Union Pacific Wooden Cabooses

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Early Oregon Short Line Cabooses (1881-1897)

Oregon Short Line began construction in 1881, and completed a connection at Huntington, Oregon, with Oregon Railway & Navigation Co., in 1884. OSL's construction, began where the new line connected with the Union Pacific mainline at Granger, Wyoming, 23 miles west of Green River. New construction took the OSL west from, Granger to McCammon, Idaho, where a connection was made with the narrow gauge, Utah Northern. The two lines then operated jointly over 24 miles of shared, three-rail, dual gauge railroad from McCammon to Pocatello. At Pocatello, OSL, continued west along the Snake River Valley and across southern Idaho to a, connection with Henry Villard's Oregon Railway & Navigation Co., at, Huntington, Oregon, in November 1884. By the time the first through train from, Omaha operated into Portland, Oregon, in January 1885, OSL owned 12 standard, gauge cabooses.

Among these standard gauge OSL cabooses were some early examples of short versions of, UP's standard six-window caboose from the 1870s. These short OSL cabooses had, just four arch windows and a centered cupola. They also had a unique angled, rooftop running board, as shown in these two undated photos. Unfortunately, the, numbers of these unique cabooses are not visible, but both were located on OSL, property.

In the 1885 renumbering, OSL was assigned numbers 1835-1899 for its cabooses, and Utah, & Northern cabooses were assigned numbers 1600-1721. Oregon Short Line's, caboose fleet stood at 12 cars in June 1889, numbered as OSL 1835-1846. Subsidiary Utah & Northern had 20 standard gauge cabooses that were shown, as "Trust Equipment" and numbered as U&N 1625-1644. An additional, 17 U&N narrow gauge cabooses numbered as 1600-1623 brought the later total, fleet of Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern to 49 cars. By March 1897, OSL, owned 65 standard gauge and 11 narrow gauge cabooses, reflecting its, combination in 1889 with other roads in Utah and Idaho. The annual report for, 1899 showed 71 standard gauge cabooses and a single narrow gauge caboose, used, on the former Utah & Nevada westward from Salt Lake City. A January 1900, equipment and property listing shows 71 standard gauge cabooses numbered as, 600-673, and a single narrow gauge caboose numbered as 599.

The Oregon Short Line and the Utah & Northern were combined in August 1889 to, form the Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern. For cabooses, the 600 series, shown in the listing from 1900 indicates that with its independence from UP in, 1893, OSL&UN likely renumbered its fleet away from the numbers assigned by, UP in 1885. The 39 U&N cabooses numbered as 1604-1622 (narrow gauge), and, 1625-1644 (standard gauge) may have become 604-644, with the 12 OSL cabooses, originally numbered as 1835-1846, falling in as 645-657. Additional new, cabooses would have filled out the roster to number 673, as shown in the 1900, listing.

These two photos of OSL 600-series cabooses show that OSL also participated in the, acquisition of new UP-standard cabooses during the 1880s. OSL 616 and 620 were, both built by the Ohio Rolling Stock Co. in December 1888. OSL 616 was off the, roster by the time of the 1915 renumbering to the 3000 series, but in December, 1915, OSL 620 was renumbered to OSL 3007.

According to records dated January 1908, Oregon Short Line owned 95 cabooses. The roster, included: 43 cars in the OSL 606-669 number series, all built in 1888, 1890, and 1891; 10 cars in the 670-679 series, built in 1903; 17 cars in the 680-699, series, built in 1901; and 25 cars in the 700-724 series, built in 1907. These, cars, along with the later CA and CA-1 class cars, were renumbered into the, 3000 series as part of Union Pacific's system in 1915 to 1918. A January 1924, listing of OSL equipment shows a total of 150 cabooses, 24 with steel, underframe, and 126 with wood underframe.

