Q about caboose lights

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Well-Known Member
Seems to be a new fad thing about lighting Cabeese. My question is about Prototype ops:

Would a caboose in operation on the rails, either short haul or long haul, have any interior lights on? Wouldn't the conductor rather keep it dark so he could view the train from the cupola?

Steve J

PS, if not the right forum for this type of question, kindly move it where appropriate. Thanks.


Same Ol' Buzzard
Like Terry posted, lights on in the caboose for paperwork, cooking, eating, going to the toilet or playing cards with fellow riders. Lights off in the cupola, I'm not sure how lights affect the bay windows since I have never been in a bay window caboose.


Well-Known Member
Note that many older cabooses didn't have any fixed lights in them, so lighting would just be a kerosene lamp on the table.

Agree that you would not have one up in the cupola. Just in the main part of the caboose where the stove and table are.

More modern cabooses with electric lighting I am not 100% sure if they would have lights in the cupola either.


Well-Known Member
The last bay window caboose I was in only had a kerosene lamp by the desk. With the lamp on low, I’m sure you could see enough to get around without tripping over something. Growing up, we had a kerosene lamp. My grandfather knew how to trim the wick so that you could turn down the lamp and have a burning candle be brighter. No smoke either.


Well-Known Member
Depends, some do have lights in the cupola, some don't. Some have electric lights in the main area, some don't. Depends on the age and how it's equipped.

The lights in the cupola would be so they could read orders, timetables, etc in the cupola. When the crew was in the cupola (and they weren't 100% of the time) if they needed to read something at night, they would turn on the light read it, then turn the light off.

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