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WOW! How fortunate was I?
Going back and reading what some of you have had to say, well, I consider myself lucky that we had good cabs to ride on...up until the management started importing cabs from foreign roads! Until then, I enjoyed the times that I worked as Conductor or Rear Brakeman riding the cab.
And now, I will cherish my memories from the cab even more!
BTW, there was never a better place to learn the lay of the road than from the cupola of a caboose riding behind an empty hopper train in daylight!!! 

Last edited by Big Jim

Dad rode a lot of freight trains when he was the Cook on a work train. Their crane was self-powered and was typically their only motive power when on-the-job. Moving between jobs was done by hanging their string of equipment onto a freight train. The Gang usually wasn't aboard for moves but part of Dad's job was taking care of the work train so he was always aboard for moves, typically done at night. His bed was bolted to the floor lengthways to the car and Dad would pack pillows at the head and foot to keep him from injury when the slack repeatedly ran in and out. He said it was generally a very rough ride.

  The only caboose ride I've ever taken was on the Cumbres & Toltec and it was obviously not a long distance nor was it a revenue run....on the other hand I do have some information about others who have ridden a caboose in revenue service...

  "On the Pere Marquette, a train of empty freight cars was rumbling out of the yards at Benton Harbor, Michigan. Back in No. A616, Conductor Roy Blodgett called over to his rear brakeman, Charlie Webster: "A bird is chasing us." When the train stopped, the trainmen discovered that a mother robin had built her nest on the under side of the crummy.  In it were three blue eggs. Ward Salsbury, head brakeman saw the men peering under the caboose and he yelled: Whatsa matter; got a hot box down there?"


  "No," the conductor shouted back. "A robin's nest. Go easy will you?"


  So Engineer Charlie Wilcox did his darnedest to make the starts and stops as joltless as possible all the way to Hartford, Michigan.  The fireman was Howard Peck. On the return trip to Benton Harbor, the caboose was placed exactly in the same spot on the storage track from which it had been taken, in the hope that Mrs. Redbreast would go back to her eggs. Sure enough, she did.


  The story spread, arousing sympathetic interest. C.A. Wilkins, general agent and former train dispatcher, decided that something should be done about it.  He telegraphed J.G. Grigware, superintendent of the Chicago-Petoskey Division at Grand Rapids, explaining the situation.  Back came the order:

    "Use extra caboose until robin is done with car"

  Mr. Grigware sent an extra crummy to Benton Harbor.

From A Treasury of Railroad Folklore - Botkin and Harlow

Get a membership at IRM. They have an ICG “Centrailia” caboose (longer porches) that’s often on the end of their caboose train. You can ride the rear, ride in the car, and ride in the coupla. You can also ride in other cabooses that aren’t the last car of the train. Even at 40-ish MPH in the museum train, you can get a slight feel for the bouncing around conductors/rear brakemen must’ve gone through at work.

I was an engineer on the Santa Fe when we still had cabooses, a couple of times when I was a fireman, still living in Topeka, I got short called, and got to Emporia just in time to see my train leaving without me, but was able to catch the way car and ride it to Ark City with the rear end guys. A couple of times when deadheading home, it decided to try the caboose for something different. After that, I decided I'd rather be on the head end, and never rode another one again. I never was a trainman, so don't have much experience back there, but decided it was better up front.

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