The accompanying photo shows Utah & Northern caboose 1665 at Tie Siding on UP, in Wyoming. Although obviously a standard caboose from the UP design of the, 1880s, the photo raises several questions, including the fact that the, equipment record book from 1926 does not show an N.C.S. class caboose with the, 1665 number. There was, however, a possible OSL&UN caboose 665, possibly, built in 1890 as part of a group of ten cars delivered in May 1890 from commercial, builder Barney & Smith as OSL&UN 660-669. The Utah & Northern, lettering is a question, but may stem from some corporate existence remaining, from the 1889 reorganization of several UP-controlled railroads in Idaho and, Utah as the Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern.

(A roster listing of early OSL cabooses)

Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf Cabooses

As part of Union Pacific's plans to expand into Colorado in the 1870s, the road bought, controlling interest in two narrow gauge railroads. First was the Colorado Central Railroad. Second was the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railway. In 1881 and 1882, Colorado, Central constructed a 151-mile standard gauge line between the UP Nebraska, mainline at Julesburg, Colorado, and a connection at LaSalle, Colorado, with the, Denver Pacific mainline between Denver and Cheyenne.

In 1879, UP had gained control of the narrow gauge Colorado Central by lease, so the standard gauge line's construction was actually completed by UP's own construction forces. Colorado Central was included in the consolidation of UP's various Colorado roads, both standard gauge and narrow gauge, that formed the Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf Railway on March 18, 1890. Separate receivers were named in November 1893, and UP purchased the Julesburg to LaSalle line in February 1899. The line later became the Third Subdivision of the Nebraska Division.

The remaining parts of the UPD&G were sold in 1899 to the newly formed Colorado & Southern Railroad and the Fort Worth & Denver Railroad, both organized by Burlington interests for the purpose.

Records are incomplete, but based on information presented in Hol Wagner's The Colorado, Road, along with data from UP records, there were at least four Colorado, Central standard gauge cabooses in the number group 1735-1745, assigned as part, of the 1885 renumbering. These cars were built by UP in 1881 and 1882, coinciding with the completion of the new Julesburg standard gauge line. By the, late 1880s, additional cabooses were needed, and in 1888, the road received at, least three cabooses built to the UP 1880s standard design. These cabooses were, numbered as CC 1749-1751. Both the 1885 renumber plan, and the June 1889, equipment roster show a total of 11 cabooses in the 1735-1745 series. The 1889, roster does not show the later cabooses built in 1888. With UP's receivership, in 1893, and a separate receivership for UPD&G, the three cars were, renumbered as UPD&G 9-11. They later received numbers in the C&S 10500, series, although one was destroyed in 1902.

Of the total of 25 cars likely in service on the UPD&G (17 cars in the 1735-1751, series, along with the eight former Denver, Texas & Gulf cars numbered as, 1767-1774 that may have also been built to the UP standard design), only 15, cars were transferred to C&S at the time of its organization in 1899. The, remaining 10 cars had either been wrecked, or they were incorporated into the, UP fleet and given numbers in the 2000 series. Additional research is needed to, discover the unique history of these standard cabooses.

Prior to its 1893 bankruptcy, UP's Colorado subsidiary, Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf (which later became the Colorado & Southern) operated standard gauge cabooses which had many of the features of the later Union Pacific CA and CA-1 design.

(A roster listing of early UPD&G cabooses)

Early Oregon Railway & Navigation Cabooses

Oregon Washington Railway & Navigation Co. was incorporated in November 1910 as a, consolidation of Oregon Railroad & Navigation Co. (OR&N) and 14 other, companies in the states of Oregon and Washington. OR&N itself had been, incorporated in 1897 as a reorganization of Oregon Railway & Navigation, Co., in receivership since 1893.

Throughout the 1880s, control of railroads and railroading in the Pacific Northwest was a, much contested issue. Henry Villard had assembled the original Oregon Railway, & Navigation in 1879 from several small railroad and steam ship navigation, companies that were providing freight and passenger services along the Columbia, River. In 1884, his dreams of greatness came crashing down due to astounding, levels of debt, causing him to flee to Europe. He left behind 219 miles of OR&N, rail line completed along the south bank of the Columbia River between, Portland, Oregon, and Wallula, Washington, where it connected in September 1883 with, Northern Pacific's line south from Spokane. Union Pacific completed its Oregon, Short Line across Idaho to Huntington, Oregon, in October 1884, and a month, later, OR&N completed its own line across the Blue Mountains to Huntington, driving the last spike on November 25, 1884. Through service for UP between, Omaha and Portland officially began on December 1st.

