My Caboose...need advice

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by aartwmich, Dec 28, 2002.

  1. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    Heres Dads old caboose.....some parts missing and dig that ancient coupler on the 'back'.

    Question #1.... does the raised part of the roof go towards the front or back of the train?

    Questions #2..... I think the trucks are meant to power a light that goes into the hole in the bottom of the caboose..BUT I've hooked up a light a number of different ways and the light works but the trucks generate sparks, which gives some light but

    OK heres do I hook up the wires properly??

    Attached Files:

  2. K.V.Div

    K.V.Div Member

    Not sure if I can help with the second question, however I will do my best to confuse you with the first one.
    As I model the Canadian Pacific I know that on their Wood Vans (Canadian term for Caboose) the Coupla (that raised part) was closest to the front while on the later steel types it was closest to the rear.
    On center cupola models, Who knows?
    They were always used in either direction.
    In short, find some pictures of trains of the road you are modeling and try to determine which end seems to be used the most and go from there.
    If all else fails, run em as you see em and have fun, as it is indeed your little empire:D
    Happy Modeling and Cheers!

  3. marty w.

    marty w. Member

  4. Railery

    Railery Member

    Its really hard to tell. But make sure the wheels are insulated correctly. u will have to use a wire and light or an ameter to check for current on each wheel. The sparks could be caused from improper grounding. Good luck and u will eventually solve the problem. ;)
  5. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    I thought of another, check to see that the wheels are insulated. The red arrows show where a plastic washer should be. This washer should be between the axle and the wheel at all 4 locations.

    Attached Files:

  6. RI541

    RI541 Member

    First I'd like to thank you for posting you caboose. Now I'll see if I can help with the Questions.

    1) The Rock Island ran their caboose's with the cupola towards the rear. This would put the brake wheel as the front of the caboose. The RI ran them this way since 1903 so that'll cover your steam engine (can we see that up close too???please please??) They even had rear view mirrors on the left side of the cupola.

    2) Like Marty said, cleaning up the wheels should help with the spark's, cleaning the track also will help. If that doesn't work make sure that the wheel sets are installed properly, One of the wheels will have a plastic or rubber insulater on it, they need to be on the same side on one truck and the oppisite side for the other truck so you have a possitive truck and a negitive truck so to speak.

    I hope this helps.
  7. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member


    OK Thanks guys for your responses..I guess it doesn't matter which way the cupola goes, I had read somewhere that it should be forward but that might have been a road specific thing. We are not road specific here at my house...just playing with trains!

    As to the trucks..the wheels and axles are one piece so it appeared that there was no place for a washer between them. Then I noticed that where the axle (must be) pressed into the wheel was a dark ring between the axle and wheel on one end of each wheel set... AND I saw that I had switched one of them around when reassembling it after it had fallen apart on a run (that was funny). SOOO I've got the wheel sets on right now and NO sparks and damn that light works ALOT better now...LOL

    Thanks for your help, it's always easy once you know how!! ;)

    and here's my engines..not sure which one RI541 wanted to see

    Attached Files:

  8. RI541

    RI541 Member

    I like them steamers, not sure which one I like the best,

    Lately I've been absessing about steam engines. I don't know why. I love diesel. I hope this is a passing thing. Maybe it's a good thing. I need counseling.:( :) :D :D :D

    Thanks for the Pictures
  9. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member


    If you don't have the rear set of wheels for your 4-6-2 steamer, Bowser is still in business. You might be able to pick up a replacement set from them. Nice to see those steamers still out there doing what they were designed for, running trains.

  10. aartwmich

    aartwmich Member

    Thanks Greg...the rear 2 wheels are there, they're just turned so you can't see them in this pic.

    RI541...steam obsession IS a good thing!!! lol ;)
  11. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Ah, I see them now. Cool.

  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi and glad you got the sparking problem squared away. Here's how you can get rid of most of the bulb flicker when the caboose is moving. Add a set of axle wipers made from .005 brass shim stock. This will cause the trucks to have a more positve electrical contact.

    Attached Files:

  13. McFortner

    McFortner Member

    Vic, I got the same suggestion from my LHS for my bluebox passenger cars. He suggested using the copper from a broken flashlight. It is a good width for HO and is pretty cheap (who doesn't have a few of these floating around?). Plus, you don't have to cut copper strips.... ;)

  14. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Micheal, The flashlight idea is a good one:) Even if you don't have a broken one laying around you can get a Made In China plastic one for a buck and end up with more copper or nickle silver strip than you can get at the LHS for $1.00:) Some of them have some kind of tin strip that would work ok.
  15. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    One of the things that determine the preferred direction a caboose faces is the stack for the stove. More often than not, the caboose runs with the stack behind the cupola. Of course, in warmer times, this wouldn't apply.
  16. Mike R

    Mike R Member

    Hello imatomboy; looks like you've got all the help you need on this topic...just thought I'd mention that coupler on the rear of your's a genuine Mantua coupler, quite popular in the late 40's and through the 50's...didn't look that good, but worked really well.
    There were craftsmen, such as the late, great Jack Work, who used the Mantuas because they were so reliable, even when more realistic couplers became available.
    The late, great John Allen always used Bakers, which were similar.
    Happy New Year & best regards / Mike:)

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