UP caboose reinstated (sort-of)
Author: Steven D. Johnson
Date: 03-03-2008 - 21:38
In the immediate future UP will make available a freshly-painted caboose for its so-called Madera Local, which runs from Fresno, Calif. to Atwater Calif. and returns same day. This local was most recently advertised as a daylight job, but I do not know what the rest day(s) are.
The caboose can currently be seen at the RIP track east of the old PFE building in the ex-Southern Pacific Fresno yard.
The caboose is of the extended ends (the ones that look like they have a 'porch' at either end) and of bay-window styling. I failed to get the number of the car, so your guess as to whether it was a UP car or an MP car would be left unanswered by me.Perhaps most significant is the fact that a locomotive air horn, bell and end-of-roof ditch lights have been installed. A new alternator was seen installed, critical for ditch lights and marker. Discussing this set-up with an employe (who requested anonymity) indicated that an auxiallary air reservoir was not required for the pneumatic operation of both bell and horn due to a choke being installed between the apparatus and the brake pipe. Mechanical-type railfans will recall that a 7 to 9 PSI reduction of brake pipe pressure would result in a Minimum Application of the air brakes. Albeit not a large consumption of air, it is also remembered that such appliances on a locomotive are supplied from the Main Reservoir and not the Brake Pipe.
The apparent cause for this caboose to be reinstated was due to long shove movements and numerous crossings that this job normally encounters. Following the same guidelines BNSF adopted, the crews will be locked out of the caboose and horn/light controls are installed at either end of the waycar, qualifying it as a 'shove car' and not a caboose. This distinction is important when considering FRA window glazing, toilets, seats and other human-required features, as well as contract considerations such as caboose pay, or other related arbitrary claims. Look for this caboose alongside State Highway 99 sometime this month. Get your pictures soon, as they did a really clean paint job, complete with 'highlighted' wheel rims and ScotchLite lettering. Get your pix now before it gets all tagged up!