Negotiations for Union Pacific control of OR&N commenced and the 1887 lease of the, OR&N to the Oregon Short Line (and its 1889 successor Oregon Short Line, & Utah Northern) was the result. In November 1889, OR&N became the, Pacific Division of Union Pacific. Separate receivership came in October 1893, the lease to UP's OSL&UN ended in July 1894, and reorganization as Oregon, Railroad & Navigation Co., was completed in August 1896, with a majority of, stock still owned by the Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern, itself reorganized, as the Oregon Short Line (OSL) in 1897. By late 1899, E. H. Harriman's control, of UP (and its OSL subsidiary) was in place, and OSL control of OR&N in, July 1899 brought the OR&N back under UP control.

These corporate maneuvers are only important here because of the effect they had on, OR&N's mechanical department. As various factions of UP and other roads, controlled OR&N's future through various operating leases, so too did each, foreign road's own mechanical department control OR&N's fleet of, locomotives, cars, and cabooses. Historians of Oregon Railway & Navigation, are lucky in that an equipment record book for the period of 1860-1896 has, survived. But this available record only seems to add to the confusion.

All records agree that the OR&N's 200-series cabooses were in service at the, time of UP control in 1899, and that they became the later 3500-series N.C.S. (Non Common Standard) cabooses. Oregon Railway & Navigation's 1887 annual, report shows that the road owned 18 cabooses. The 18 cars in the OR&N, 200-217 series were built as OR&N 101-118 in 1882-1883 by OR&N's own, forces, likely in their shops at The Dalles, Oregon. With the OSL lease of, OR&N in 1887, these 18 cars were assigned numbers 1868-1885, an available, number series from the 1885 UP numbering scheme. Considering the lease of the, OR&N was actually to OSL, it makes sense that the road numbers fit as part, of the 1835-1899 group set aside for OSL cabooses in the general 1885 renumber, plan. These 18 cars were renumbered to OR&N 200-217 in 1894-1896 after, OR&N went into its own receivership and reorganization, separate from the, OSL and its UP parent. In 1915-1918 the remaining 16 cars were renumbered to, OWR&N 3500-3515, with two cars having been wrecked prior to being, renumbered. OWR&N 3505 is the only car that survived to have its photo, taken and was donated to Brigham Young University in 1972. Today it resides in the collection of the Nevada State Railroad Museum at Boulder City, Nevada.

Other early OR&N cabooses are not as easy to pin down. Adding to the confusion is, a solitary record for the month of September 1889 that shows four other, OR&N cabooses, with numbers 2001, 2006, 2013, and 2014. The record shows, 2001 and 2013 being converted to Tool Cars 1091 and 1092. It also shows car, number 2006 as having been destroyed in a wreck, and 2014 as having been, converted to Boarding Car 1155.

The OR&N equipment record shows that OR&N 2226-2240 were built in July 1889 by St. Charles Car Company, and that they were purchased by OSL&UN for the account, of OR&N. (Remember that from 1887 to 1899, OR&N was under lease to, OSL&UN) Assignments during March 1890 included OR&N 2226 to the Texas, Ferry Branch, and OR&N 2227 and 2228 were both assigned to the Willow Creek, Branch (later known as the Heppner Branch). The OR&N equipment record also shows, that OR&N 2226-2240 were renumbered to OR&N 220-234, and 13 of these 15, cars later became OWR&N 3517-3529. Only additional research will resolve, these questions.

Oregon Railway & Navigation Co. also owned a narrow gauge caboose, numbered as, OR&N 50, later becoming OWR&N 50. This unique caboose was retired in, December 1930 and records show that it was sold to the standard gauge Oregon, & Washington Railroad.

