Topics

Caboose restrictions

Rupert Gamlen
 

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

mark_landgraf
 

Rupert

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

Bruce Smith
 

Mark,

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.

Regards,
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL


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

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

Dennis Storzek
 

On Tue, Jan 14, 2020 at 05:35 AM, Bruce Smith wrote:
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. 
 
Bruce,

Can't cite the exact source, but during the twenties two regulations took effect: cabooses were required to have steel center sills, and a minimum body length of 26 feet. It is the later that did in most four wheel 'bobbers'.These weren't ARA interchange rules, but rather impose by the ICC under the authority granted the agency by Congress to regulate railroad safety. The end result, at least on the Soo Line, was all the bobbers disappeared and the rest of the cabooses were rebuilt with steel sills, starting about 1922 and finished by 1926 or so.

If Guy Wilber is listening, he can probably cite the source.

Dennis Storzek

Edward
 

While not in your region of interest, the State of Ohio passed a caboose law in 1913 that affected every railroad  operating in or through that state.
It specified a caboose used in main line service in Ohio must have a frame length of at least 30' and ride on four-wheel trucks.

In compliance, B&O  designed and built their I-1 class cabooses in 1913, which also had steel underframes.
The better known B&O I-5 class caboose was a 1920's development of the I-1.
Cabooses not meeting Ohio requirements were moved to other locations and downgraded to branch or terminal service.

The earlier B&O K-1 class four-wheel cabooses built between 1878 and 1913 were 23' long overall with wood under-framing.
Several survived into the 1950' in terminal service with some getting replacement steel under-frames.
On the B&O the K-1 cabooses last worked to about 1953 on the B&O Chicago Terminal and the Staten Island Rapid Transit (B&O New York Terminal).
On the SIRT the K-1 class worked interstate freights between Cranford Jct. in New Jersey and the Arlington and St. George yards on Staten Island, from 1890 to 1953.
They were replaced by I-1 class cabooses built in 1913. The assigned K-1's were burned for scrap later in 1953.
C-587 seen here in 1940 at St. George, has a replacement steel underframe. 

The PRR in 1913 also had four wheel cabooses working in Ohio. These had longer underframes.
PRR converted some by putting pair of trucks under them in place of their two wheel sets.

Ed Bommer

Bruce Smith
 

Ed,

With respect to the PRR, the NA, NB, NC and NE classes of bobber were all well less than 26’ in length. The ND class was exactly 26’ long. Several classes of bobbers were selected for rebuilding into the N6A and N6B classes of trucked cabin cars (steel under frame and wood structure), but these were all lengthened in the process. The ND was the only class where trucks were simply substituted under the car, and it was done a very limited number of cars, creating class NDA. The NDA cabins were exclusively operated on the Maryland Division of the PRR. Based on the Ohio law, the NDA would not have been legal, but the N6A and N6B were widely used there. The N6B class lasted for some time. Of note, in 1956, the PRR had more wood cabins in the N6B class than it had in all the steel cabin car classes combined!

Regards,
Bruce Smith
Auburn, AL

On Jan 14, 2020, at 9:41 AM, Edward <edb8381@...> wrote:

While not in your region of interest, the State of Ohio passed a caboose law in 1913 that affected every railroad  operating in or through that state.
It specified a caboose used in main line service in Ohio must have a frame length of at least 30' and ride on four-wheel trucks.

In compliance, B&O  designed and built their I-1 class cabooses in 1913, which also had steel underframes.
The better known B&O I-5 class caboose was a 1920's development of the I-1.
Cabooses not meeting Ohio requirements were moved to other locations and downgraded to branch or terminal service.

The earlier B&O K-1 class four-wheel cabooses built between 1878 and 1913 were 23' long overall with wood under-framing.
Several survived into the 1950' in terminal service with some getting replacement steel under-frames.
On the B&O the K-1 cabooses last worked to about 1953 on the B&O Chicago Terminal and the Staten Island Rapid Transit (B&O New York Terminal).
On the SIRT the K-1 class worked interstate freights between Cranford Jct. in New Jersey and the Arlington and St. George yards on Staten Island, from 1890 to 1953.
They were replaced by I-1 class cabooses built in 1913. The assigned K-1's were burned for scrap later in 1953.
C-587 seen here in 1940 at St. George, has a replacement steel underframe. 

The PRR in 1913 also had four wheel cabooses working in Ohio. These had longer underframes.
PRR converted some by putting pair of trucks under them in place of their two wheel sets.

Ed Bommer <C587a.jpg>

al_brown03
 

The Morristown & Erie used an ex-Lackawanna bobber until 1950.

Al Brown, Melbourne, Fla.

Eric Hansmann
 

While passed in 1913, the Ohio caboose act did not take effect until July 1919. You can read the full text here.

https://books.google.com/books?id=Y5c4AAAAIAAJ&ppis=_e&lpg=PA720&ots=bFHAxmE73C&dq=1913%20ohio%20caboose%20law&pg=PA720#v=onepage&q=1913%20ohio%20caboose%20law&f=false

 

Section One outlines the main points of the Act.

