Union Pacific Special Service Cabooses
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This page was last updated on September 25, 2019.
Snow Bus Service
UPP 400 and 401
Two ex CRI&P cabooses were rebuilt as test and laboratory cars, and numbered as UP 400 and 401 in November 1987 (the formal reporting marks are UPP, for Union Pacific Passenger). UPP 400 was the former UP 24531 (ex CRI&P 17113), and UPP 401 was the former UP 24540 (ex CRI&P 17122). Both cars were equipped with rooftop air conditioners and had special test equipment installed inside. The two cars were painted as standard UP cabooses, but without any car class markings.
Within three years, both cars were no longer needed and the test equipment was removed. The cars remained stored and unused at Council Bluffs until they were moved to North Platte, where all remaining equipment was removed. Both cars now have had several seats installed and are used intermittently as shuttle cars to move train and yard crews during periods when winter storms force the closure of local highways.
Both cars remain painted as cabooses, with North Platte Service Unit lettering in place of the more standard Union Pacific lettering.
In November 2009, the former SP 4750, a C-50-9 caboose, appeared at Denver's North Yard, numbered as UPP 430. The car is assigned to "snow bus" service west of Denver to transport crews during snow storms. Previously, SP 4750 was stored at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
UP CA-11 25822 was seen in October 2016 equipped with large propane fuel tanks, and assigned for "snow bus" service at Ogden, Utah, to move crews between stopped trains and crew change points. The propane tanks were two 420-pound propane tanks, each measuring 57 gallons, 24 inches diameter, and 43 inches tall, one on each end's open platform. While in special snow bus service, the caboose is coupled between high-horsepower locomotives, which themselves are connected for multiple-unit operation, one at each end of the caboose and facing opposite directions. The two locomotive and single caboose make up a special three-car train.
UP CA-11 25872 was assigned to snow bus service as early as January 2008, working out of Denver, Colorado. In November 2019, the car was seen in Green River, Wyoming, coupled between two locomotives, ready for service.
UP 25872 was rebuilt to enclose the end platforms and weather-seal all the windows and doors; assigned to crew shuttle service for movement of track maintenance crews when highway transportation is either unavailable or difficult due to weather conditions.
UP CA-11 25889 was assigned to snow bus service as early as January 2008, working out of both Salt Lake City and Ogden yards. UP 25889 was retired and sold for scrap on April 25, 2019.
Ex Chicago Metra Commute Cars
There were also six ex Metra commute cars that UP purchased in 2004, which are (were?) used for maintenance crews.
Now it appears that UP is using regular cabooses, at least the few that remain on the active roster.
In late August 2016, a new caboose for Union Pacific appeared, painted in full UP yellow and gray paint and numbered as UP 26000. It carries class C-50-7. The new caboose is serving as a shoving platform on UP's LTS81 local in the vicinity of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The local, known as the "Menard Job," works out of the former C&NW yard at Altoona, Wisconsin, and serves the large warehouse facility of the Menards home improvement chain, located in the northwestern part of Eau Claire.
UP 26000 is a wide vision steel cupola caboose, built in August 1973 as Soo Line 101 (2nd), part of a group of 80 cabooses built in 1973 for Soo Line by International Car Company, numbered as Soo 66-145.
A detailed history, with dates, of the car is not available, but it is known that Soo 101 became CVRX 101 when it was donated to the Locomotive and Tower Preservation Fund, Ltd. The caboose was stored along with the group's other pieces of railroad equipment in the former C&NW roundhouse at Altoona, Wisconsin. Union Pacific demolished the Altoona roundhouse in June 2004, at which time the group was forced to disband and disperse its collection. The group used CVRX as its reporting mark, for Chippewa Valley Railroad, named for the Chippewa River that runs through Eau Claire.
In 2005, the CVRX 101 caboose was leased to the Wisconsin Northern Railroad which had started operations in November 2004, operating over former C&NW tracks between Norma and Cameron, Wisconsin. It was returned to the preservation group after not being used by WN for a year.
(Additional information after 2006 is not available.)
(No information is available concerning how the CVRX caboose came to be owned by UP. One source suggests that upon UP ownership, it was sent to Omaha to be painted, and was returned to Altoona for service.)
MP 7500 Series