Union Pacific Drover Cabooses

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on September 5, 2019.

(Return to Union Pacific Caboose Index Page)


Drover cabooses came into service to allow cattle drovers to remain with their, shipments of cattle as the cattle were shipped to market. During the trip, in accordance with a 1906 law, the railroads were required to stop every 28 hours to feed and water the cattle, and the accompanying drovers provided the needed manpower to speed this work along. Until the mid 1920s, UP apparently used either already retired, or soon to be retired passenger cars to allow the cattle drovers to accompany their herds. After that time, and until the movement of cattle by rail essentially collapsed in the mid 1950s, UP provided what were known as drover cabooses.

UP had 28 drover cabooses, numbered in the series between UP 2022 to UP 2088. All 28 cars were converted between August 1927 and July 1931 from the 500 series coach passenger cars (with lengths between 50 and 60 feet), and the 1000-series 60-foot chair passenger cars, all built between 1882 and 1907. (No roster data available.)

OSL had nine drover cabooses, numbered as OSL 2700-2708, converted in 1928 from 600-series 60-foot coach passenger cars. Four cars (OSL 2702, 2704, 2705, and, 2706) had bunks added in June 1933.

LA&SL had nine steel underframe drover cabooses, numbered as LA&SL 3484-3492. These nine cars were 41 feet 11 inches long and were converted in 1926 from 130000-series box cars originally built in 1905. All were equipped with bunks. One was retired in 1946, another in 1948, with the rest leaving the roster between 1953 and 1957.

LA&SL also had another seven drover cabooses with wooden underframes, numbered as LA&SL 3493-3499. This group of cars was converted in 1924 from the 4100-series coach passenger cars, built in 1891 and in 1901. All were retired in 1925 and 1926, being replaced by the steel underframed 3484-3492 series drover cabooses.

The following table shows UP's fleet of drover cabooses:

Number, Series Qty Dates, Converted Dates, Retired
UP 2022-2088 28 1927-1931 1930-1937
OSL 2700-2708 9 1928 1934-1939
LA&SL 3484-3492 9 1926 1946-1957
LA&SL 3493-3499 7 1924 1925-1926

Roster Listings

UP 2022-2088 (converted coaches, no roster data available)

OSL 2700-2708

LA&SL 3484-3492

LA&SL 3493-3499