A Visit to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park - What You Will See


Cabooses (PGE #1817 and BCR #1859)

The Caboose is primarily a North American invention which begun in the 1850’s and was used until the 1990’s when it was replaced by brake monitoring technology.

The caboose was used to house the conductor and the trainman/brakeman for extended overnight living and as the conductor’s office. The caboose was usually attached to the end of a freight train or work train and never used on a passenger train. Each of the 3 crew members had his own bunk to sleep in. The 2 brakemen got the 2 bunks on one side of the caboose while the Conductor enjoyed the single accommodation on the other side.

The steel cupola was a much touted safety innovation. This is where the Conductor or the Brakeman would station themselves so they could monitor the train as it moved and watch for any problems. In the early days, the tops of the cars were low enough so they could see over the whole train. The Caboose was also built to be slightly wider than the freight cars for easier viewing down the sides. They were constantly on the lookout for smoke from a “hot box” which would indicate that an axle bearing had run out of oil and was overheating.
The last freight train caboose on BC Rail was used on May 31, 1995 although sometimes work trains still use cabooses.

After the caboose was dropped, the Conductor began to ride on the locomotive with the Engineer. To this day, these long trains are run by only two people; the Engineer and the Conductor.

 

caboose caboose

 

 


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The West Coast Railway Association is a charitable organization
committed to preserving British Columbia's railway heritage.


West Coast Railway Association
PO Box 2790 Stn. Term.
Vancouver, B.C. V6B 3X2
Canada

Charitable business number: 119292480 RR0001