Question about short-lines...

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by 2-8-2, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    I wasn't sure if I should've posted this in the prototype forums or not. I'm sure the Powers That Be(tm) will gladly move this if I'm in the wrong spot! :)

    Do short-line railroads use their own caboose?

    I'm modeling the 1950's with my freelanced road, and it is mostly based on interchange traffic...hauling for other railroads. I'm trying to be as prototypic as possible, using the "what if" scenario by using what might have happened if my railroad actually existed. I was just wondering what the common practice might have been.

    Thanks guys!
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Tony, If you do a quick Yahoo search for [ "short line" caboose] you will come up
    with multiple examples of what you're looking for. I guess, since the caboose was
    for the use of the crew, it would make sense that they were owned by the specific
    railroad company. So the good news is "YES", you can slap yer logo on yer van!!:) :)
  3. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

  4. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Tony,The era you are modeling short lines would have cabooses because most short lines operated with either a 4 or 5 man crew.:D
    Fast forward to today and the majority of the larger short lines still have cabooses but,will only use them as needed for long reverse moves.:D Most of todays short lines operate with a 2-3 man crew and all can ride in the locomotive cab.
  5. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    My shortline uses cabooses as we use the vehicles for the crew, mainly because you can only fit two crew in a steam locomotive cab.

    The modern version of the line also uses vans, but thats because the management wont allow more than a two man crew in the cabs of the F40PH-6R units the line uses as frontline power.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    ross31r,Did ya know 3 men did indeed ride in the cab of a steam locomotive? The engineer,fireman and head brakeman.. Some PRR steam engines had a small building on the deck of the tender for the head brakeman to ride in..Also 3 men can ride in a cab of a diesel..The older diesels had a small round seat for the head brakeman..:D
  7. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    I'm sure that I've read somewhere of a shortline that didn't own a caboose and instead leased one from a connecting line. My own Erie Northshore owns locos and cabooses only, but no revenue-producing rolling stock of its own.
    At one time, cabooses on real railroads were often assigned to a particular crew, and, over a period of time, often took on individual appearances, as determined by the whim of each particular conductor.

  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Wayne,Years ago some short lines use combines instead of a caboose because the only train they schedule was a mix train.More then likely there was more bags of mail and package freight from Sears then passengers!! :eek: sign1
  9. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    i did know that yes, but i cant put a doghouse on a vandy tender can I!

    but the NHE uses the vans as "support vehicles" - ie the carry all sorts of re-railing gear are tools in case of an emergency or a derailment so ther has never been a need for the third crew member to ride in the cab.

    Some of the vans are indeed combines, but most of them are ex-pennsy vans. the Pennsy being the mainline connection!
  10. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Even the big roads ran mixed trains: a lot of the CNR trains in the '50s running out of Palmerston, Ontario ran with a combine instead of a caboose on the tailend. It's a good way to get a little more variety in the trains that we run, and also an inexpensive way to add some limited passenger service to an otherwise all-freight line. I have several combines that I run in lieu of cabooses.




  11. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Thanks for the replies, guys! :thumb:

    How do you know all this stuff? I swear I'd be lost sometimes...okay, most of the time. Now that the pieces of my layout are starting to fall into place, I'm sure I'll be bugging you all with posts like these for awhile.

    I had just bought an unlettered caboose and it got me wondering if I'd even need it. With the amount of interchange traffic my shortline sees from different railroads, I thought maybe I made a bad purchase. I want to be as prototypical as possible, even if my project is freelanced.

    Again, thanks! Looks like all systems are go for the caboose painting project. I went to the LHS today and picked up some paint and Solvaset. This one might be put on the back burner though, until I get my first structure completed (I bought paint for that too).
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Where you get your caboose would depend on the circumstamces of your railroad (historical and financial) and its relationship with the surrounding railroads.
    If your shortline is actually owned by another railroad (or railroads) they might supply cabooses (and even locos). If the shortline was a bit hard up and needed to replace a caboose, they might get an old one from the main line.
    Our local shortline (Brampton & Orangeville) has a caboose painted to match their loco; I'm not sure if it actually runs on trains.
  13. GeorgeHO

    GeorgeHO Member

    The Ma&Pa in my area had two axle bobbers, regular cabooses, and combines that they ran as cabooses. When they used a interburban as locomotive power, it could be followed by anything, especially milk cars. The interburban was allowed to pick up or spot freight cars on trailing spurs only.
  14. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    The short line on my pike has one ex PRR bobber caboose. They painted over the PRR logo and put their own name on it.

    This is a vet low budget operation. Last week they had to sent old combine car to C&O shop for repair. The owners had no lunch for 3 days
  15. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Since it freelanced, You can tell everyone that its a "County Blue-Law Ordinance"
    There are still some laws on the books in some towns that even trains today need a caboose.So it is plausible.
  16. isboris4449

    isboris4449 Member


    If you search Texas and New Orleans steam locomotives you should find photos of steam locomotives with Vanderbilt tenders that have "dog houses" on them. The T&NO was the SP's subsidiary line in Texas.

  17. ross31r

    ross31r Member

    OMG Thats not actually as horrendous as i thought it was going to be!!!!

    now just have to find somewhere that stock the funny PSC canadian cabs and try and do a home-built doghouse eqipped vanderbuilt to see what it looks like in model form!
  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    JR Booth's Ottawa. Arnprior & Parry Sound had engines and vans lettered for that road, but virtually all the boxcars they used (and they used a lot!!) came from Booth's other roads including the Canadian Atlantic (or was it Canada Atlantic?). Considering that at the turn of the 20th century they ran one train every twenty minutes from Depot Harbour through Algonquin Park to Ottawa - that's a lot of rolling stock!

  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Tom,I knew I saw pictures of Vanderbilt tenders with dog houses but,I just couldn't recall the railroad that had them. Thanks.:thumb:

Share This Page