Union Pacific Wooden Temporary Cabooses
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This page was last updated on September 5, 2019.
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Like many other railroads, Union Pacific at any one time has several maintenance-of-way and other non-revenue trains operating over its lines. In earlier years, in addition to a caboose, each of these specialized trains usually required an office car for use by supervisory personnel; a car which could be retained at the work location as the maintenance work progressed. To combine the function of both an office car and a caboose, during the 1930s UP converted 11 revenue box cars into formal Office cars, which also had all of the necessities of a regular caboose. These 11 cars (UP 06275, 09644, 09706, 09745, 09747, 09756, 09757, 09759, 09878, 09910, and 09918) were converted in 1931, 1936-37, and 1943 from steel underframe box cars built between 1906 and 1909. While shown in the records as Boarding cars, these 11 cars were actually assigned as Office cars in Dining Car & Hotel (DC&H) service and used system wide by the DC&H department to support the on-site commissary needs for the railroad's Bridges & Buildings, Roadway, wreck service, and other maintenance operations. These DC&H Office cars were also used as temporary cabooses during World War II, and remained in service until the early and mid 1950s.
Their use as temporary cabooses for road service stemmed from the increase in rail traffic during World War II, which brought much additional traffic to Union Pacific and its system of associated railroads, which included the LA&SL to Southern California, and the combined OSL and OWR&N to the Pacific Northwest. More traffic meant more trains, and more trains meant the need for more cabooses on mainline, branch, local, and maintenance-of-way trains. By late 1942, UP found that it did not have sufficient cabooses to cover its needs. Even the arrival of 100 new Class CA-3 all-steel cabooses did not solve the problem of too few cabooses.
To alleviate this shortage of cabooses, during late 1943 Union Pacific's Denver shops "converted" steel underframe wooden box cars and automobile cars by adding side doors and windows, and end platforms. The Denver shops converted 35 temporary cabooses in the 04500 and 04800-series numbers from the 70000, 71000, and 72000-series steel underframe box cars originally built in 1906 and 1907. The conversions were all accomplished during September and October 1943. With the arrival of 100 new CA-4 steel cabooses in 1944, these 35 cars were assigned to maintenance-of-way service as Boarding, and Boarding-Cook cars. Most were already retired by the 1959 renumbering that put all maintenance-of-way equipment in the 900000-series. The cars that remained were renumbered between to numbers between 904512 and 904849.
In 1947 and 1951-52, traffic levels again reached high levels and Union Pacific again, found that it didn't have sufficient cabooses for road service. During May through September 1947, 40 cars (UP 05700-05739) were converted from 175000-series steel underframe automobile cars, including the addition of side windows, end doors, and end platforms. These automobile cars were originally built in November 1913 to January 1914.
During 1952, 30 additional cars (UP 05741-05770) were added to the temporary caboose fleet, converted in September to December 1952 from 150000-series steel underframe automobile box cars (originally built September to December 1922) and from 151000-series steel underframe automobile cars (originally built in July to November 1926.) This later conversion work was completed under Work Order 337, approved on May 24, 1951.
With the arrival of 100 new CA-5 steel cabooses in 1952, this later group of 71 temporary cabooses was re-assigned to maintenance-of-way service as Boarding-Bunk cars. In the 1959 renumbering that created the 900000-series, exclusively for maintenance-of-way equipment, these 70 temporary cabooses in the 05700-05770 series were renumbered to 905700-905770.
The following table shows UP's fleet of temporary cabooses:
|Car Numbers||Qty||Date Converted||Original Type||Dates Retired|
|UP 04512-04521||10||Sep 1943||Box Car||1948-1953|
|UP 04533-04542||10||Oct 1943||Box Car||1951-1954|
|UP 04835-04849||15||Sep 1943||Box Car||1949-1954|
|UP 05700-05739||40||May - Sep 1947||Automobile Car||1948-1950|
|UP 05741-05770||30||Sep - Dec 1952||Automobile Car|
|UP 06275-09918||11||1931, 1936, 1937, 1943||Box Car||1950-1954|
Union Pacific Temporary Cabooses (04512 Series) -- 10 cars
Converted in 1943 from B-50-2 class Box cars in the 70000-72849 number series, 40-foot, steel underframe cars built by Pressed, Steel Car Co., and Western Steel Car Co. in 1906-1908. Used as temporary cabooses until retired in early and mid 1950s.
|04512||Sep 1943||70804||May 1958|
|04514||Sep 1943||70326||May 1954|
|04515||Sep 1943||72585||Jan 1954|
|04518||Sep 1943||71050||May 1948||Wrecked at Wamsutter, Wyoming.|
|04519||Sep 1943||70155||Dec 1953|
|04520||Sep 1943||70996||Dec 1953|
Union Pacific Temporary Cabooses (04533 Series) -- 10 cars
|04533||Oct 1943||72049||Mar 1954|
|04534||Oct 1943||72061||Sep 1953|
|04535||Oct 1943||71048||Oct 1953|
|04537||Oct 1943||71284||Apr 1954|
|04538||Oct 1943||72417||Nov 1953|
|04539||Oct 1943||70541||Sep 1951|
|04540||Sep 1943||71406||Jul 1954|
|04541||Oct 1943||70924||Jul 1953|
|04542||Oct 1943||72381||Mar 1952|
Union Pacific Temporary Cabooses (04835 Series) -- 15 cars
|04835||Sep 1943||71007||Nov 1953|
|04836||Sep 1943||72576||Dec 1953|
|04838||Sep 1943||71917||Sep 1954|
|04841||Sep 1943||70358||Mar 1950||Burned on 23 December 1949 at Los Angeles, California.|
|04842||Sep 1943||71264||Apr 1949|
|04844||Sep 1943||71608||Aug 1951|
|04845||Sep 1943||71488||Sep 1945|
|04846||Sep 1943||70491||Oct 1953|
|04847||Sep 1943||72633||May 1952|
|04848||Sep 1943||71569||Feb 1954|
|04849||Oct 1943||70063||Jun 1952|
Union Pacific Temporary Caboose (with end platforms) (05700 Series) -- 40 cars
Converted in 1947 from A-40-1 class Automobile cars in the 175000-175399 number series, 50-foot, steel underframe cars built by Standard, Steel Car Co. in 1913. Used as temporary cabooses, then assigned to maintenance-of-way service as Boarding Bunk cars. Renumbered to 905700-905739 in 1959.
|05721||Jun 1947||175238||Apr 1948|
|05729||Sep 1947||175248||Oct 1950|
|05734||Sep 1947||175119||Apr 1948|
|05735||Sep 1947||175390||Apr 1948|
Union Pacific Temporary Cabooses (with end platforms) (05741 Series) -- 30 cars
Converted in 1952 from A-50-6 class Automobile cars in the 150001-151000 number series, 50-foot, steel underframe cars built by Pullman, Car Co. in 1922. Used as temporary cabooses, then assigned to maintenance-of-way service as Boarding Bunk cars. Renumbered to 905741-905770 in 1959.
Union Pacific Temporary Cabooses (Miscellaneous Series) -- 11 cars
Converted from DC&H (Dining Car & Hotel) service and Outfit service office cars. These office cars had been converted in 1931, 1936, and 1937 from B-50-4 class cars in the 72877-73326 number series, and from other B-50 class cars in the 74400 and 74500 number series. All were 40-foot, steel underframe cars built in 1906, 1907, and 1909. Used as temporary cabooses, until retired in early and mid 1950s.
Photographic evidence shows car 09878 being used as a caboose in Roadway work train service; no other information available.