Images of various Artifacts of the Month's

February 2023

Artifact of the Month

Railway Training Caboose

At the rear of every freight train was the caboose, which served many practical purposes for the conductor and rear brakeman. It carried important emergency equipment, and typically outfitted with a kitchen and sleeping facilities for the train crew. Cabooses normally would not be seen on passenger trains.

Caboose lookouts, raised glass cupolas or side bay windows, were provided for the train crew to signal locomotives and following trains. They could also be used to provide a view of their own train operations. A caboose would normally have a cupola or bay windows, but not both.

This caboose was built by the 763rd Railway Battalion in the late 1950s and was originally used for training, which is why it has both the bay windows and the “Montana Rail Link” cupola, a taller cupola centered on the roof. The base is a 36-foot boxcar, and it contains one small room, one large room, and two bunk areas. It was used for training on Ft. Eustis until 1972.