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1=Mono Chan= Chan
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I propose a caboose thread!

As an aside, I have a question for Parovoz/1524 - in Russian/Soviet service, are there cabooses? What are they called?

I am also interested in other countries' equivalent to cabooses - I know that the brake van in the UK is roughly analogous yet served a different purpose. Were there other caboose like cars in other countries?


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Look forward to your replies!


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It's almost all bay window cabeese in this thread. Where my cupolas at?

Also, how do you guys feel about the word "cabeese?"


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I miss using this caboose for work trains.


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>in Russian/Soviet service, are there cabooses? What are they called?

I think the fact that I am still not completely sure what cabooses are for should be enough of an answer:) Since in the 'merica you could spot them in the era of the automatic train brakes I would assume they were used to manually bleed the air from the mainline from the other end of the train, and are now replaced be the RC tail car units (or whatever they are called for you, those little boxes hanging on the tail coupler). And that's if it is even a correct assumption…
Remember, our trains are much shorter, between 1 and 1.6 km usually for a single set (non-distributed traction), and in the era before the tail car unit was invented they were even shorter, so they usually do just fine with just one point of air bleeding, and that's the locomotive. So yeah, I never even heard of Russian cabooses as a phenomenon, and those little RC toys are reserved mostly for longer/heavier trains or for the routes where air brakes response times are more crucial.


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Now, the closest thing we have to cabooses are the escort cars (sometimes referred as just service cars) in the so-called vertushka trainsets, usually a set of dumpcars or hopper-batchers with one or more escort cars somewhere in the middle (sometimes on the end). However their purpose is kinda different from cabooses (my assumption of what cabooses are anyway): since dumpcars and hopper-batchers require A LOT of air to operate their unloading mechanisms, the escort cars manage their (independent) air supply, having diesel compressor in them.

However not all escort cars are for additional air supply. Some are to provide electric power and come as part of a so-called refrigerator section OR a set of platforms with ref containers on them, some types are just to house crews and instrument for the maintenance trains, usually dismissed old passenger cars, some are even to house equipment and/or armed guards for, say, nuclear material trains or the trains which supply rocket and spaceship parts for the final assembly on cosmodromes. So that's a very stretchy term.



They were a place for crew to be at the end of the train to throw switches behind the train and to watch (and smell) for hot boxes.


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Soooo… they were nothing to do with brakes at all? That's an eye opener.

In this case, this would've definitely be called escort car around here, but none were needed for the purpose of… smelling, seriously?.. and throwing switches. Especially because USSR/Russia is not the US and on most lines the electrical centralization is totally a normal thing for many decades. Plus, we do shunting operations little differently. This would imply the shunting of the fully assembled train, by itself (if I even pictured it correctly in my mind, correct me again of not) whereas in Russia usually additional loco, usually a road switcher would be employed to do any operations with train involving changing its direction temporarily. In case it would go with loco in the back a guy usually called "train former" (составитель поездов) would step on the special footstep in the corner of the first car (acc. to the direction of movement) and from here would control the situation with radio in hand, manage air hoses if coupling occurs, throwing switches if there are any manual ones. Not very comfortable, nor very safe, but usually an end car is manned only for a short period at a time. Interestingly, some older freight cars had special roofed "decks" for that. Important note here that the "former" is not part of the train crew.


Riding just regular freight cars is very common in the US. I've personally rode ~15 mile shoves back to a yard simply so I didn't have to run around my train and save time.

Are you sure it's not more common in Russia? I can't see how you'd switch certain industries unless everything is laid out to prevent it.


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What, you mean manual switches? Actually, bigger industries might have their own local centralization so it is not uncommon for even industrial branch lines to have their own automatic switches. Or, I think, some switches on the industrial branches can be controlled from a nearby "mainline" station, especially would make sense if they rent locos from the network. As you can see at >>7422 , it's a small end station with a small industrial bush (I've been here) yet still has automatic switches. I don't say manual ones are 100% a thing of the past here, even some stations on a mainline can have SOME of their switches manual, but usually switches used more often than once a week tend to be electric. And again, with the "former" guy it is not a great problem to operate manual switches, whether they have special car for them or not.

So the key difference here is, apparently, that the formers ARE NOT part of the train crews, hence they don't need a special car for them as they don't travel with the train more than a few kilometers at a time.
And also, again, our trains are shorter, so it is not an ordeal to walk along the length of the train if much needed.

