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D&RGW Wooden Cabooses

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This page was last updated on January 18, 2015.

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Thistle Caboose

The well-known wooden caboose near Thistle, Utah, was the former D&RGW 01120. This fact was confirmed by Steve Seguine of Orem, Utah, from photos of the area above the caboose's end door. Steve also provides some background information: the Thistle caboose was owned by Bob Pace, a D&RGW locomotive engineer who also owned the U-Pace-O Ranch at Thistle, where the caboose sat for many years. Mr. Pace told Steve that he had moved the caboose to his Thistle ranch from Scofield sometime before 1960.

The caboose was swept away by the Thistle flood of April 1983, and was seen later by Steve Belmont. He reports that the caboose was laid on its side, with only about a foot of it visible above the mud.

Tooele Valley Railway Caboose

The Tooele Valley Railway caboose was a former D&RGW 01100-series caboose. It has a prominent steel underframe, D&RGW-style ladders, and a D&RGW-style sheet metal gate on the end platform. The side sheathing covers part of the side sills, so it is an H&B car. (information from Jim Eager)

Tooele Valley bought the former D&RGW caboose in 1957 for a purchase price of $796, plus another $378 in freight costs and the costs of preparing the car for service. It remained in service until the Tooele Valley shut down in August 1982. The caboose is displayed at the Tooele Railroad Museum in Tooele, Utah. (information from Larry Deppe)

Rio Grande Western

The following comes from Burkhard Kreutz, an O-gauge modeler in Germany, via an email dated May 11, 2014:

With the standard gauging of the narrow gauge lines in Utah in 1890 the RGW began purchasing new cabooses. There were two types: a 4-wheel car of 21'-9" length and an 8-wheel car of 29'-0" length. The eighteen 4-wheel cars were originally numbered 1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22 and 25. The twenty-seven 8-wheel cars had the numbers 4, 6, 15, 18, 20, 23, 24 and 26 to 45. In 1904/05 the surviving 8-wheel cars were renumbered 0201 - 0222. The 4-wheel cars got the numbers 0223 - 0236.

When the D&RG formally absorbed the RGW in 1907 the cars were renumbered into the D&RG caboose numbering scheme. The surviving cars of the 0201 - 0222 series received the numbers 01100 - 01117 and the cars 0223 - 0236 became 01118 - 01131.

The cabooses 01118 - 01131 must have been retired before 1928 when the D&RGW built the 01120 - 01139 series in its Burnham Shops. The "Thistle Caboose" 01120 was a representative of the 4-wheel design.

The last caboose of the 01100 - 01117 series war car 01108 being used on the Leadville Branch until the mid 1950's.

(Credit to Kenton Forrest and the staff at Colorado Railroad Museum; based on equipment registers and folio sheets of the D&RGW, and material and compiled rosters of locomotives and cars from 1871 until 1988.)

D&RGW Wood Caboose Information

(from Jim Eager, via emails to D&RGW discussion group during September 1998)

The cabooses of D&RGW and WP were very similar, but not identical. Haskell & Barker built cars for both roads in 1909 (D&RG 0950-0959) and 1910 (WP 20007-20056, renumbered to 731-779). I know that the WP cars had steel center sills and truss rods, but I haven't seen a photo of one of the Grande's cars or a diagram sheet for this series, so I can't say for sure that they were identical. The Rio Grande design was then modified and all of their subsequent cars had a substantial steel underframe, both those ordered from H&B and those built in their own shops. The WP built several groups of steel underframe cars following the original design, but they also had truss rods, thus a major difference that is readily visible.

As for the ladders, on the D&RGW cabooses they either curved toward the cupola at the top but did not turn down to meet the roof, or made a large radius curve to run straight down toward the running boards. The ladders on the WP cars curved tightly at the top, then ran down at a 45 degree angle to meet the running boards.

