D&RGW Wooden Cabooses

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This page was last updated on July 29, 2023.

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D&RGW Wood Caboose Notes

(This narrative covers *only* the standard gauge cabooses.)

The cabooses of D&RGW and WP were very similar, but not identical. Haskell & Barker built cars for both roads in 1909 (D&RG 0950-0959) and 1910 (WP 20007-20056, renumbered to WP 731-779). The WP cars had steel center sills and truss rods, but no photos of D&RG cars or a diagram sheet has been examined, so it is difficult to be sure that they were identical. The Rio Grande design was then modified and all of their subsequent cars had a substantial steel underframe, both those ordered from Haskell & Barker and those built in their own shops. The WP built several groups of steel underframe cars following the original design, but they also had truss rods, thus a major difference that is readily visible.

As of January 31, 1950, there were eight all-wood truss-rod cabooses, including three converted boxcar cabooses, and 81 wood cabooses with steel underframes from various series. Of the cabooses with wooden bodies and steel underframes, there were 21 cars in the 01140-01189 series, and 17 listed in the 01120-01139 group. (There were 59 all-steel cabooses in the 01400-series in service.)

Also in January 1950, there were 12 former Denver & Salt Lake wooden cabooses, and four all-steel in the 01390-01393 group.

By January 1955 there were only two all-wood truss-rod cabooses, one of which was a converted boxcar (014294), along with 53 wood cabooses with steel underframes. There were only five former D&SL cabooses: two of wooden construction and three being all-steel. (There were 69 steel cabooses in the 01400 series.)

In January 1960 there were 11 wood cabooses with steel underframes and 89 all steel cars in the 01400 series, and only the three all-steel former D&SL cabooses. The nine wooden D&RGW cabooses still in service in 1960 were D&RGW 01124, 01138, 01157, 01166, 01167, 01173, 01182, 01189, 01191. The other two wooden cabooses were out of service but not yet retired.

In 1962 only five wooden cabooses with steel underframes were still in service: D&RGW 01157, 01166, 01167, 01173, and 01189.

D&RGW 01189 remained in service until 1966. D&RGW 01167 remained in service until 1968, and was the last of the original fleet of 80 similar cars in the 01120-01199 series.

Rooftop Ladders

D&RGW cabooses had rooftop ladders that were either angled slightly toward the cupola at the top, or made a large radius curve to run straight down toward the running boards. (The ladders on the WP cars curved tightly at the top, then ran down at a 45 degree angle to meet the running boards.)

Lateral Running Boards

D&RGW cabooses 01120-01199 were built and delivered with lateral running boards in the front and rear of the cupola.

Most cabooses in the 01120-01199 class retained the lateral running boards. Five are known to have had the lateral running boards removed: 01166 (by May 1960), 01167 (by May 1960), 01189, 01191 (by May 1961).

Four-Pane Cupola Windows

All wooden cabooses were delivered with four-pane windows in their cupolas. All the cabooses with missing lateral running boards still retained the four-pane side windows on the cupola. D&RGW 01167 still had its four-pane cupola windows in May 1960, but the windows had been changed to the later single-pane style by 1965.

Early D&RG Cabooses (1885-1907)

The earliest record of D&RG standard gauge cabooses was the September 1885 Railway Equipment and Mileage Guide, which lists four standard gauge cabooses numbered 150-153. No dimensions are given.

Another early record is from the February 1888 Official Railway Equipment Guide, which lists two cars in the 0800-0999 series. Presumably these would be either two renumbered 1885 cars, or the first two cars built by Peninsular Car in 1888, but was most likely two of the earlier 150-series car renumbered. No dimensions are shown.

The January 1889 Official Railway Equipment Guide lists 27 cabooses in the 0800-0899 series. These would be the first 25 cars delivered from Peninsular Car Co., plus the two cars listed in 1888.

The March 1891 Official Railway Equipment Guide lists 50 cabooses in the 0800-0899 series, which would include the 1890 cars from Peninsular Car Co.

