19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Discussion relating to the NYC and subsidiaries, up to 1968. Visit the NYCS Historical Society for more information.

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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby BR&P » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:58 pm

Glad to see it preserved and even better, restored to as near original as possible. Maybe 15-20 years ago a former BR&P caboose owned by a similar organization out in Ohio was burned up - you could look right through the near side and see what was beyond the other side. They got the blueprints and rebuilt the caboose true to original. When 19216 is completed I'll have to come take a look at it. I do have a few interior pics of other cabooses in that series so if that can help, let me know.
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby AteamSHS » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:28 pm

Thank you, I will. Still looking for more blue prints, we have some but all that we need. Side end & framing # R 7221 is one I would like to look at.
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby AteamSHS » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:36 pm

Thanks Otto.
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby BR&P » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:34 pm

This one really has me confused. Friends at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum have caboose NYC 19877 in nice shape, and if I'm not mistaken this is the ONLY one of NYC's wooden cabooses still rolling and in use rather than a static display.

Exploring the center sill for stencils of repairs, they came across not one, but TWO different caboose numbers marked there but painted over, in addition to NYC 19877. One was NYC 19001, the other was NYC 19536. Again, this is on the frame of the caboose itself, NOT on the trucks which can get swapped around.

I do know that when the transfer cabooses were being made in the mid 1960's, some wood cabooses had to be renumbered to avoid conflict. 18022 became 17365 for example. But the transfer cabooses did not get as high as 198xx series.

I can speculate that if many cabooses were in a shop such as Beech Grove, and there was heat from officials because they were behind, perhaps a demand that a given caboose be completed NOW might lead a foreman to restencil a newly-completed caboose with the demanded number to get the monkey off his back (as long as he remembered to make a similar adjustment when the REAL 19877 was completed later.) But 2 other numbers in addition to the current one?

Two other facts which might or might not be relevant. First, there WAS a NYC 19877 in the Rochester area, from at least 1964 to October 1967. If it went to Beech Grove during that time, it came back at least in number if not in body. Also, there was a NYC 19001 about this same time working the Fonda and Amsterdam NY area (it was painted green). I have no record of the 19536.

Anybody have any thoughts on how 3 different numbers could be found on the same caboose? Anybody involved with a museum displaying a different NYC wooden caboose ever do any close examination of the underside to see what details are revealed (or hidden ) there?
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby ChiefTroll » Sat Oct 21, 2017 8:20 pm

There was nothing sacred about a particular car number going through the shop as long as the cars were not secured by an equipment trust (bank loan). You might see four or five cabooses go into the shop, and pieces of all five, including a center sill, come out the door with one of the numbers on it. The "surviving" car was determined by the accounting department, depending on the tax situation at the time, the book values of the cars, depreciation (if any) and all sorts of other exotic stuff under the old ICC accounting rules.

So four of those five would be retired and written off the books. One caboose would be the subject of an AFE (Authorization for Capital Expenditure), and that number would be painted on the resulting car. Whichever one had the honor conferred upon it would depend on how the cash and material costs worked out.

- Gordon Davids
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby BR&P » Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:46 pm

From an accounting and financial point of view, that makes perfect sense.

From a nostalgic, historical point of view, it rots! Image It would be much better to see a photo from 1935, and see that SAME car in a museum.

Oh well, that's reality!

Thanks, Gordon, you are a valuable resource! Image
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby Otto Vondrak » Wed Oct 25, 2017 4:24 pm

BR&P wrote:This one really has me confused. Friends at the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum have caboose NYC 19877 in nice shape, and if I'm not mistaken this is the ONLY one of NYC's wooden cabooses still rolling and in use rather than a static display. Exploring the center sill for stencils of repairs, they came across not one, but TWO different caboose numbers marked there but painted over, in addition to NYC 19877. One was NYC 19001, the other was NYC 19536. Again, this is on the frame of the caboose itself, NOT on the trucks which can get swapped around...


Now what would be really useful would be to know from a historical preservation perspective what the original number was, and when each renumbering took place.

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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby BR&P » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:01 pm

Otto Vondrak wrote:Now what would be really useful would be to know from a historical preservation perspective what the original number was, and when each renumbering took place.

-otto-


I agree completely, Otto. Image

Sadly I don't believe any large repository of NYC records exists, at least that would shed any light on this process. With something around 3,000 wooden cabooses over about 65 years, (just talking about from 1900 on) even if somebody handed you the whole history it would take a lifetime to organize and index it all. They were, in effect, just big tools, and when they wore out, were broken, or needed to be changed around, nostalgia just didn't enter into it.

Oh well, reality does not hinge on whether we like it or not. :(
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Re: 19000-series Wooden Cabooses

Postby BR&P » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:03 pm

ChiefTroll wrote:There was nothing sacred about a particular car number going through the shop as long as the cars were not secured by an equipment trust (bank loan). You might see four or five cabooses go into the shop, and pieces of all five, including a center sill, come out the door with one of the numbers on it. The "surviving" car was determined by the accounting department, depending on the tax situation at the time, the book values of the cars, depreciation (if any) and all sorts of other exotic stuff under the old ICC accounting rules.

So four of those five would be retired and written off the books. One caboose would be the subject of an AFE (Authorization for Capital Expenditure), and that number would be painted on the resulting car. Whichever one had the honor conferred upon it would depend on how the cash and material costs worked out.

- Gordon Davids


I'm not in any way doubting or disputing Gordon's post. But upon reflection, a slight variation of his scenario might also have been possible. As he states, 5 cabooses were brought in, the best parts combined to make one, and the bean counters then dictated which number to apply.

In my hypothetical situation, 5 cabooses are in the shop. For this discussion their last 2 digits are 01 through 05. It might be that the accountants punched their adding machines, poured over their records, and dictated that due to depreciation etc the 02 was to be rebuilt, and authorized capital expenditure of X dollars for that purpose, for roofing, new stove, rebuilt trucks, and whatever else. The other 4 were to be scrapped.

Let's say the shop honchos looked things over and found that the 04 had a great roof, the body was tight and solid and would not need much to make the interior serviceable. And hey, the 05 had a stove that was pretty close to new. The 01 and 03 each had one good truck under them, thick wheels, and so on.

So just maybe, they took those 2 trucks and put them under the 04, took the stove from the 05, and borrowed a few parts from the others, and wound up with a decent caboose after much less time with the shop guys, and much less expense than that AFE dictated. But the bean counters don't care about that, their formulas said the 02 should be rebuilt. So the caboose emerged from the shop renumbered as the 02, while the rest were scrapped.

So the shop honchos got that job done in less time than the job should have taken, allowing them to be not QUITE so far behind. They had some inventory of roofing, a couple trucks, and other stuff which supposedly went into rebuilding that 02, and now could be used in the future when some "under the table" job was necessary. And perhaps that's why there are two numbers on the new "02"'s underframe.

Oh yes - remember the stove from the 05 wound up in the new "02"? That brand new stove the AFE provided for the 02 is now in the shop superintendent's brother's hunting cabin, where it keeps them both warm during hunting trips! :-D

I'm not saying that DID happen. But those who know how things sometimes were done, will tell you it MIGHT have been that way. Image

(In case anybody thinks stuff like that did not go on, let me say that when the Penn Central closed own the Despatch Shops in East Rochester, reportedly a backhoe was used to dig a large hole in the ground. Various tools and supplies were dumped and buried, for reasons that will never be known once the last of those involved has passed away. Obviously, those items supposedly and officially did not exist)
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