DodgeCharger
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What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 6:52 am

Here is a random question that popped into my head...

How come trains don't have a caboose anymore? I can remember being a kid in the mid 80s and seeing a few but now you never see them. Is there just no need for them anymore???

Anyone that knows anything about trains got an answer?

 
CaptOveur
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 6:55 am

they were replaced with an EOTD.. End of train device.. sort of works like a transponder I have been told... It is that silver box with a flag sort of thing and a red light on the back of the train.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
redngold
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 6:59 am

Cabooses were sleeping quarters for the train crew. Nowadays, trains move much faster and there's less need for sleeping quarters. Today's passenger trains have sleeping cars for the crew; the freight trains will either have a crew rest car or there will be so many stops along a route that a substitute crew can take over.


redngold
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L-188
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 7:56 am

The purpose of a caboose was so an operator can sit up in the parapet and monitor the condition of the train and stop it if he notices a car starting to derail or such.

Technology has made this manual observation redundant, so they just mount the EOTD on the last car now. This saves them the costs of maintaining those cabooses.

Most are being retired, although some are finding new lives, I have seen a couple that have been converted to control cabs.
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redngold
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 7:59 am

L-188, both of us are right in our own ways.
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Alpha 1
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:00 am

What's a caboose?

Signed,

All kids on here under 15.

 Laugh out loud
 
L-188
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:13 am

I wasn't actually disagreeing with you, redngold.

But train observation is why cabooses have those distinctive parapets on them.

Burlington Northern, for example ordered a number of GP-50's with an extended cab for crew rest areas.
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CaptOveur
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:20 am

Sometimes you will still see them on trains. Just recently I would sometimes see a few that CSX would run through downtown Dayton on the back of short, local trains.
Things were better when it was two guys in a dorm room.
 
MD-90
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 8:33 am

Cabooses are the railways equivalent of three man cockpits in aviation.
 
LHMark
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 10:22 am

Didn't cabooses also have something to do with braking?
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Superfly
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 11:30 am

A little off topic but what happened to the Cabooses on Monica Lewinsky?
She had a nice big one during the Clinton years. It's practicly disappeared now.  Sad





Whare did it go?  Confused
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IMissPiedmont
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Fri May 07, 2004 12:12 pm

Don't you mean "whale did it go" Superfly?

The EOTD is the reason indeed. I did have an expert source when I asked the same question 10 years ago, my father.

Trains just look incomplete without a caboose though.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
cptkrell
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Tue May 11, 2004 5:40 am

Sorry I noticed this topic late but, as an ol-timey railfan, thought I'd chime in too. Most all replies are part of the equation, but LHmark added another reason for the early intent (the brakeman). The caboose was the "office" for the conductor who kept tabs on waybills, schedules, etc., looked out for trouble on the train (usually via upstairs cupola or bay windows) and a brakeman, and sometimes a flagman. When two brakemen were used (one in caboose and one forward) they would exit their stations to the tops of railcars and manually adjust the cars' brakes, often meeting near or at the center of the train of cars. The flagman would "flag" missions accomplished to the engineer and fireman. Sleeping bunks and stove for heat and cooking were common.

Better air-actuated brakes eventually eliminated the need for a brakeman (or, brakemen) except while "humping" railcars without power into railyards, and that station was eventually eliminated as was that of flagman. Conductors retained their duty as paperpushers as well as observers for wheel fires and other problems that the engineer and firemen would be too busy to watch for. Eventually, electronics replaced the conductor as well as the station (caboose) at the rear of the train.

As some of you have noted, it's very analogous to the elimination of radio operators/navigators/engineers on commercial aircraft. Trains don't look right without cabooses, and I still miss the perspex bubble behind the cockpit of airliners, too. Regards...Jack
all best; jack
 
SlamClick
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Wed May 12, 2004 3:37 am

Isn't the plural "cabeese?"

So what you are saying is that they were outsourced?

Being a lifelong fan of all modes of transport, I've always wanted a ride in a caboose. Finally got one at the Portola California Railroad Museum. Just happened to be sitting up in the cupola when they moved the train. So we stayed there and watched. (Never saw any hotboxes!)

Same day I set up my video camera at the Williams loop and got a train of flats crossing underneath itself on the 1.1 mile 360o loop and staring down the Feather River Canyon. Was looking for, but did not see the EOTD, but the cars were not loaded.



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lehpron
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Wed May 12, 2004 3:58 am

You're right, I haven't seen may 'cabeese' lately.  Smile That's a funny word dude.

The only way I see them any more are on model trains, like HO scale. Those are the coolest. We have a model train museum her ein San Diego, or I think it's still there, nobody goes there anymore, like that generation just grew up and got stupid or something.  Sad
The meaning of life is curiosity; we were put on this planet to explore opportunities.
 
seb146
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Wed May 12, 2004 7:03 am

So this topic begs the question: What was the difference between the 'cabeese' (good word!) with the cupola on top or on the side? I remember Union Pacific had the top ones and Burlington Northern had the side ones. Was there an advantage to one over the other?

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Guest

RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Wed May 12, 2004 7:06 am

here's a caboose

 
cptkrell
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Wed May 12, 2004 9:22 am

Seb 146; A cupola was more advantagous when there were there were minimal overhead obstructions; the bay window was developed when (as you can imagine) the extreme costs incurred by making tunnels and overpasses higher when a rail-line labor/time/cost construction equation was inserted. Other common sense factors, such as the "snake of the route" had much to do with a bay window design decision also.

The Caboose Is Dead. The Caboose Is Dead. Long Live The Caboose.

Regards...Jack
all best; jack
 
Matt D
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Sat May 15, 2004 8:53 am

I live not far from a main line that runs through Riverside. I see a lot of trains go by. Most of them are BNSF or Santa Fe Intermodal or Piggyback trains. Those have no "cabeese" on them. I also see the Metrolink trains every so often. Once in awhile, an Amtrak will pass through. And once in a blue moon, an old fashioned freight train with boxcars and tank cars and gondolas and so on will go buy. Sometimes there will be an old red Santa Fe caboose at the end. But these are pretty rare. But I do see them.
 
L-188
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RE: What Happened To Cabooses On Trains?

Sat May 15, 2004 8:58 am

Yesterday I got held up by an Alaska Railroad train pulling empty coal cars.

Guess what, there it was a Caboose on the end, with a brakeman inside!

No ETD on that one!
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