And for the hot axleboxes, before the era of the telemetry units (see pic) being near everywhere, I guess people watching the running gear integrity of a passing train from the station or from the opposite train and reporting should something be wrong were enough. On many stations there are spotlights to light up the running gear in the nighttime. Fun fact, the conductor at the sight of oncoming train must stand up behind the driver, for safety in case of incoming particles, but got me thinking that the better view of the other train's running gear might also be a consideration.


I mean, you need to ride cars to switch(I believe you use the word "shunt" instead) industries and the cars themselves. You make it seem as if riding upon the side of a car itself is very uncommon like the guy in your picture is. We do it all the time in the US.

>whereas in Russia usually additional loco, usually a road switcher would be employed to do any operations with train involving changing its direction temporarily.

That makes it seem like trains themselves won't set out their own blocks of cars and you have another engine couple to the rear of the train and pull the block of cars into a track.


Back in the day before detectors were used yes you could smell a hot box or dragging brake from the rear. Most all mainlines are electric switches and most trains just move from major yard to major yard and do not have any switching to do. But some local jobs still use a caboose but not many.


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>You make it seem as if riding upon the side of a car itself is very uncommon

I didn't get it then. No, it's not what I meant. On the contrary, every time the train(set) is moving cars-forward (with exceptions) the forward car should be manned. Above I wanted to say that it is very uncommon when the fully assembled train with mainline loco on the front does any kind of shunting by itself. Mainline loco is usually not involved in any car shuffling whatsoever and attached only when the train is fully formed and then proceed to move it only forward (again, usually). If you need to shove the entire train to some branch then usually it leaves the cars on the station and the mainline loco goes on to pick up another train or something and the shunting operations are left for the switcher/shunter to do.

>That makes it seem like trains themselves won't set out their own blocks of cars and you have another engine couple to the rear

No, it's not coupled to the full train… again, USUALLY (sometimes there are double-headed freights just to save time changing loco but that's exception)… the shunting locos work not by concrete trains but by stations, if there are car fiddling to do then shunter goes to do it while mainline loco heads to other business.

If it is a local job, then it is common (and more efficient) to use road switchers/shunters as mainline locos, usually with much shorter trains. In this case the former rides on the locomotive (unless present on the station) and then you could go on shunting right away. Again, no caboose needed.

As for running gear problems, as I said, usually was done from the stations or passing trains. It isn't very practical to sniff open air on speed at -30 in the middle of Siberia:)


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Several US cabooses have been converted to an "escort" service, to accompany various valuable shipments, such as military equipment. Here is a Department of Defense caboose.


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DODX actually owns several of these


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Not all escort cabooses are owned by the military, though. Here's one I photographed a few years ago, it belongs to the same company that owns that Schnabel car at the front of the train. A lot of these extra-large movements require a staff to travel with them to keep an eye out during tight maneuvers.


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She’s been here for several years after undergoing a full restoration, and is now a walk-through exhibit.


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A timeline of her history.


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And some patches of original paint, smartly left by the restoration crew


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And now for the action shots


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Thanks for your reply!

How would you call these escort cars? Служебный вагон? И еще один вопрос - камбуз, это вагон ЖД или что-то другой? Дякую з допомога)

The car that spurred this line of questioning is an older car I photographed at the railway museum in Kharkiv. It was shown as a freight car/грузовой вагон but I thought it was interesting it had a platform on it.


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>How would you call these escort cars? Служебный вагон? И еще один вопрос - камбуз, это вагон ЖД или что-то другой? Дякую з допомога)

"Вагон сопровождения" их обычно называют. Камбуз в русском к вагону не относится, оно обозначает корабельную кухню. А ви шо, з України?
Sorry for anyone else for that native language insertion, it was some cheeki-breeki linguistics so no big need in translating it anyway

Anyway, if you've read my posts below the one you replied to, as I said, even much more recent freight cars had this platform for shunting purposes. Since I don't know much about railroading operation in 1800s - early 1900s I can only assume it's the same here.

Dammit, but why did I stumble across the near PERFECT picture to illustrate local freight service in Russia only short time after I've already posted another pic? Anyway, here it is, better (by quality) illustration of the local freight service in Russia, for convenience often done by shunters (road switchers).

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