
 


  So when a caboose was going down the road at night and
the lights were on in the interior - was the 'entire' caboose
lit up?
  Or was it some of the windows but not all?  Such as the
entire long end or the entire short end - but not necessarily
both ends?   Were there usually separate switches for each
end of the caboose so someone could sleep even if the
conductor was working at his desk?  Or did his desk have
an individual light shining just on the desk?
  Was there light showing in the cupola windows or just a
slight glow if at all?
  If it is was a bay window were the bay windows pretty
dark and just the end windows were well lit?
                                                                                              - Jim



Steve SANDIFER
 

I am sure part of the answer depends on the timeframe under consideration. The early cabooses were all oil lamp lit - markets and interior. So it would not be real bright and would only be lit where the crew lit oil lamps.



Next were batteries for lights and later radios. Markers were electrified. Some of the ATSF 1875 class built in 1930 included axle driven generator, battery box, and lighting. Many others were not electrified until the mid 1950s.



When ATSF began rebulding cabooses in the mid 60s, they added the red light centered in the roofline and dropped the markers. They also added lights over each of the steps for safety purposes. A 1984 sketch by Charlie Slater of a CE-1 rebuild shows 4 ceiling lights inside the car, including one in the cupola.



This does not answer all of your questions, but should contribute to the discussion.



__________________________________________________

J. Stephen Sandifer

Minister Emeritus, Southwest Central Church of Christ

Webmaster, Santa Fe Railway Historical and Modeling Society



From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com]
Sent: Friday, June 19, 2015 8:57 PM
To: STMFC@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [STMFC] Caboose Lighting?





Hi again,

So when a caboose was going down the road at night and
the lights were on in the interior - was the 'entire' caboose
lit up?
Or was it some of the windows but not all? Such as the
entire long end or the entire short end - but not necessarily
both ends? Were there usually separate switches for each
end of the caboose so someone could sleep even if the
conductor was working at his desk? Or did his desk have
an individual light shining just on the desk?
Was there light showing in the cupola windows or just a
slight glow if at all?
If it is was a bay window were the bay windows pretty
dark and just the end windows were well lit?
- Jim





[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


Charles Peck
 

I remember a night driving down a road alongside a stopped train and I pulled off, wishing I had a camera.
The marker cast a streak of light along the side of the caboose and one window had an orange glow.
Two other windows had slight glow, reflected light it would seem. The dark cupola was silhouetted against
the sky while someone was standing on the rear platform with a red lantern and a cigarette. 
One of those moments, soak it in while wishing there were another way to record it all.
Chuck Peck 

On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 9:56 PM, jimbetz jimbetz@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:
 

Hi again,

  So when a caboose was going down the road at night and
the lights were on in the interior - was the 'entire' caboose
lit up?
  Or was it some of the windows but not all?  Such as the
entire long end or the entire short end - but not necessarily
both ends?   Were there usually separate switches for each
end of the caboose so someone could sleep even if the
conductor was working at his desk?  Or did his desk have
an individual light shining just on the desk?
  Was there light showing in the cupola windows or just a
slight glow if at all?
  If it is was a bay window were the bay windows pretty
dark and just the end windows were well lit?
                                                                                              - Jim



np328
 

    I might be late to this conversation however had found the following when writing an article for my societies publication years ago about bay window boxcar cabooses:

 

E M Helgeson, General Chairman of the Order of Railway Conductors wrote to NP General Manager W W Judson asking that any future cabooses retain the cupola feature.

 

And here it is:

 "In addition, another concern was when stockmen (drovers) rode in the caboose accompanying their stock, they insisted on keeping the lamps lit. Often reading as they rode, the light affected the crew's ability to see out the windows; Cupolas being apart from the main body of the caboose were always dark."

Letter, July 15, 1942    Superintendent Flynn to W W Judson, Presidents Subject File 24,

Minnesota Historical Society

 

                                                                                Jim Dick - Roseville, MN

PS - the reading material of the drovers?  Zane Grey novels another letter lists.