Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Planning - Cabooses

To be prepared for ops sessions, I'm also going to need to finish some cabooses. I have some information as to which cabooses to use, but there are some holes in my current research.

For regular trains (such as a local freight), a caboose was frequently assigned to a specific conductor/job. The conductor was responsible for ensuring the caboose was stocked with all of the supplies required. By always having the same caboose, they could set it up to their liking and not have to remove their belongings/supplies at the end of each run. So there is quite a bit of consistency once some data is acquired.

The first information I had to work with were the caboose assignment books for 1950, 1951, and 1953. Photos are useful to confirm or fill in holes in information, but unfortunately the caboose is often not identifiable since people tended to take pictures of the locomotive.

Here are a couple, though:

C-139 on YN-3 in Berlin c1946. Kent Cochrane

In this photo the train was hauled by an I-4, it could have been earlier. This was fortunately taken from the back end, and an earlier shot of the same train had the caboose right behind the locomotive.

In another Cochrane photo of YN-3, this time in Plainville on July 7, 1947 with DEY-5 (S-2) No 0606, it has an NE-5. Unfortunately, I can't make out the road number.

I also have photos of NE class C-116 on HDX-5 hauled by K-1-d No 479. This is consistent in any picture Kent took of this train.

I initially pulled the assignments for all trains running through New Britain. Since the NE-6s were delivered in 1948, other than the first 4 in 1947, I figured a number of the trains in 1947 and earlier had wood cabooses. I also had a video of an NE-2 going through New Britain.

So I built a small collection of cabooses, a couple of NE, an NE-2, four NE-4s, five NE-5s, and five NE-6s. But once I narrow the focus to trains that will run during diesel-only ops sessions, I end up with only four potential trains:


The earliest assignment I have is 1950 and it's NE-5 C-546, which is also noted in 1951. It's reasonable to believe it was also assigned in 1949. This became NX-25 in 1952 with the elimination of the Hartford Division. I don't have assignments for 1952. In spring of 1953 it was C-706 with C-546 as a spare assigned to Hartford, so either is a possibility for late 1952.


Running through 1952, this train always has two cabooses assigned to it. I'm not sure why, and I don't think they run two together, but they are NE-6 class C-708 and C-709 in 1950 and 1953, and C-707 and C-709 in 1951. In 1951 C-708 is a Hartford spare.


In 1951 this is NE-6 C-701, the train also ran in 1952, so I'll assume it's the same.

So a lot fewer cabooses than I thought I'd need.


Only one NE-5 and up to four NE-6s. It's interesting that these are the final four NE-6 (or any for the NH) cabooses. I could get by with one caboose for NY-4/YN-3 and reduce that by two cabooses. At some point I'll need to add one or more NE class cabooses as well, but it's looking less likely that I'll need an NE-4. But I can cover 1949-1953 with only three cabooses:

  • C-546 (NE-5) (HDX-5), with a possibility of C-706 (NE-6) for NX-25 in 1952.
  • C-701 (NE-6) (OA-2/AO-3)
  • C-709 (NE-6), optionally with C-707 and C-708 (YN-3/NY-4)

I'll get into the details and the modifications I'm making to these in future posts. But here's a list of what I think are the most accurate models of these classes:

  • NE - Crown Custom/Railworks brass with the F&C/NHRHTA resin kit a close second
  • NE-2 - Overland brass
  • NE-4 - Challenger
  • NE-5 - Overland brass (1999 release)
  • NE-6 - Atlas

I haven't examined any potential NE-3 caboose models, I don't even recall if one has been released. I'm not finding one with a quick search.

The NE, NE-2, and NE-4 cabooses need only minor corrections, although none of them have an interior. Ironically, it's the NE-5 and NE-6 models that need the most corrections.

Ce la vie.

I'll probably work on these in August/September since I don't have too many to do (and I've completed a lot of the work already).

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