the caboose that never was

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Re: a second Caboose that Might Have Been.

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
(See John Greenly's long post at the bottom of Page 1 of this thread, or this won't make any sense!)

John,

Welcome to the world of studying first decade C&S caboose photos!

In fact, a simple comparison with the 9 ft wheelbase in M  gives that the wheelbase in BH of caboose 313 is about 6' 4"!  

Instead of 6' 4", would you accept 6' 3"?


From C&S Freight Car Folio 27, posted in the files section.


The caboose renumbering program was devised in about 1911, the cars actually being renumbered between January and June of 1912.

The Folio drawing of caboose 304 / 1003 is confusing in that the drawing shows a caboose that hasn't been rebuilt, with a 1911 number, even though the car itself was probably rebuilt with a modern cupola / window arrangement and modern under frame sometime in 1908-1910.



April 26, 1912, near Waterton. Ronfor collection, in Grandt's Narrow Gauge Pictorial VI, page 96.


This firmly dated photo is at odds to the folio drawing, as the 1003, within a couple of months of being re-numbered, shows it has already been rebuilt to the modern configuration and has a modern undercarriage.

So the Folio drawings do not reflect the actual appearance of the car at a particular point in time. All it tells us is that sometime in its past, it was already a long body (14' 10"), short wheel base ( 6' 3") car.  Derrell Poole has speculated in his "Caboose Chronology" that 1003 (formerly 304, formerly DL&G 1505) may have been originally DSP&P 65, one of the first group of way cars (62-67) constructed by the South Park, in 1880-1881. Perhaps all of the first order of six cars had short wheelbase under frames.

The only other surviving folio 27 drawing of an un-rebuilt caboose is that of 1006, previously 308:




The 308 / 1006 was not given a new longer body in the rebuild (remained 12' 11"), but appears to have an original under frame with the familiar 9-foot wheel base. This car was in the second order of South Park way cars of 1882, DSP&P numbers 68-73.

So, what to make of the Blackhawk photo of 313, later 1010?  

As we discussed, it was supposedly built in 1884 in the last order of way cars (79-82), likely built by the UP, and originally numbered DSP&P 80.  You'd think it would have had the standard 9-foot wheel base, both before and after rebuilding. So why does it have a weird, short wheel base under frame, like the earliest cars? Was this an odd rebuilding variation, from wreck damage perhaps?

And if originally built with quarter round corners, why does it have square corners now? This one photo has always disturbed me, because it seems an unexplained anomaly, a fly in the oatmeal of logical evolution of South Park / C&S cabooses.

I guess one other possibility is that another, earlier car from either the South Park or the Utah Northern, was used to replace a wrecked number 80, sometime between 1885 and the late 1890s. But there is no record of such a replacement event that I know of.

Hmm, perhaps the caboose that never was should be numbered 1011 instead of 1010. There are no known photos of 314 / 1011--in ignorance there is license!
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: a second Caboose that Might Have Been.

John Greenly
This post was updated on .
Jim,

wow, thanks!!  Maybe I'm not losing my mind after all.  Sure, I'll certainly accept 6' 3" instead of 6' 4"!!  I can't believe that I never noticed the short wheelbase 304/1003 in the folios, I've looked through those lots of times but never paid attention to that car, I guess.  I've never come across any discussions of short wheelbases.   I'm sure Derrell Poole's set of articles in Outdoor Railroader doesn't mention this, or I missed it somehow.  I'm pretty sure all his drawings of the DSP&P cars show 9' wheelbases.  

I did notice the lack of round corners on 313 at Blackhawk, forgot to mention it in my post.  Because of that, as much as because of the short wheelbase, I like your suggestion that  maybe the original #80 was wrecked and replaced with another car.  Do I remember that 80 disappeared from the inventory for some time and then reappeared?  Have to look that up, I think in Derrell's articles.

Now I'm leaning toward your suggestion to give up on 313/1010 as hopelessly weird and mysterious,  and number both of my cabooses 1011! (I actually chose 1010 in the first place only because I liked the looks of the number better- as usual, blundering into something complicated!).

In the third of Derrell's articles is a photo of a hypothetical model he built of 314  as it might have been just before renumbering to 1011.  He built it with modern undercarriage and no cupola, but he put on a roof walk and straight ladders, though he pointed out that there was, as of his writing in 1995, no known evidence of this ever having been done on a caboose without a cupola.  His rationale was that C&S might have  done this to satisfy the safety requirements. But my understanding is that the drop-dead date on meeting those wasn't until 1916 or 1917 (depending on who you read) and this very possibly explains why 1011 was scrapped in Jan. 1917 if it was never brought up to the standards. So I think my new model has a good rationale for being the actual 1011 at the end of its life, and my first model remains, also as 1011, the Caboose that Never Was.  Now I have to find some more "1"s in my decal sets....

