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  • Southern Railway Steel Bay-Window Caboose

    J.C. Paschal

    Page 32: Photo by the author. X661 was rebuilt in October, 1969, at Eatonton, GA. Photo by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 32 Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 33

    In the early 1940s, the Southern Railway began replacing its center cupola wood cabooses with a steel bay window variety. Caboose No. 2882, one of the early units, was built in 1941 and featured in the 1946 Car Builders Cyclopedia.

    The original paint scheme was red, the roof and underbody were black, and the lettering and herald were yellow as were the steps, grab irons, and handrails.

    Through the years, many changes were made. The most obvious being the change in lettering. In the early 1960s, the large white block letters were introduced on a Box Car Red caboose. The steps and handrails, though, remained yellow. In the late 1960s, the car color was changed back to bright Red. A few cabooses had the bay painted yellow.

    Design changes were made to new caboose and were usually applied to older cabooses when they were shopped. The original brake wheel was horizontal. Beginning in the late 1940s, however, a vertically mounted wheel was used supported by two pieces of angle iron between the end sill and roof. Radio equipment added in the mid 1950s required a vent on one side for the battery compartment. The marker lamps were replaced by a reflectorized disc on each end of the car (the drawing shows the marker lamps -- incorrect for the later period). One side of the disc was red and the other yellow. The red side was turned to face the rear of the train.

    SOUTHERN RAILWAY: Steel bay window caboose; built 194; weight 47,300 lbs.; Scale 1:48
    Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 34 Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 35

    Page 36: X398 in Eatonton, GA. Photo by the author.

    Page 37: X2882 in Walled Lake, MI, in 1974. Both photos by the author.
    Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 36 Prototype Modeler - December 1978 - Page 37

    Some of the windows were covered, usually those closest to the bay. Beginning in the early 1970s, new cabooses were built without these windows. The original cabooses had two portholes. The right hand porthole was eventually covered by a square piece of steel and they were both eliminated from the newest designs.

    The roof of the original series of cabooses had a rounded corner as shown in the photo and drawing of No. X2882. These roofs were originally painted black, but changed to the car color in the late 1960s. The new cabooses built after World War II had the box car type roof as shown on X661.

    The original design numbers probably began with X2879. The last wood caboose was 2878 and went upward past 2924. Number X3173, built in 1947, had the box car type roof. In the late 1960s, a renumbering program was started. The photos of X2882 were taken in late 1974. It had been retired before it could be renumbered.

    Southern's subsidiaries used cabooses of these designs. The Georgia and Florida; the Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia; and the Carolina and Northwestern used the Southern paint scheme and lettering style. The Lancaster and Chester used these cabooses in light blue with a two-tone blue herald.

    Article Details

    • Original Author J.C. Paschal
    • Source Prototype Modeler
    • Publication Date December 1978

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3 comments
  • Jonathan Grant
    Jonathan Grant I'm just about to start an HO project to make one of these. thanks for posting
    December 28, 2011
  • Jerry LaBoda
    Jerry LaBoda A "How-to" clinic by Bob Harpe about modeling one of these unique cabooses can be found at the Southern Modeler website. You will need to copy and paste the url...
    more
    December 28, 2011 - 1 likes this
  • Conrail Southern
    Conrail Southern i have one of these cabosse just gotta put it togather lol its a athearn bb kit
    January 1, 2012 - 1 likes this