The 1891 D&RG Summary of Equipment lists 72 cabooses, which is three cars short for the series filling the entire 0800-0875 number group.

The 1899 D&RG annual summary shows 70 cars, with cabooses 0802 being destroyed. All cars are shown as having side doors.

The 1900 D&RG annual summary 65 cars in the 0800 to 0874 series, with nine cars having been rebuilt without side doors. The summary included a new group of 16 cabooses in 0875-0890 series.

The 1901 D&RG annual summary shows 74 cabooses in the 0800 to 0874 series, including 63 side door cars, plus 11 rebuilt without side doors (D&RG 0800, 0802, 0803, 0804, 0811, 0824, 0830, 0831, 0838, 0844, 0852), along with the 16 cabooses in the 0875-0890 series.

The 1902 D&RG annual summary shows 72 cabooses in the 0800-0874 series (61 side door cars, plus 11 rebuilt without side doors). The cars in the 0875-0890 series was reduced from 16 cars to 14 cars.

The 1903 D&RG annual summary shows 64 cars in the 0800-0874 series (53 un-rebuilt and 11 rebuilt). These were the cars built by Peninsular Car Co. The cars built by D&RG were listed as 0875-0888.

The summaries for 1904-1906 show the totals in the 0800-0888 series slowly being reduced due to wrecks and fires.

The 1907 D&RG annual summary added the 29 cars in the 0889-0917 series, and the 14 former RGW cabooses in the RGW 0237-0251 series.

The March 1907 Official Railway Equipment Register shows 94 D&RG cabooses in the 0800-0915 series, and 46 RGW cabooses in the 0201-0249 series.

By this period in 1907, D&RG owned the RGW and new freight car orders were being delivered with subblocks lettered for each company. Following the formal merger and consolidation in 1908, the RGW cars were renumbered first to RGW 0918-0931, and then later to D&RG 0918-0931.

D&RGW Wooden Caboose Number Series

D&RGW 0800-0888 (89 cars)

-- The number series extended to 0899 (as shown in the Official Railway Equipment Guides), but research suggests the numbers only reached into the 0870s, with a maximum quantity of 71 cars.

-- D&RG's first standard gauge cabooses

-- D&RG 0800-0811 (12 cars), built by Peninsular Car Co. in 1888

-- D&RG 0812-0825 (14 cars), built by Peninsular Car Co. in 1889

-- D&RG 0826-0846 (21 cars), built by Peninsular Car Co. in 1890

-- D&RG 0847-0874 (28 cars), built by Peninsular Car Co. in 1891

-- (Peninsular Car company merged with Michigan Car company in 1892, to form the Michigan-Peninsular Car Company, which in-turn became part of American Car & Foundry when it was formed in 1899.)

-- D&RG 0875-0880 (6 cars), built by D&RG in 1899 (possibly built earlier by Peninsular Car Co., and rebuilt by D&RG in 1899)

-- D&RG 0881-0888 (8 cars), built by D&RG in 1900 (possibly built earlier by Peninsular Car Co., and rebuilt by D&RG in 1900)

-- Generically known as 32-foot cars, many were later rebuilt as 30-foot cars, which included a taller cupola and removing the side door which all were originally delivered with.

-- Some cabooses built by Peninsular Car Co. were destroyed by wreck or fire, and the number was vacant until a replacement caboose with the same number was built by D&RG.

-- D&RGW 0818 and 0856 remained in service into the 1950s

-- D&RGW 0856 had steel channel end sills, steel draft pockets, bolsters and needle beams by February 1949, but not a steel reinforced underframe, meaning it still had truss rods.

January 4, 1889
"Fifteen new cabooses passed through here last Friday, for the Denver & Rio Grande railroad." (Council Grove Republican, Council Grove, Kansas, January 4, 1889)

January 4, 1889
"Twenty new cabooses went west one day last week for the Denver & Rio Grande." (The Weekly Guard, Council Grove, Kansas, January 4, 1889)

D&RGW 0889-0917 (29 cars)

-- D&RG cabooses 0889-0905 (17 cars) were built by D&RG at Burnham in July 1906.

