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Sorry, these are dumb questions but I am curious in adding scenery to my layout and what's prototypical for cabooses.

1. Is it prototypical for utility lines (power, telephone poles etc.) to cross railroad tracks or do utility companies try to stay away from crossing tracks?

2. What is common for the direction the caboose crew (conductor?) faces when the train is in motion.

I know this should be common knowledge but I confess lack of common knowledge from time to time (my bad!!)

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Some of the caboose (cabin in prr talk) crew would be tasked with watching the train, and would face forward watching for dragging equipment, hotboxes, derailments, or other problems with the train.   This would most likely be the rear end brakeman and the flagman.

the conductor most likely, especially on a local, might be sitting at the desk inside the caboose doing paper work to figure out his next switching move and documenting cars dropped and picked up.

Remember the conductor is the "captain" or boss of the train.    He gives signals to the engineer telling when to move and stop etc.    They work together obvisously, but the conductor is officially in charge of the train.

@Artie-DL&W posted:

Just to add to the excellent responses above, the caboose can face either end forward, although it was usually tacked on with the stove pipe to the rear.

I disagree. I've never seen any railroad that would waste time and resources to turn a caboose around, in order that the "stove pipe" would face the rear.  That's why there are marker lamp mounting brackets on each end of a caboose.

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