Cheers,
John
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Re: a second Caboose that Might Have Been.

John Greenly
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
One further question, Jim.

Is this, then, the only known photo of a caboose showing the short wheelbase undercarriage, or are there others?

thanks again,
John
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
Is this, then, the only known photo of a caboose showing the short wheelbase undercarriage, or are there others?

Probably not.

After the "Caboose 1008 Restoration" clinic at the Denver NNGC, I spent about an hour with the Farmer Brothers and Randy Hees chatting about caboose and freight car colors and looking at caboose photos on my tablet.

I started noticing some things, that I hadn't before.

Consider this enlargement from the late 1890s Como photo that Todd Hacket posted:




Three DL&G cabooses all in yellow (at least light color). Two with flat roofs, the one in the center with center cupola. Using an architects rule, the three cars all seem to have the same body length. Only the flat roof car on the left has the under frame visible. Assuming the caboose body is about 14', the wheel base to me seems to be about 6' 3".  So this might be another of the earlier cars.

Then, there is this c1900-1901 photo of a C&S freight in the siding at Braddocks, waiting to meet a pasenger train:


In Digerness, The Mineral Belt Volume II


No discernible number is visible. Can't tell for sure, but the wheel sets on the under frame seem to be inset quite a bit from the platform steps, like it has a short wheel base relative to the body. Perhaps you can perform your perspective magic on the photo and estimate the wheel base.

Then there is this photo that Doug Heitkamp posted a couple of years ago, of an unknown, perhaps Utah Northern caboose:




The under frame obviously has a pretty short wheel base, though we really don't know the origins of the car. It sure has obvious similarities to the South Park flat roofed cars.

I've wondered lately, whether Derrell and all of us have gotten it wrong all along--maybe all the South Park / DL&G cabooses had short wheel bases before they were rebuilt in 1908-1912. The 9' wheel base may be a modern rebuild convention and we may have assigned the same wheel base to the original cars in error.

On the other hand, there is the 1006 folio drawing, which indicates a 9' wheel base before rebuilding.

And there is this famous photo of C&S 306, newly re-lettered c1900-1901:


Grandt's Narrow Gauge Pictorial VIII.


The wheel base of the under frame matches the later cars, but has UP style journal lids and the original oddly sprung undercarraige.  It is consistent with the Folio 27 drawings of numbers 1005 and 1008:




The drawing shows the cars with center cupola, but modern ladders.  Does the folio reflect the original or rebuilt cars with end cupola, the image not having been updated??  The wheel base is list as 9' 1". So what gives with this? Is this the pre-1908 wheel base or a variation of the modern rebuilt under frame wheel base.

And we don't even know for sure the origins of this car. Due to their differences from the other South Park cars, some have speculated that 1002, 1005 and 1008 were ex-UN cars that arrived as refugees from Utah in the 1890s, because they were all similar, with center cupolas, quarter-round corners and square side windows.

But it is also possible that one or more or all were actually South Park cars, originally flat roofed, that were upgraded with cupolas sometime in the 1890's. Consider the car with the center cupola in the first (Como) photo above. It has paired double pane windows, like the other South Park flat roofed cars, not square windows like on 1002, 1005 and 1008.

I've found it a whole lot easier to model the early C&S if you don't know too much about it and don't think too much about it!
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

John Greenly
Jim,
I'm sure you're right about the leftmost of the three cabooses in the Como photo, that wheelbase is definitely consistent with 6' 3".  And I notice also that there is a substantial longitudinal beam below the car body that carries the undercarriage.  I think we can see something similar in the Blackhawk 313 image.  

The car at Braddocks sure does look like a short wheelbase too.  I don't have enough information to really calculate it.  I think this car might be a longer bodied one, possibly around 15' based on the proportion of window widths to body length.  If I could assume that length and also have the correct car width, or height, I could calculate the perspective angle and then figure the wheelbase.  

I don't think Doug H.'s mystery caboose has a short wheelbase.  From this nice side-on view, a direct proportion gives that if the wheelbase is 9', the body length is 15' 2" or so,  whereas if the wheelbase is 6' 3" the body length is only about 10' 8", certainly not right.   Scaling with a body length of about 15' also gives a reasonable, approximately 27" height for the end handrails.
 
