Welcome!   Use a browser to view the website's pages at right

Caboose Fleet

The SNR caboose fleet is typical of most Appalachian coal roads.  After WWI, all-steel cars became the standard on road freights, because their strength meant that helpers need not be cut in ahead of the caboose, saving significant time in terminals.  Older wooden cars were bumped off of mountain runs by the first series, and demoted entirely to local service by 1940. 

In 1937, the SNR received an order of new steel center-cupola cabooses which closely followed the C&O design of a few years earlier.  The 3400 series members were among the first cars of any type to get the new (1936) hex herald.  With it they ushered in the new caboose paint scheme, having the roadname at mid-height instead of at top, (also sans "Railway"), and with the herald centered on the car rather than at the end.  Shown is a newly-minted cut of them, on a delivery run through Segway, Va..   

Earlier steel cabooses in the 3200 series were demoted by the new order to mine runs.  Composite cars (steel-underframe cars with wooden bodies) in the 3000 series were demoted to local service, and virtually all of the prehistoric all-wood cars were retired at that time.  

Here all-steel car #3279, grungy from a life reduced to mine run duty, crosses Stimpson Creek on its return to Cardiff, Va. with FS-42, the Misty Shifter.

By 1946, the remaining members of the wooden car fleet were weary, beat, and filthy, after decades of service and a couple of world wars.  A new order for more of the 3400 series cars (what became the 3500s) meant that the most decrepit of the wooden cars could at last be retired.  However, many were still fit for service, at least by Suffolk Northern standards - which do, after all, mirror the frugality of the thrifty Dutchmen who built the line.

So in 1952, several of the 3000s can be seen soldiering on, working local turns based out of Yaeger Yard.  The railway even has begun a repainting program for those still structurally sound.  You'd have to stop short of calling it a "rebuild" program, as only actually-destroyed components are being replaced.  And modern creature comforts, fuggedaboudit.  However, they are treated to new paint throughout, plus some upgraded safety appliances, such as full railings at the ladder tops.


No comments:

Post a Comment