Kevin’s Komments 06/30/2021

The Caboose

I previously said that we may have to investigate caboose trucks – Well here it is!

Caboose Trucks

Here is the pic that inspired this look. The caboose has what appears to be a 2 axle passenger truck. Since I haven’t seen these types of trucks on a cabooses before…let’s take a look:

This Santa Fe caboose sports a Bettendorf truck with leaf springs specifically designed for cabooses. These are what I’ve typically seen for caboose trucks. The Bettendorfs were first built in the 1920s and lasted quite a while on railroads.

An SP bay window caboose with the same Bettendorf trucks.

An SP bay window caboose with the same Bettendorf trucks.

Here’s a good look at Bettendorfs with leaf springs on a Monon wood caboose.

Bettendorfs on a Monon steel caboose

…Bettendorfs on a Monon steel caboose:

This NYC caboose with Bettendorfs was built around 1914 to 1918. It’s listed as a wood caboose, but it appears to be possibly skinned of with steel sheets.

In the general scheme of trucks, Bettendorfs replaced the Andrews trucks.  Here’s a Monon wood caboose with what appears to be Andrews trucks with leaf springs.  Andrews trucks were built from around 1910 to the 1930’s.  They were one of the earliest cast frame trucks that replaced the 19th century archbar trucks. They were barred from interchange service in 1954, but by that time, they were only being used for lighter service such as reefers and cabooses.  For our era (1950s), you might see them on the cabooses, but more likely they would have been shifted over to the MOW equipment.  (On freight cars, you would see a couple coil springs where the leaf springs are.)

Here’s another Monon wood caboose with Andrews trucks.

So…predating the Andrews were the Archbar trucks. This pic shows Pickering Lumber #2 being restored. There’s definitely archbar trucks, but the spring mechanism cannot clearly be seen – maybe a leaf spring, but doesn’t look like one I’ve seen before! Archbars first appeared around 1890 and were still being built in the ‘20s. They were banned from interchange in 1940. But of course you could still find them on MOW equipment, and on railroads that didn’t interchange portions of their rolling stock such as logging companies. Maybe the odd look around the springs is because of the restoration – the springs have been removed and the trucks temporarily blocked.

Here’s another wood caboose with archbars.  I’m guessing that because the caboose is static, the leaf springs have been removed and replaced by blocking.

This pic gives you a great close-up of an archbar truck with leaf springs. Again, for freight service, the truck would have a couple coil springs in place of the leaf springs.

I tried to find some pics of cabooses with fox trucks.  You see them often in modeling, but not in prototype pics.  They would have been used around the same time as the early use of the archbars – 1880s to around 1910.  Here’s a couple pics of just the trucks.

I’m not sure for fox trucks, but typical practice for caboose trucks would be to switch out the coil springs with leaf springs.

Jumping back up to more modern times, let’s move beyond the Bettendorfs. This is a GSI (General Steel Industry) Type Q truck. They first started being used in the 1940s. These look a little like the trucks on the 1956 Erie pic (first pic), but not quite.

This is UP #3786, a steel caboose class CA-3, built around 1942, rolling on Type Q trucks. UP used the Type Q trucks on caboose classes CA-3 thru CA-10.

This is a beautifully restored steel combination caboose/baggage car with leaf sprung roller bearing trucks.  Roller bearing trucks first arriving during our era, but have been revised many times to accommodate modern heavy load equipment.  These look like earlier, lighter load, roller bearing trucks.

But, we still haven’t solved the mystery of the first pic – What type of trucks are on that Erie caboose?
Here’s some shots of Erie cabooses built around the same time as Erie C163:
First, Erie C177 – Same style caboose – Nope, those are Bettendorfs.

What a great shot of Erie C143 – But again, Bettendorfs. C143 looks just a bit more modern than the others listed on this part of the roster – wonder if the original was destroyed and this is the replacement (?).

C140 matches the look, probably the same class, but Bettendorfs. Another great pic.

Aha – Here’s a like caboose with similar trucks, Erie C123. Still not sure – It looks a bit like a Pullman Standard, but also resembles some of the later PRR roller bearing trucks. Another possibility would be a Commonwealth truck.

 Now here’s a good pic – Erie C112.  Same style, same truck.  Probably not the Pullman Standard – though I can’t tell for sure.  I’m not sure why it would be the PRR truck – besides, it doesn’t appear to have roller bearings.  So best guess is a two axle Commonwealth.  But, I’m just not very sure about my guess!

Alas – I’ve run out of time.  The mystery goes on…

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