-- D&RG cabooses 0906-0915 (10 cars) were built by D&RG at Burnham in October 1906.

-- D&RG cabooses 0916-0917 (2 cars) were built by D&RG at Burnham in March 1907.

-- Wood-body, wood underframe cars, with truss rods. Very similar to the narrow gauge cabooses.

-- D&RGW 0903 remained in service into the 1950s

D&RGW 0918-0931 (14 cars)

-- Eight-wheel cabooses

-- Former RGW cars; shown on the diagram sheet with the 0890-0915

D&RGW 0932-0933 (2 cars)

-- Former Denver & Salt Lake 10000-10002, built by Barney & Smith in 1904

D&RGW 0936-0938 (3 cars)

-- Former Denver & Salt Lake 10006-10008, built by Danville Car in 1909

D&RGW 0939-0945 (7 cars)

-- Former Denver & Salt Lake 10010-10021, built by Pullman in 1913

D&RGW 0950-0959 (10 cars)

-- Built by Haskell & Barker in 1909

-- These cabooses received reinforced steel underframes in late 1937 and early 1938, replacing their wood underframes with truss rods.

-- The last car in the series, D&RGW 0956, was retired in May 1959.

D&RGW 01100-01117 (18 cars)

-- Former RGW eight-wheel cars (RGW 0201-0222); all retired by 1928

-- (Read more about RGW cabooses)

D&RGW 01118-01131 (14 cars)

-- Former RGW four-wheel cars (RGW 0223-0236); all retired by 1928

-- (Read more about RGW cabooses)

D&RGW 01120-01139 (20 cars)

-- Built by D&RG at Burnham in 1928

D&RGW 01140-01189 (50 cars)

-- Built by Haskell & Barker in 1913

-- Number series started at 01140 because ex-RGW cars in the 01100-01131 series were still in service

-- Comparing D&RGW 01140-01189 with 01120-01139 (Burnham 1928) and 01190-01199 (Burnham 1927), the wood body side sheathing covered a small amount more of the steel channel side sills on the Haskell & Barker cars

D&RGW 01190-01199 (10 cars)

-- Built by D&RG at Burnham in 1927

D&RGW 01200-01214 (5 cars)

-- Drover coaches

D&RGW 01300-01303 (4 cars)

-- Drover Cabooses; composite wood and steel body drover cars, based on the 01100-series design

-- Built by D&RGW in 1937

-- Steel sheeting applied to lower part of the body below the side windows

-- Approved July 16, 1937; all in service by October 31, 1937

D&RGW 01320-01325 (6 cars)

-- Rebuilt in 1964 for transfer and switching service in the Denver and Pueblo areas; painted silver

-- Converted from M of W Tool Cars which had in-turn had been converted from former D&RGW 62000-63499 series double sheathed 36ft steel underframe boxcars

-- Configured as flat cars with a small enclosure on one end; all were out of service by November 1973

-- Ten-page article with photos and folio diagrams in RGM&HS The Prospector, Volume 8, Number 1, First Quarter 2009

D&RGW 01350-01359 (10 cars)

-- Composite wood and steel body regular cabooses, based on the 01100 design built by Rio Grande in 1937

-- Built by D&RGW in 1937

-- Steel sheeting applied to lower part of the body below the side windows

-- Approved on October 25, 1937; all in service by October 31, 1937

D&RGW 01390-01393 (4 cars)

-- Former D&SL steel cabooses

D&RGW 014166-014477 (16 cars)

-- Rebuilt from boxcars, some had side doors and cupolas

D&RGW 060101-061474 (5 cars)

-- Rebuilt from boxcars, some had side doors and cupolas

Folio Diagrams

Sheet 135 / Folio 8
01190 - 01199 & 01120 - 01139
1939 revision

Sheet 136 / Folio 8
01140 - 01189 & 0950 - 0959
1940 revision

Sheet 137 / Folio 8
01350 - 01359
1939 revision

Sheet 1939 / Folio 8
01300 - 01303 Drovers Caboose
1939 revision

There are no known drawings or folio sheets for the original 0800-0888 cabooses built by Peninsular Car Co. and rebuilt by the D&RG. The same applies for the D&RG-built cabooses in the 0889-0917 series.

