Union Pacific Cabooses

This page was last updated on February 4, 2014.

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UP Cabooseless Operations

UP's cabooseless operations were first tested in late August 1984 on the South Central District, between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles, using SD40-2 3724. Cabooseless operations formally began on October 7, 1984 when the caboose of the westbound APLV-05 was removed at Salt Lake City, and SD40-2 3766, equipped with end-of-train (EOT) device, was added to the point.

October 11, 1984
"Union Pacific began phasing out cabooses." (Update Line, Union Pacific Communications Department, October 9, 1997, "This Week In UP History")

Within days, cabooseless operations began between Cheyenne and Denver. A month later, on November 6th, cabooseless operations began between Cheyenne and Nampa, with cabooses being added at Nampa because Oregon still required them.

The first cabooseless UP train from Salt Lake City to Oakland was the westbound Overland Mail West (OMW), on October 13, 1984. By early November 1984, all container and piggyback (COFC/TOFC) trains on UP's system were operating without cabooses. By that time, 245 locomotives were equipped for EOT operations -- included were 217 SD40-2s; 15 C30-7s; four U30Cs; four 6900's; and five GP40Xs.

The cabooseless operation of local and branch line trains began, mostly in the Northwest, in July 1985, using upgraded MoPac GP38-2s.

The Oregon Public Utilities Commission granted a waiver to UP for cabooseless operations in early September 1985. Following the waiver, the first cabooseless mainline train on Northwestern District was on September 8, 1985, from Hinkle to Spokane, bound for interchange with Canadian Pacific. The same train initiated cabooseless operations over the former Spokane International on the same day, between Spokane and the Canadian Pacific interchange at Eastport, Idaho.

Texas still required a caboose on all trains until 1989. On January 9, 1989 the Texas caboose law was thrown out of U. S. Supreme Court, effectively nullifying all other states' caboose laws. Following the Supreme Court's action, UP's caboose donation program was restarted, after having slowed in 1987. By late 1989, almost 200 cabooses were donated after its slow down in 1987, including a few donated during 1988.