A Caboose on your trains

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Staff member
A Caboose on your trains, do you use one?
There are some shortlines that still use a caboose on certain trains to this day. Our local shortline has several and they are still used on the spurlines ( not sure why ) other than carrying a crew for switching duties. At present I'm in the process of stripping 7 Caboose shells for use with all trains on my layout since it's dated to the 70's. Don't believe there were any F.R.E.D's then, were there? :eek:
This is one in the CB&CNS Stellarton yard earlier this year.


2711 & 2189 L-NWE8621
When making a reverse move, someone has to be riding the point to protect the train over grade crossings and what not. When a crew makes alot of or a long reverse move, they preferably will have a caboose to ride as opposed to hanging off the side of a freight car. I know of a couple locals here on BNSF in Washington that will use these "shoving platforms".


Mmmm, turbos
Same goes for P&W. One run goes up to a sawmill in the woods, and there is no runaround there. So they shove the entire train up, with the conductor riding the caboose all the way.

May I ask what sort of cabooses you are doing, Willis?


The Meeker Southern has, and regularly uses, a caboose for the same reason ABC mentions, long shove with no run-around and several public crossings. The caboose is equipped with lights and I seem to recall it has a horn too.


Registered Member
Staff member
Hi Bob, just checked some other photos and all of the CBNS cabooses have lights both ends, as for horns guess I'll have to ask someone about that.
Cheers Willis

Are your cabooses going to be like that ex-CN caboose you posted a picture of?

We started loosing the caboose back in 1984 on the UP, old WP lines in California, Nevada and Utah. Florida East Coast eliminated the caboose in the late 60's with early forms of a FRED, IIRC.



Stay off the tracks!
abcraghead said:
Same goes for P&W. One run goes up to a sawmill in the woods, and there is no runaround there. So they shove the entire train up, with the conductor riding the caboose all the way.

May I ask what sort of cabooses you are doing, Willis?
The Dawson Turn is an RC job now, isn't it? So the Conductor is the only person on the train?

Must get boring... 8 miles backing down at very slow speed without anyone to talk to.


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Staff member
I'm not too sure, I'd like to tackle the Point St. Charles like the one shown above, soon as I get up enough nerve to start butchering one. They came out in 1970 ordered by CN, big windows and aluminum trim. I'll most likely try at least one. Being in the 70's I guess they're required. However don't know if a shortline would be buying them :D

Cheers Willis
Just came upstairs for a cuppa
, Been down there most of the evening butchering a couple of diesels to make one I want.


Well-Known Member
Not being up-to-date (I model the 40's -1959), a waycar (Burlington route-ese for caboose) was mandatory unless you were switching in the yard or off the main. EOTD is something from the future (like rockets landing on their own exhaust plumes were on Tom Corbett, Space Cadet). A train without a caboose is agin the laws of nature! ;-D


Well-Known Member
Woah, this has got to be close to a record for a zombie thread here. Eighteen years since the last post, and most of the original posters haven't been on this forum for over ten years.

Geez, what was I doing eighteen years ago? Just starting my current career, come to think of it.


Well-Known Member
Ya, 18 years ago. Been in Libby just over a year ( 2004 ). Anyway - ima 68 - 71 on my railroad, so cabeese are the norm. Think that I now have around 25 of them - need a few more! Have started adding interior lights as they are my EoT's for detection.



Same Ol' Buzzard
Zombie thread or not, it's once again active. I have a wide era on my layout, spanning '78-'94. ATSF stopped using most cabooses in the '86-'88 range. So my solution is that I use cabooses on all trains led by engines in the yellow/blue warbonnet (Yellowbonnet) paint scheme; and I don't use them when I use motive lash-ups of the classic red/silver warbonnet scheme.
They started using the red/silver paint scheme again with the GP60m's and Dash8's in '88 or '89, so it makes for an easy cutoff for me. Both color schemes were used until the merger (not on the same engine class) and cabooses could be seen with Dash8-40CW's and other red/silver engines occasionally into the 90's.
Trivia - The original GP60's (non-wide noses) were painted in the Yellowbonnet scheme, and according to the lease arrangement, they had to remain in that scheme through any and all repaints with BNSF. The cabless GP60B's and all GP60M's were repainted into BNSF colors.


Active Member
I model caboose era D&RGW so naturally I have cabooses. The hard part is there are no correct plastic RTR cabooses available yet for Rio Grande so I've managed to score around 8 brass D&RGW cabooses; most are painted but a couple still need painting. I have a few Genesis UP and SP cabooses as well as they did run through on the Rio Grande now and then. Athearn tells me they plan to do D&RGW Genesis ICC cabooses and hopefully one of them will be announced before end of 2023. Unfortunately Athearn takes a long time form announcement to shipping, which seems to be approaching 2 years now.


Well-Known Member
Since I model 1950 thru 1952, my trains will have a caboose. I have a lot of RTR caboose and a lot of caboose kits to build. I am kind of a sucker for a neat caboose. You can do so much to a caboose to make it unique. A boxcar is pretty much a boxcar but a caboose can be so many more designs for different railroad needs and uses. I really like the old Silver Streak caboose kits.

Have fun.....John

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