Rio Grande Western

(Read more about the cabooses of Rio Grande Western, later known as the Utah Lines of D&RG)

Former Denver & Salt Lake Cabooses

D&RGW numbers of former D&SL steel cabooses:

D&RGW 01390 -- Built as D&SL 10063 in 1947; painted D&SL for only one day; 01390 is privately owned, but it is not on display.

D&RGW 01391 -- Built as D&SL 10060 in 1936; 01391 is privately owned and preserved as D&SL 10060 at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

D&RGW 01392 -- Built as D&SL 10061 in 1936, converted to weed sprayer X-301; sold to Steve Stewards ranch in Ignacio, Colorado; moved in January 2021 to Moffat Road Railroad Museum in Granby, Colorado; preserved as D&SL 10061.

D&RGW 01393 -- Built as D&SL 10062 in 1937

The following information comes from John Tudek, via email dated June 10, 2013:

After the 1947 merger of Denver & Salt Lake Railroad and Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad, the following former D&SL cabooses were assigned the following D&RGW numbers:

D&SL Wood/Steel Cabooses

10000 0932 retired 12-49
10002 0933 retired 11-50
10003 0934 retired 12-49
10004 0935 retired 06-50
10006 0936 retired 11-51
10007 0937 retired 05-51
10008 0938 retired 07-51
10010 0939 retired 05-51
10013 0940 retired 12-55
10014 0941 retired 04-56
10015 0942 retired 05-51
10018 0943 retired 05-51
10019 0944 retired 05-51
10021 0945 retired 05-51

Over half were retired from the roster in May 1951 under AFE 2249. According to records, the renumbering from D&SL to D&RGW (for the most part) occurred in May and June of 1948.

Thistle Caboose

The well-known wooden caboose near Thistle, Utah, was the former D&RGW 01120. This fact was confirmed by Steve Seguine of Orem, Utah, from photos of the area above the caboose's end door. D&RGW 01120 was retired in October 1925 while out of service at Scofield, Utah. It was sold in March 1926 to unknown persons. At sometime in 1959 or 1960 the caboose was sold to Bob Pace, a D&RGW locomotive engineer who also owned the U-Pace-O Ranch at Thistle, where the caboose sat for many years. Mr. Pace told Steve that he had moved the caboose to his Thistle ranch from Scofield sometime before 1960.

The caboose was swept away by the Thistle flood of April 1983, and was seen later by Steve Belmont. He reports that the caboose was laid on its side, with only about a foot of it visible above the mud.

Tooele Valley Railway Caboose

The Tooele Valley Railway caboose was a former D&RGW 01100-series caboose. It has a prominent steel underframe, D&RGW-style ladders, and a D&RGW-style sheet metal gate on the end platform. The side sheathing covers part of the side sills, so it is an H&B car. (information from Jim Eager)

Tooele Valley bought the former D&RGW caboose in 1957 for a purchase price of $796, plus another $378 in freight costs and the costs of preparing the car for service. It remained in service until the Tooele Valley shut down in August 1982. The caboose is displayed at the Tooele Railroad Museum in Tooele, Utah.


Denver & Rio Grande Western Caboose -- A short PDF article about D&RGW's wooden cabooses, featuring drawings of D&RGW 01125. Taken from the May 1985 issue of Mainline Modeler.


Sources include private email communications with interested persons, and a wide variety of internet searches, with a few searches of online newspapers. Information was also taken from the defunct D&RGW discussion group at Yahoo Groups, with Jim Eager and John Tudek furnishing significant parts of the story.