By the way, the proportions of the folio drawing of 304/1003 do not at all match the written dimensions, the car is drawn too short compared with the wheelbase.  In fact the proportions of the drawing are correct for a body length of 12"11" with the stated 6' 3"  wheelbase.  So, yes, this drawing is probably of another car entirely, with the 304 dimensions written on, as is common with these folios.

Yup, knowing too much, but also not enough, is I suppose the bane of early C&S  modelers.  Jim, I applaud your brave and excellent model of 302/1002.  These meandering, but highly instructive and enjoyable, attempts of mine at making configurations that could have been are certainly helping to liberate me from the impossible task of building only and precisely what WAS.  And I actually really like the stories of mistakes and uncertainty that my cabooses tell.

Cheers,
John
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
 . . . helping to liberate me from the impossible task of building only and precisely what WAS.

That is the rub isn't it, no one knows "precisely what WAS."

These last several posts of yours and mine are causing me to have an unwanted epiphany!

I've always assumed that the original South Park cabooses, before the 1908 rebuilding program, had strange under carriages (with the odd, centrally sprung and equalized running gear), but none-the-less had a wheel base of 9 feet. Out of curiosity I googled "DSP&P caboose" and clicked on the "images" tab.  Every set of drawings, every scratch built model and every commercial offering for the cabooses in the original configuration appear to have a long, 9 foot wheel base.

But did they really?? What if everyone just assumed the original wheel base was the same as the modern 9' wheel base and everything we thought we knew was wrong.

The Folio 27 drawing indicates that at least one of the first batch of cars built for the South Park, before the UP took control, had a wheel base of 6' 3" (DSP&P numbers 62-67 of 1880-1881). These would be the cars that show up in early photos as painted a dark color, possibly red or brown.

You've convinced me that the Blackhawk caboose, 313, still had a short 6' 3" wheel base as late as 1907, just before the rebuilding program began. This car was of the last batch built, 79-82, built in 1884, probably built in Omaha by the UP.

If cars from the first and last batches of South Park cabooses had short wheel base undercarriages, why would we think that the cars in the 2nd and 3rd batches (68-73, built 1882 and 74-78, built 1883) would be any different?

Consider:

http://cdm16079.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll21/id/7141/rec/118



An 1884 view of a short South Park freight crossing Keith's trestle on the Highline, approaching Leadville. Caboose number is not legible but the solid end steps suggest it is of the 2nd or 3rd batch. There sure seems to be a large gap between the rear wheel and the rear step. Is this a short wheel base car??



http://cdm16079.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll21/id/9869/rec/167



An 1884 freight descending the west side of Alpine Pass near Woodstock. A caboose numbered in the 7x series is hiding in the trees. Again there is a big gap between the rear wheel and end step. Another short wheel base caboose, of the 2nd or 3rd batch??



http://cdm16079.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll21/id/12601/rec/156



An 1886 view of the Jackson photography special in Platte Canon, with a great view of DSP&P 72 (second batch). Jeff Young's river willows obscure the under frame.  I cannot see any hint of a rear wheel set ahead of the far rear caboose step. Another short wheel base car??




Ed and Nancy Bathke Collection in Schoppe and Mather, Summit County's Narrow-Gauge Railroads, page 30.


A South Park or DL&G caboose on the rear of a work train, retrieving the derailed rotary on Boreas Pass, near Baker Tank. c1890-1895. Again, the visible rear axle seems set pretty far forward of the rear caboose steps.  Another short wheel base car??



The only photo of a South Park caboose with original under frame and an obvious long (near 9 foot) wheel base, is the photo of 306 (later 1005) posted above. This perfect right angle view was probably used by draftsmen (like Derrell) to obtain proportions for the original under frames in all of the published plans. This car would fit in the original sequence as South Park number 69, a second batch car. But it may well have been an 1890's rebuild or new build replacement for a wrecked or otherwise vacated early car. Perhaps that was when the center cupola and quarter round corners came from.

Having re-read all of Derrell's "Eight Wheel Caboose . . ." thread, Derrell make a good case that none of the surviving modern cabooses where cars from foreign roads, all were originally built for the South Park, though there may have been a lot of re-building vs new-building in the 1890s.

Then there is the Folio 27 drawing of 1006, originally South Park 73, last car in the second batch. It is shown as a 9 foot wheel base car prior to rebuild.  But was it originally?? Was this another 1890's rebuild of the under frame?  Were there others?


I would hope that others would opine and/or share any pre-1908 caboose photos that you might have.  Chris, do you have a good copy of the 1886 Jackson photo of the Mason Bogie 42 and caboose 72 stopped at Webster??