 

>>> Except as otherwise provided in this act it shall be unlawful from and after the first day of July 1919 for any common carrier operating a railroad in whole or in part within this state or any manager or division superintendent thereof to require or permit the use upon such railroad within this state of any caboose car or car used for like purpose unless such caboose or other shall be at least twenty four feet in length exclusive platforms and equipped with two four wheel trucks suitable closets and cupola. <<<


Read the full Act through the link above. It’s not long.

 

As for a Federal law or ICC mandate, I’m unaware of any specifics. I was discussing this with Charlie Vlk at lunch yesterday. He had thought there was a Federal law but I haven’t had time to search for it. I do know the Western Maryland had 137 NE cabooses in the 1926 ORER, and all were 4-wheel bobbers. The WM didn’t get new cabooses until their 8wheel steel cars arrived in 1935.

 

Ed Bommer notes the B&O usage of their K-1 bobbers deep into the late steam era. The B&O lists 549 4-wheel cabooses in the 1926 ORER, a decent proportion of the overall 1286 cars. Bruce Smith noted the Pennsy use of the ND and NDa cabin cars.

 

I suspect the main issue was the wood centersills and underframes. Installing a steel centersill on the older 4-wheel cars assured a level of crew safety, but probably didn’t make the cars ride any better. As time went on, these bobbers were relegated to yard, branch, industrial switching duties, and MoW work away from the mainline trains.

 

 

Eric Hansmann

Murfreesboro, TN

 

 

 

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> On Behalf Of Edward
Sent: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:41 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Caboose restrictions

 

While not in your region of interest, the State of Ohio passed a caboose law in 1913 that affected every railroad  operating in or through that state.
It specified a caboose used in main line service in Ohio must have a frame length of at least 30' and ride on four-wheel trucks.

In compliance, B&O  designed and built their I-1 class cabooses in 1913, which also had steel underframes.
The better known B&O I-5 class caboose was a 1920's development of the I-1.
Cabooses not meeting Ohio requirements were moved to other locations and downgraded to branch or terminal service.

The earlier B&O K-1 class four-wheel cabooses built between 1878 and 1913 were 23' long overall with wood under-framing.
Several survived into the 1950' in terminal service with some getting replacement steel under-frames.
On the B&O the K-1 cabooses last worked to about 1953 on the B&O Chicago Terminal and the Staten Island Rapid Transit (B&O New York Terminal).
On the SIRT the K-1 class worked interstate freights between Cranford Jct. in New Jersey and the Arlington and St. George yards on Staten Island, from 1890 to 1953.
They were replaced by I-1 class cabooses built in 1913. The assigned K-1's were burned for scrap later in 1953.
C-587 seen here in 1940 at St. George, has a replacement steel underframe. 

The PRR in 1913 also had four wheel cabooses working in Ohio. These had longer underframes.
PRR converted some by putting pair of trucks under them in place of their two wheel sets.

Ed Bommer

Charlie Vlk
 

All-

This discussion came up originally on the CB&Q@groups.io list because someone came across a photo of an 1899 20FT Burlington NM-1 Bobber body that has been preserved at the Pioneer Village, albeit on a cobbled narrow gauge four wheel underframe.  As one of only fifteen built it survived but the more numerous (almost fifty) 25FT NM-2 cars that appeared in a 1954 Model Railroader Article (CB&Q General Arrangement Drawing attached) and have been copied in cast metal pencil sharpeners and smaller keychain fobs found in RR Museum Gift Shops are all gone!

The question came up what triggered the rapid demise of the Bobber type after a slew of them were built for some roads right around 1900?

A little bit of online research yields legislation and mentions thereof in trade journals state by state but here is a summary published in the Railway Age Gazette including The American Engineer Vol 47 1913 aka American Engineer The Railway Mechanical Monthly p87.

The summary covers the states of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The bulk of legislation regulating cabooses seems to have started around 1905 and most states had passed similar laws by 1920.

The regulations covered the strength,  number of wheels/trucks, length, size of platforms, doors, steps, hand brakes, air valves, cupola and other aspects of the car.   One key feature that especially impacted the continued use of Bobbers was strength requirements (steel underframe).

(the 2-4 designated two four wheel trucks, thus dooming pedestal mounted four wheel cars).

There were some exceptions for continued use of non-standard cars for transfer, terminal and construction train use which can explain some of the cars that survived into the 1930s and beyond.

Each railroad had its own genealogy concerning four wheel cabooses…for example the PRR used such cars well into the transition era while at the same time converting some cars to eight wheeled types. 

I have also noted that the Illinois Railroad and Warehouse Commission annual reports note requests and granting of temporary use of boxcars fitted out as cabooses detailed down to individual car numbers by railroad but I have not seen any mention of bobbers.

From references in the Brotherhood journals it is apparent that the legislation was driven by trainmen concerned about safety and comfort due to the carnage from on wood under fame cars with the advent of heavier power and trains and the lack of facilities on the smaller cars.

Not included in these discussions is the WWI and WWII “War Emergency” temporary boxcar conversions which many roads had which is yet another research topic.

Charlie Vlk

 

Rupert Gamlen
 

My thanks to all who responded to my query. The article that Charlie Vlk has provided seems to answer my questions. Just need to find copies of the legislation for the states in which the CB&Q operated.

Rupert Gamlen
Auckland NZ