D&RGW 0800-0899 Built circa 1887-90s with low cupolas, end platforms, and side doors. The earliest cars were painted yellow ochre when new with shadowed lettering. We discussed them a while back. The cars were later replaced or rebuilt with tall cupolas and without side doors and painted mineral red.
D&RGW 0889-0915 Built by the Grande in 1906. They were wood-body, wood underframe cars quite similar to the narrow gauge cabooses.
D&RGW 0916-0931 Possibly former RGW; shown on the diagram sheet with the 0889-0915 but not listed in the ORER in the 1906-1909 period.
D&RGW 0932-0933 Ex-D&SL 10000-10002, blt by B&S in 1904
D&RGW 0936-0938 Ex-D&SL 10006-10008, blt by Danville Car in 1909
D&RGW 0939-0945 Ex-D&SL 10010-10021, blt by Pullman in 1913
D&RGW 0950-0959 Built by Haskell & Barker in 1909.
D&RGW 01100-01117 Ex-RGW "Short 20' cars" Built for RGW, eighteen cars numbered in the RGW 1-25 series, renumbered in 1904-1905 to 0223-0236, renumbered in 1907 to D&RG 01100-01117.
D&RGW 01120-01139 Built by D&RG at Burnham in 1928
D&RGW 01140-01189 Built by Haskell & Barker in 1913; comparing D&RGW 01140-01189 with 01120-01139 (Burnham 1928) and 01190-01199 (Burnham 1927), the side sheathing went a little deeper over the steel channel side sills on the H&B cars.
  D&RGW 01189 was assigned to maintenance of way service and painted, with black flying Rio Grande (from Bob Webber, via Jim Eager)
  In 1962 only 01157, 01166, 01167, 01173, and 01189 were still in service.
D&RGW 01190-01199 Built by D&RG at Burnham in 1927
D&RGW 01200-01214 Drover coaches
D&RGW 01300-01303 Composite wood and steel body drover cars, based on the 01100 design built by Rio Grande in 1937
D&RGW 01320-01325 Former 62000-series, 36ft steel underframe boxcars used in transfer and switching service, painted silver during the diesel era
D&RGW 01350-01359 Composite wood and steel body regular cabooses, based on the 01100 design built by Rio Grande in 1937
D&RGW 01390 Built as D&SL 10063 in 1947; painted D&SL for only one day; 01390 is privately owned, but it is not on display.
D&RGW 01391 Built as D&SL 10060 in 1936; 01391 is privately owned and preserved as D&SL 10060 at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
D&RGW 01392 Built as D&SL 10061 in 1936, converted to weed sprayer X-301
D&RGW 01393 Built as D&SL 10062 in 1937

The cabooses numbered from 014166 to 014477 were rebuilt from boxcars, some had side doors and cupolas.

The cabooses numbered from 060101 to 061474 were rebuilt from boxcars, some had side doors and cupolas.

The following comes from John Tudek via email dated October 13, 2014:

The following wood cabooses were still in service in 1960:

01124
01138
01157
01166
01167
01173
01182
01189
01191

Most were retired by 1963 but 01189 lasted until 1966 while the 01167 was around until 1968, the last of the original fleet.

Also, there were 6 wood/steel yard cabooses built in 1964. These were converted from M of W Tool Cars which had been converted from 62000-63499 series double sheathed box cars. Basically they were half-flats with a dog house on one end. Not very popular, they were gone by Nov. 1973.

The all-steel cabooses 01400 thru 01490 first made their appearance in 1940.

Former Denver & Salt Lake Cabooses

The following information comes from John Tudek, via email dated June 10, 2013:

After the 1947 merger of Denver & Salt Lake Railroad and Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, the following former D&SL cabooses were assigned the following D&RGW numbers:

D&SL Wood/Steel Cabooses

D&SL
Number
D&RGW
Number
Notes
10000 0932 retired 12-49
10002 0933 retired 11-50
10003 0934 retired 12-49
10004 0935 retired 06-50
10006 0936 retired 11-51
10007 0937 retired 05-51
10008 0938 retired 07-51
10010 0939 retired 05-51
10013 0940 retired 12-55
10014 0941 retired 04-56
10015 0942 retired 05-51
10018 0943 retired 05-51
10019 0944 retired 05-51
10021 0945 retired 05-51

Over half were retired from the roster in May 1951 under AFE 2249. According to records, the renumbering from D&SL to D&RGW (for the most part) occurred in May and June of 1948.

Also, at the end of 1947 there were also two former Rio Grande Western wooden cabooses still in service.

RGW
Number
D&RGW
Number
Notes
RGW 0208 01106 retired 03-1951.
RGW 0210 01108 retired 07-1956.

The 01108 was purchased by a private party and photographed by the late John Maxwell in September 1959, reported to be somewhere near Buena Vista, Colorado. It's present location and condition is unknown, though there are rumors that it is on a ranch somewhere on the old Westcliffe branch.

Also in the Westcliffe area, is their museum where they have the former D&RGW caboose 0825, as well as two ex-RGW boxcars, one of which was rebuilt by the D&RGW into an outfit car and the other, also rebuilt by the Grande into a boxcar caboose. The sole remaining example known.

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