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Cabooses started disappearing in great numbers with the passage of the Staggers Rail Act of 1980, which deregulated the rail industry, including the number of employees necessary to run a train over the road. Some cabooses held on as "shoving platforms" for use in reverse moves. For instance, I occasionally see UP bay window cabooses in that role in the industrial parks around O'Hare Airport in Chicago.

Last edited by jay jay

A few are still around, usually as John says, as 'shoving platforms'. I live a few miles from an oil refinery that is served by CPKC. It's kinda squeezed in between the Mississippi river on one side and Highway 61 and steep bluffs on the other, so there's apparently not enough room for a run-around track long enough to move the engine to the other end of the train. The refinery is only a couple miles from CPKC's St.Paul Yard near Pig's Eye lake, so they run south to the refinery with one of several old Soo Line cabooses they still have in the lead, with the engine(s) at the other end of the tank cars. Once they switch tank cars at the refinery, they can run "normally" back north to the yard (engine at the front, caboose at back).

Actually, most railroads continued to use them until the development of reliable end of train devices in the mid to late 1980's.  In some states, laws had to be changed, and on some railroads, labor agreements had to be modified.

Remember that one of the requirements of making an air brake test is to ascertain that the rear end brake pipe pressure has reached the required pressure.

Last edited by Number 90
@Number 90 posted:

Actually, most railroads continued to use them until the development of reliable end of train devices in the mid to late 1980's.  In some states, laws had to be changed, and on some railroads, labor agreements had to be modified.

Remember that one of the requirements of making an air brake test is to ascertain that the rear end brake pipe pressure has reached the required pressure.

To add to Tom's information, back in the 1970s when cab air conditioning was becoming available/popular, part of the on-going labor "issues" was how to effectively air condition a caboose. Obviously, that would have been cost prohibitive, so the "relocation the caboose crew to the cab of the locomotive" movement began.

Another factor was, as trains became longer and longer, the personnel in the caboose could no longer be expected to visually inspect the condition of their train. With the ever increasing installations of wayside defect detectors and electronic rear-end devices, there really was no longer a need for cabooses.

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