And what say you, Ron Rudnick?
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses with Ball Markers.

Chris Walker
That reminds me Jim,
did Keith ever get around to adding those extra Stringers on his Indiana Gulch trestle?

and just what is with these odd Ball Markers, I don't know how many times I've looked at that picture and never noticed such ?

http://cdm16079.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll21/id/7141/rec/118

UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

John Greenly
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Jim,

Well done, now we have lots to look at.  On first look I would agree that none of these photos would be inconsistent with short wheelbases of the order of our 6' 3".  (the last photo is too nearly end-on to tell anything about, I think)

This brings up another question.  The best photo for details we have so far of a short wheelbase undercarriage is the 313 at Blackhawk, and that one is I think definitely not like the spidery equalized suspensions seen in the photos of Doug's mystery car and 306.   Were all the other cabooses not only short wheelbase, but also not configured like 306, but in fact like the lamentably murky structure under 313?   I sure wish we could get access to the negative of that photo, if it still exists, and make a print optimized for the shadow detail.  It's attributed to the Philip Ronfor collection in NG Pict VIII.  Does anybody here know about that collection?

This is quite fascinating.

John
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Chris Walker
Jim,

#42 at Webster in the WH Jackson picture doesn't have much detail due to shadows.


WH Jackson photo
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Keith Hayes
In reply to this post by John Greenly
Question: was the shorter wheelbase tipsy? Were the cars apt to derail? Did the longer wheelbase result in a more stable car with a better ride?
(and no, Chris, I have not added the blasted stringer)
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Chris Walker
Keith,

having short wheelbase cars on my Tram, I can say they will upend if weight is on all one end unlike the longer wheelbase cars do.  Translated to "Railroads" the tendency to pitch could lift the leading Flanges high enough to climb the railhead on curves.  The same problems show up at speed with short-framed double trucked cars as well.
They didn't nickname them Bobbers for any other reason.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Doug Heitkamp
In reply to this post by Keith Hayes
Every wonder how C&S 1008 wound up in Southern Calif? It wasn't the only one. Ex-So. Park Way Car on the Pacific Electric...















Just kidding!
Doug Heitkamp
Centennial, CO
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
But it is a short wheel base car, to my eye, Doug!
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses with Ball Markers.

Jim Courtney
In reply to this post by Chris Walker
. . . and just what is with these odd Ball Markers, I don't know how many times I've looked at that picture and never noticed such ?

Weird aren't they Chris -- sorta look like the float balls in the back of a toilet.

And check out the rear marker flags on the caboose at the Baker Tank rotary wreck.  Instead of the flag staff being inserted into the corner marker bracket, a flag-holder is inserted into the marker bracket, which in turn holds the flag staffs.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: More C&S caboose under frame weirdness.

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by John Greenly
Take a look at the Folio 27 sheet for caboose 1003 / old 304 that I posted at the top of this page.

The folio has a basic caboose diagram, not to be taken as scale or even proportionate. As Derrell Poole has pointed out, what is important in folio drawings is the dimensions and written data, not the image.

Although the caboose is drawn as a 4-wheel car, the data at the bottom lists: "Trucks: Swing Beam" and "Bolsters: Wood". The car was listed as having Washburn couplers and Westinghouse air brakes.

The car was listed as one of the "long body cabooses" with outside body length of 14' 10". Car 1002 / old 302 (for which there is no surviving Folio sheet) was also a long body caboose with outside length of 14' 6" according to the 1903 caboose roster. There is good evidence from the mid-teens photo at Idaho Springs, that the 1002 was an eight wheel caboose, riding on 20 ton Peninsular style trucks. http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Derrell-s-Eight-wheel-Caboose-Hiding-in-Plain-Sight-td3634.html

Should we ignore the diagram and take what is written about 1003 at face value? Was it a second "eight wheel caboose" on the C&S? If indeed the car rode on "swing beam trucks" prior to rebuilding, then the 6' 3" is not the wheel base, but the distance between the bolster centers. If 14' 6" long number 1002 could accommodate 4 wheel trucks, then 14' 10" 1003 could as well.

How to explain the conflicting information on the Folio for 1003?  Perhaps the car was originally a 4 wheel bobber, built in 1880, with a short wheel base of 6' 3". Sometime in the 1890's the car may have been rebuilt to ride on narrow gauge freight trucks. The image of the 4 wheel under frame was not redrawn, but the new data of trucks and bolsters was annotated at the bottom under the specs. There is no indication of a cupola added, as on 1005 / 1008. Perhaps this "eight wheel caboose" never had a cupola until the modern rebuild around 1909-1910. Certainly the photo indicates that by April, 1912, caboose 1003 was back on 4 wheels with the modern 9' wheel base undercarriage and had the modern cupola placement.

