Union Pacific Box Car Cabooses
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This page was last updated on September 5, 2019.
Wooden Box Car Cabooses (with and without cupolas)
Like all railroads, Union Pacific has always retained large numbers of obsolete and retired rolling stock for its own use in non-revenue service, mostly for the maintenance of its tracks, right-of-way, and bridges and buildings. Special trains made up of equipment needed for maintenance have always been operated whenever, and wherever the work is needed, and special trains all need cabooses. From available photographs and records, in the wooden caboose era, work trains for maintenance-of-way (known as Roadway Service on UP) usually, used cabooses converted from former box cars. These converted cabooses, noted in equipment records and on car diagram sheets as "Box Car Cabooses," were assigned to maintenance-of-way trains as required, and in times of heavy traffic to regular mainline trains as well.
The first Box Car cabooses were converted in 1904-1906. These 75 cars, numbered as UP 2300-2374, were converted (including the addition of cupolas) from 34-foot box cars in the 45000 and 46000-series, all originally built between 1882 and 1886.
In 1917, an additional 42 Box Car cabooses were added; 24 cars numbered from UP 2375-2398, with another 16 cars numbered to fill in the retired, and now empty number slots in the UP 2300-2374 group of cars. These later Box Car cabooses were simpler in design, not having cupolas atop the body of the 34-foot car, and were converted from 65000, 66000, and 68000-series box cars originally built in 1893 and 1898.
These Box Car cabooses remained in service until as late as 1957, when the last number, UP 2348 was retired. The earlier retirements began almost as soon as the cars were originally converted. As just mentioned, 16 of the original UP 2300-2374 group needed replacement in 1917 when the later group was completed. Retirements continued throughout the years of the 1920s through the 1950s, usually because of wreck damage, or from being simply "worn out."
Following is a table showing these 116 early examples of cabooses assigned to UP's, maintenance-of-way trains:
|Number Series||Qty||Date Converted|
|UP 2300-2374 (fill-in)||16||1917|