Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]

Nelson Moyer

Al, the Q waycar trucks in Ed’s photos are the standard Q waycar trucks. I think I remember they were classed #7 by the Q. They had an oak plank at the top, and they had solid bearings. Crews liked them because they gave a smoother ride than the Barber caboose trucks. I don’t believe they were considered high speed, though they were used on hot shot freights between Chicago and Denver. The branchline mixed trains hardly operated at high speed. The highest speed limit on the Burlington-Washington branch was only 25 mph according to the 1943 employee timetable, and that’s the earliest one I have. I think it was higher in the 1930s when passenger traffic was more active, but even then it probably wasn’t over 35 mph.


Nelson Moyer


From: [] On Behalf Of al.kresse
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 10:24 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]


This caboose had high speed trucks?  Would that allow for higher mixed-train speeds?


Al kresse

On May 24, 2018 at 9:37 AM "Ed Rethwisch via Groups.Io" <edreth1@...> wrote:

The CB&Q had a limited number of side door cabooses ( waycars) but one of the    

side door cars was assigned to Fort Madison for many decades for branch line service.


Ed Rethwisch,


Steve and Barb Hile

This provides an interesting explanation on the situation that the Rock Island encountered when they converted a number of single sheathed boxcars to cabooses beginning in the late 1930s.  Most were shortened by removing most of the center section where the side door had been and were configured just the same as their standard double sheathed wood and steel cabooses.
However, twenty cars ultimately were left full length to be assigned to mixed train service, many of which were used in Iowa, home of dozens of RI branches.  For these cars, the body bolster was moved inboard to provide for passenger steps and a platform at one end (where there were a few coach seats and a small toilet enclosure.  The other end initially received only an crew access door between the vertical braces on the end.  See the photo for sale on eBay for how this looked.
Within a few years, a second platform was added at the crew end.  The bolster was not moved, so the crew used a three step ladder attached to the side sill.  See
I have been studying the branch from Cedar Rapids to Decorah which hosted a mixed train daily, each way in the 40's and 50's.  The southbound train had a 4 mile back up move to Postville, Iowa and I had speculated that was (maybe also) a reason for the addition of of a better crew platform on that end.
Steve Hile

From: [] On Behalf Of Dennis Storzek
Sent: Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:56 AM
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Side-door Cabooses [was Why Transfer cabooses?]

On Wed, May 23, 2018 at 09:19 pm, Merlyn Lauber wrote:
I believe the Side Door Ban on the IC cabooses in Iowa was an old Union rule
Considering I can find no Iowa statute that specifically mentions side doors, I'm beginning to think the "ban" was self imposed by the IC, either in response to union pressure or because they had to pay a whopping injury settlement (which would have been imposed by the Iowa state courts and could be the basis urban legend that it's a "law".) I did find a citation to the 1911 statute I linked to the other day in the 1946 court case Fleming vs. Richardson , the complaint being: On complaint of a trainmen's association that the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway Company was violating section 7972 of the 1939 Code of Iowa, by operating caboose cars on its railroads in Iowa, with but one platform, but no references to side doors. I also found a citation to the 1911 statute in a list of current (2018) Iowa law, but with the disclaimer that the list on the web site may be out of date.

More for general information, and more pertinent to the recent discussion of four wheel cabooses, is this compilation of state laws governing cabooses as of December, 1912. Caboose Laws

Dennis Storzek