Is the folio recording of trucks and bolsters definitive proof, for some period between say 1895 and 1910, that 1003 was a long body, flat roof car riding on 20-ton trucks?

No, of course not. But then again, consider the Folio 27 drawing of 1006 / old 308: It, too, is drawn as a 4-wheel car with longer wheel base of 9' 0".  In the data recorded at bottom, "Trucks: None", "Bolsters: None".  If the folio for 1006 makes clear that it has no trucks or bolsters, what are we to make of the specific entries for number 1003, listing trucks and bolsters?? Can we dismiss those notes??

Talk about your C&S caboose that never was (maybe was?). Perhaps there were two eight wheel cabooses on the C&S in the first decade. And then again what about 1000 and 1009, also long body cars -- four wheels or eight?

Thoughts??
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Short wheel base South Park / C&S cabooses.

John Greenly
In reply to this post by Chris Walker
Chris Walker wrote
Jim,

#42 at Webster in the WH Jackson picture doesn't have much detail due to shadows.


WH Jackson photo
Chris, thanks for posting this photo.  The shadow does not help, for sure, and also I think there is something lying on the ground between the standing man and the caboose that hides the area of the near-side righthand wheel.  But I can see the car body well enough to establish the angle of the viewpoint. Knowing that, I can use two features in the shadows.  First, I see where the dark shape of the lefthand far-side wheel appears with respect to the center of the car end.  That wheel position is consistent with the short wheelbase, and inconsistent with 9 ft wheelbase.  Second, I cannot see the righthand far-side wheel. Viewing from this angle that has to mean that it is hidden behind the lefthand near-side wheel.  That is also consistent with the short wheelbase and not with the long one.  I believe this is very likely a short-wheelbase car.

thanks,
John
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Re: More C&S caboose under frame weirdness.

John Greenly
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
With respect to the folio sheet for 1003  I ask myself, why should I disbelieve the written information about trucks and bolsters?  Hard to believe that it was just written on the sheet in error.  With the diagram right there contradicting the information, I can't believe that it was written there inadvertently.  It's either purposeful misinformation, or fact.  And what possible motivation would there be for intentional misinformation?

Seems quite reasonable that the long-bodied cars could have been so bad at staying on the rails with the 4-wheel short-wheelbase undercarriage that they were put on trucks sometime early in their lives.

my two cents worth,
John
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Re: More C&S caboose under frame weirdness.

Chris Walker
This has turned out really imteresting.....here all this time I was thinking this car had the tow-rope holding back the brake beam, however it is actually that the brake beam is on the Flat, the tow-rope being 'round the single "truck".  I really should look more at rolling stock eh!

http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/76301/rv/singleitem/rec/17



UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: More C&S caboose under frame weirdness.

John Greenly
This post was updated on .
Chris,

yes!  This one has always completely mystified me, but yes, the brake beam's on the flat and the caboose wheels, with the short wheelbase, are tucked in out of sight!

By the way, I love those outrageous false fronts on the buildings.  What a great "Wild West" scene.

thanks!
John
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Re: a second Caboose that Might Have Been.

John Greenly
In reply to this post by John Greenly
OK,

here's what  I was remembering about caboose DSP&P 80/ DL&G 1518/  C&S 313/1010.  In Derrell's second caboose article (November 1995 Outdoor Railroader),  He states that 1518 was not on the the DL&G inventory of Aug. 1894, but that it "reappeared" five months later, when Utah & Northern 1601 arrived.  He says, further, that "It is unknown where 1518 was but it may have been on loan or simply an inventory oversight. On the other hand, it does appear 1601 replaced a vacated road number after April, 1896. In fact, there was a precedent for filling vacated numbers with the purchase of used equipment."

Maybe indeed it is possible within the bounds of known information that 313 in Blackhawk in 1910 was not the original DSP&P 80, but another car that took the number after 1518 was wrecked or otherwise disposed of.  

In any case, I really can't justify the original 80 having had its rounded corners replaced with square ones for the photo in 1910 in Blackhawk, and then later re-replaced with rounded ones to become my 1010 Caboose that Never Was.  So I'm definitely giving up on 1010.  

Under this level of scrutiny, how long will 1011 remain a viable option?  Wait for the next installment….

Cheers,
John
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