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Caboose Orientation

Started by rbrpguy, December 01, 2023, 07:45:47 AM

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Smokestack in the front or smokestack in the back? Thanks!

Loco Bill Canelos

Good morning,

At the Colorado RR Museum the stack was in the back. My conductor at the time in my rookie days insisted on it to a fault. His point was that the conductor or rear brakeman must have a clear view of the train. One day while turning one of our Cabooses I was not paying attention and turned it the wrong way facing the lead to the main track and got a friendly but firm chewing out. 

The reality is that in the real world it could go either way depending on the situation. This was true especially when conductors no longer had their personal caboose. When a train was on a branchline with no way to turn a train at the end of the run the crew would run around the caboose and the stack would be in the front.

When wide vision cabooses came along it was not as necessary, and also not necessary for bay window cabooses.

Bottom line is there is no wrong way to run a caboose and it depends on the era, railroad rules, and track limitations. 

Loco Bill
Loco Bill,  Roundhouse Foreman
Colorado & Kansas Railway-Missouri Western Railway
Official Historian; Bachmann Large Scale
Colorado RR Museum-Brakeman-Engineer-Motorman-Trainman
There are no dumb or stupid questions, just questions!


Thanks Loco Bill! Very informative!