In May 1905, more cars were added to the Harriman Associated Lines caboose fleet when, 15 cars were built to the new Common Standard CA pattern by Standard Car Co. for the Oregon & Washington Railroad. These 15 cars are unique, along with the 25 cars built in April 1905 for the, San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake, as the first examples of the Harriman, Common Standard CA-class of cabooses. These 15 cars were later renumbered to, OWR&N 3580-3594.

(A roster listing of early OR&N cabooses)

Early LA&SL Cabooses

Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad (LA&SL) operated all UP, lines south and west of Salt Lake City, Utah. LA&SL was a name change in, August 1916 from the original San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, organized in 1901. The SPLA&SL (and the later LA&SL) was controlled by, William Clark until 1903, then jointly controlled by Clark and the, UP-controlled Oregon Short Line until April 1921, when UP bought Clark's half, interest, making LA&SL jointly owned by UP and OSL, which itself was fully, controlled by UP. The connection between Salt Lake City, Utah, and Los Angeles, California, was completed on May 26, 1905 at Erie, Nevada.

The first SPLA&SL cabooses apparently came from Union Pacific as part of the July, 1902 agreement between E. H. Harriman and William Clark that settled their, dispute over right of way in Nevada. These first cabooses were built for UP and, were transferred to SPLA&SL ownership in about 1903. Most were built by UP, itself in 1901.

These earliest 12 LA&SL cabooses were originally numbered as SPLA&SL 212-223. There may have been other cabooses in either an earlier series (200-211) and a, later series (224-229), but available records do not show cars with these, numbers. The SPLA&SL 212-223 series was renumbered to the LA&SL, 4212-4223 series at some time between 1905 (10 cabooses, numbered 215-224) and 1908 (48 cabooses, 4212-4268), as shown in available copies of the Official Railway Equipment Register. In 1921-1922, the remaining nine, cars were renumbered again to 3000-3008.

Until UP acquired full control in 1921, LA&SL benefited from a certain amount of, independence in its mechanical department. More cabooses were needed with the, completion of the road in 1905, and SPLA&SL 230-254 were built by Barney, & Smith in April 1905. These 25 cars were purchased through the Union, Pacific Equipment Association and were similar, if not identical, to the, Harriman Associated Lines Common Standard CA-class first officially completed, by SP in 1906. (The exact date for the adoption by UP of the CA class, designation is not known.)

After the first 25 CA-class cars in 1905, 14 more CA-class cars were delivered by Pullman, in 1907. Five additional cars came from Pullman in 1909 and two more were, delivered by Pullman in 1910. The adoption of the CA-1 design by UP and its, subsidiaries in 1914 brought five cabooses to the SPLA&SL from Pullman and, six cabooses from Mount Vernon, all in 1916. These 11 cars were the standard, CA-1 design, with sloped-sided cupolas and three side windows.

More cars came in 1918 to 1920, thirteen cars numbered as LA&SL 4287-4299, which were, all renumbered to 3351-3363, with an additional three cars delivered after UP, control in 1921, as LA&SL 3373-3375. All 16 of these cars were built by, LA&SL itself in its East Los Angeles shops and were unique because they, used the previous CA-class design (high straight-sided cupola and four side, windows) mounted to the more modern steel underframe of the CA-1.

As mentioned above, in April 1905 SPLA&SL received the first CA-class cabooses of the Harriman Associated Lines Common Standard era, before the design was formally adopted in 1906. These 25 cars, along with 15 cars for the Oregon & Washington Railroad in Washington, were the first examples of this design. SPLA&SL numbered their cars as 230-254 and they later became 4230-4254. New CA and CA-1 cabooses were delivered in the 4255-4299 series in 1907-1921, and the entire 4212-4299 series was renumbered to the 3300-3363 series in 1921-1922. Subsequent cars came in 1923 and 1924, a total of 45 cars all built to the standard CA-1 design. At least one of these (LA&SL 3403) was rebuilt with a high, straight-sided cupola.

(A roster listing of early LA&SL cabooses before 1921)