Assigned Caboose

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TB Diamond
Posts: 1719
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:40 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains

Assigned Caboose

Post by TB Diamond »

Many years ago, on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, my Grandfather was a freight conductor working out of Sayre, PA. Back then I was informed that freight conductors who held a regular job were assigned their own caboose. Grandpa kept his as neat as a pin, even to having curtains on the windows. Later, he went into passenger service and after this was cut back he went back into freight service. If recall is near correct, by this time all the caboose equipment was in a pool and was run through the various crew change points, with no more assigned to individual conductors.

When did the LVRR begin pooling caboose equipment? Or, did I misunderstand what I was told all those years ago?
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe

BR&P
Posts: 4184
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: Assigned Caboose

Post by BR&P »

I have some records from Manchester for 1960 and 1962, and at that time the cabooses were assigned. It is possible to trace the crews for a period of months and the same conductor-caboose pairings are seen. In a case or two, there was a notation about a caboose being pooled through on some special train, and they went so far as to deadhead the conductor's REGULAR caboose from Manchester to Buffalo so he would have it for the return trip.

Again in about 1966 or so I am aware of assigned cabs of of Manchester. Whether all through runs were pooled later, or only on certain trains such as Apollo as noted in another thread here, remains unsure.

Drawhead
Posts: 34
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2004 8:18 am
Location: Norwalk, Ohio

Re: Assigned Caboose

Post by Drawhead »

BR&P, Did the Lehigh Valley have any specific caboose records of all their cabooses of wich cabooses were assigned to conductors or were they just records from different places such as Manchester that mentioned certain ones? Do any of your records happen to mention 95026? I'd love to know what conductors or crews it was assigned to back then!

TB Diamond, Was your grandfathers caboose the 95085? I think i remember reading and seeing a picture of it in one of Mike Bednars books as it mentioned that it's conductor had one of the nicest and cleanest cabooses on the LV.I think the reason alot of conductors took such good care of their cabs was that they spent alot of time in them and it was like home away from home to them.Back then they also took great pride in their jobs.I've heard stories from some of the older now retired N&W conductors i once worked with how they were also assigned cabooses back then and how some of them would put up curtains,carpet on the floors and other elaborate trimmings inside.I guess some were also pretty good cooks on their caboose stoves too! Now a days you get on a engine and some look like real pig sty's,with trash on the floor,scratched windows from feet proped against them from the winter footware and knife cut's on the handles and armrest's,and also graffiti about, no one cares.Makes you wonder if your fellow workers live like that at home?

BR&P
Posts: 4184
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 7:58 pm

Re: Assigned Caboose

Post by BR&P »

I have some crew assignment books from Manchester, the caboose number is only an incidental addition. Mostly gives the crew, job, power, caboose, called time, etc. I did make a list of various LV cabs and where they were, either from crew books such as mentioned above, or photos in various books & magazines. Nothing on yours. Could be it was assigned to the other end of the system, maybe it was on some local somewhere, or could have been an extra cab for use on work trains, etc.

That 95085 was later the Bicentennial caboose I believe.

TB Diamond
Posts: 1719
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:40 pm
Location: Rocky Mountains

Re: Assigned Caboose

Post by TB Diamond »

Drawhead:

Well, I would have a record of Grandpa's cab as I had most of his time books from the 1940s and 50s. Alas, I gave them to my cousin who started out on the LVRR and retired off ConRail so that they would stay on that side of the family. Now he has passed on, alas.

My mother once related a story that Grandpa told years ago about his regular brakeman laying off. A extra board man who happened to chew tobacco caught the job and made the grave mistake of spitting on the shiny floor of Grandpa's caboose. This resulted in probably what was the worst sore swearing the man ever received in his life. And yes, like many railroaders, Grandpa did know how to swear.

BR&P:

I can recall seeing cabs parked on a special track in Manchester yard as late as 1969. I believe that crews began running through Manchester in 1972, so the assigned cab on through trains was most certainly history by that time. I suppose that assigned cabs were a union agreement which was given up at some point in the 1960s. Total supposition on my part.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe

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