caboose restoration

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Wed Aug 9 09:27:13 EDT 2006

Thanks, Jimmy, for the caboose info! A few more questions and/or

The 1970 C31s had 3 separate bunks - no "stacked" bunks so no need for
room overhead. Any other ideas why they were so low (the marks on the
walls are about 10-11 inches off the floor)?

Food storage - the lockers under each seat had only one small shelf
with a very low lip. Would food (coffee, sugar, etc) stored there not
have fallen off?

The burn marks on the floor are on the opposite side of the caboose
from the cook stove. I have the cook stove installed in its original
spot and there are no floor burns anywhere near it. The burn marks are
a cluster of about 20 spots about the size of a dime right next to the
heating stove (on the side toward the conductor's desk). Any other
thoughts about how they could have gotten there? I have another burn
mark in the middle of the floor between 2 lockers - irregularly shaped
and about the size of a football - could that have been caused by a
dropped fusee (or something else)?

The Browers/Brewer book (Cabooses of the Norfolk and Western) states
that cabooses #518550 through 518699 were converted to pool service
beginning in 1976 and 1977. Could mine (#518654) have gone into pool
service before 1973?

I would love to hear from anyone with information or stories about
caboose life and equipment and/or photos. This caboose will be a
museum and I am trying to depict things as accurately as possible. I
just got a $2500 grant from National Railway Historical Society and am
looking to buy some N&W tools, paperwork, equipment, safety posters,
etc. Anyone know good sources (I've gotten a few things on ebay)?


Ann Hobgood

On Wednesday, July 12, 2006, at 02:08 PM, nw-mailing-list at

> "I am restoring N&W caboose #518654 manufactured in 1970. A few

> questions: it had 3 bunks when built which were replaced by seats in

> 1976 when it went into pool service."


> The pool service agreement actually went into effect early in the

> seventies, before 1973.


> "Does that mean it was an assigned

> caboose from 1970-1976?"


> If it was before the pool service agreement, sure. After the pool

> service agreement went into effect, only shifters and maybe mine runs

> would have an assigned cab.


> "Does that mean that the conductor, brakeman,

> flagman actually slept aboard at times? Or were the bunks used for

> other purposes - seats for transporting crew?"


> Some train crews slept on their assigned cabs at away from home

> terminals. I know that my father in law did. Some crews went together

> and rented rooms or houses to sleep in.


> "Does anyone have any pictures of the original interiors (so I can see

> what the bunks looked

> like)?"


> The bunks were a black heavy type of vinyl, maybe as thick as the

> cupola seats.


> " I can tell exactly where they were and how high they were and

> size because of the holes in the floor and the cut outs in the metal

> strips on the walls. Why were they so low?"


> To provide head room to the bunk above.


> " Food supplies: I am

> trying to make the interior look as it would have when first put into

> use. Where would the guys have stored their staples - coffee, sugar,

> etc. - and utensils (coffee cups, spoons, etc.)."


> There are lockers under each seat.


> " Heating stove: when

> I stripped the floor of its badly deteriorating paint, there were

> numerous small burn spots around the stove area (not visible when there

> were 2 coats of paint on the floor). They seem to be from sparks - as

> you would see around a coal stove or wood stove in an old house. The

> N&W caboose book says this caboose had a propane stove originally - but

> the heating stove in it now has the installation date of 1980. Could

> there have been a coal stove originally? If not, what could have made

> the burn spots?"


> There was a two burner "hot plate" next to the sink counter, between

> it and the ice box.


> "Also, why do some cabooses have the round "targets"

> hung just outside the end doors on the platform - while others do not?

> Were they red or yellow - or something else? What is their purpose?"


> Those are the markers that every train needed to denote the rear of

> the train. A caboose may not actually be the rear of the train. Maybe

> it has cars behind it, in which may have a red flag stuck in the

> knuckle. The train may have parted and is moving the bad ordered car

> someplace to be set off, in which case there would be no flag or

> marker. Where ever the marker is, that is the rear of the train. You

> may find a red light at each corner at the top of each end. These were

> lighted markers that were used at night and the ends were swapped by a

> switch inside the cab.



> "am also looking for a video taken from the rear of the caboose so that

> I can show school children (and others) what the view was for the

> conductor"


> Sorry, I can't help you with that one.

> Jimmy Lisle


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