I thought about building a caboose restoration plant/yard where my railroad would repair and build cabooses for other roads on a commercial basis, but built too many other space-eaters. (don't know if such existed). This to justify having a variety of cabeese on the "property". Thwarted at that, l idly wonder if railroads had caboose marshaling yards, or only operated with yard caboose tracks (each yard) and "caboose hops" to supply them. That makes me wonder if any Class 1 ever had to send out a cabooseless freight as no caboose was available? Or did rules forbid that?
Any railroad I worked for had caboose servicing tracks in each yard. Light repairs were done on the RIP track and heavy repairs were shipped to a designated heavy repair point. Caboose hops were used frequently and it was also not uncommon to see more than a couple cabooses on a train. During the daylight hours we would send a local or yard cut out with a red flag in the knuckle if no caboose was available.
I agree, a designated caboose track was all that was necessary. It was usually a track with lighting and clear access on one side, as well as enough room for servicing supplies (ice, water, coal, brasses, journal oil, fusees, etc.) and repairs. Most railroads assigned a caboose to a job, or to a freight pool number, or to the Conductor, depending on that road's agreement, and there was a lot of switching required to get a particular caboose onto the assigned train. Pooling of cabooses started to prevail around 1965, and then the first-out caboose in the track was used.
Cabooses were rarely seen on the rip track.