Denver & Rio Grande Western


Cabooses and Maintenance-of-Way (MOW) Equipment

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Cabooses and Maint-Of-Way Equipment

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Detailed photos of Rio Grande equipment

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The Rio Grande Now

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Caboose Walk-around Photos


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Maintenance of Way Equipment

TOP:  Derrick No. 028-- at Grand Junction, 8/2/98.


BOTTOM:  Derrick No. 028 again at Grand Junction, 12/01/2002.  The wheel car / boom car is also visible.


Spreader O44, displayed at the Hot Sulphur Springs museum.  It was stationed in Utah for snow-clearing work from 1930 forward, and donated to the museum in the 1990's.

Flanger 052, stored at Monte Vista on 12/28/2009.
Flanger 062, stored at Monte Vista on 12/28/2009.
40-foot Boxcar No. AX68862-- painted for MOW, at Grand Junction, 8/2/98.

MOW Boxcar No. AX69035-- at Bond, 11/30/2002. Photo taken from onboard Amtrak.   The flatcar to the left is carrying panel track.

53-foot flatcar No, AX-21015.  This car has been in MOW service for a long time, outliving the D&RGW (for whom it's lettered), the SP, and now soldiers on for Union Pacific.  Here it's spotted on the house track at Westwater, Utah, serving as a combination materials car and boom car for a small Burro crane.

The linked images are QUITE LARGE to better show details.

Top: From the shady side.

Next: End view. You can see the interesting cross-section from here, including the way the deck is extended out over the stake pockets.

Third: Opposite side.  The COTS stencil is damaged. Dimensional data is legible. Note the rustmarks where a dangling chain wore off the paint.

Bottom: 3/4 view at opposite end. Note the steel-sheathed corner on the extended deck, and the tackboard directly below.

Dozer Flatcar-- complete with dozer, at Bond on 11/30/2002.
Tool Car-- converted passenger car at Grand Junction, 12/1/2002. This car is the former diner-lounge Mt YALE, originally built with wood sheathing in 1910 as Western Pacific's OAKLAND, returned to D&RGW in 11/1923, later rebuilt with steel sheathing and large picture windows (1936), and retired to X-3275 in February 1953. It was used on the classy Exposition Flyer train in the 1940s, among other premier trains.
Modern M-O-W dorm cars-- at Grand Junction, 8/2/98.
Modern M-O-W dorm car-- a closer look. Reminds me of a houseboat!
Track Speeder-- Parked by east Rocky, March 1984. This particular speeder is now being restored at the Glenwood Rail Museum (in the depot).
Track Speeder-- Another view, March 1984.
Track Tamper-- Sept. 1994, northbound out of Colorado Springs on the Joint Line.
Ballast Spreader-- Sept. 1994 north of Colorado Springs.  There was a small parade of MOW equipment northbound on this afternoon.
Scene at West Portal on 12/29/1994.  Featured are (at left) a Fairmont track speeder; (at center) two boxcars converted to section gang use, plus a hopper and conveyor loader at far end, and (right) one of Rio Grande's maintenance-of-way service trucks in the light blue scheme. This is No.00792, a Chevrolet C60/70 truck used for Moffat Tunnel inspections.  It carries a platform on a scissors lift, and a Hiab hoist on the right side. (Thanks to Jim Eager for the details.)

Rio Grande's Home-made Steel Cabooses

Below are photos of a few later Rio Grande cabooses (i.e. WW2 to present).  Good data on these hacks is available at Don Strack's Utah Rails D&RGW Caboose page.

Here is the Folio Sheet of the series 01470 to 01490.  (It's a photo of a reproduction mounted in the "Ski Train" museum caboose in Hot Sulphur Springs).

The Rio Grande 01400 series were unique.  They were all built in the railroad's shops between 1940 and 1959, mostly in groups of 10.  Distinctive Rio Grande features include: the posts at the corners; the ladder tops which end pointing up at an angle, rather than curving down to the rooftop (unlike many model cabooses); the extra-height cupola; the cupola side window style.  Also note the two marker lights, added late in their careers.  The one on the right corner was red and was used as the usual EOT marker.  The one over the door was white and was used primarily to give the crew illumination out the back.  This would be handy for night backup moves, for instance.  It was seldom illuminated during daylight.

Modeler's notes: the only semi-accurate models of these cabooses in HO are in brass (OMI) or in resin (ProtoWest).  The Athearn caboose is a Santa Fe prototype and is the correct length, though the windows are completely different from the D&RGW cabooses, the roof has way too much arch, the roofwalks curve with the roof instead of being flat, the trucks are too close together, and the cupola is too short. In other words, it's a stand-in only.  Your other option is to scratch-build, which I have done.


Caboose No. 01405 rests outside the Burnham shops in Denver, May 1984.  It was built in 1940 in the first group of steel hacks, and originally was painted in the solid black scheme with white lettering (flying Rio Grande herald).  It is of riveted construction, as were all cabooses up through 01469.  Note that the side windows have not been plated over, a rare feature at this late date.

Here are three views of caboose No. 01408, in four-stripe paint, seen at Roper Yard (Salt Lake City). The time is July 1983.  The windows have been changed to sealed panes, and have not been plated over yet.

(Photos by Warren Johnson. )






TOP:  Caboose #01423 sits by itself in Alamosa (downtown) on 5/16/99. This cabin was used on the local to Antonito, and was one of the last Rio Grande cabooses in active service.  As with most cabooses active on the Rio Grande in the early 1980s, the body side  windows were plated over with steel (only the end door windows were left).

Here are several other looks at 01423, taken in March 2002 at Alamosa's east yard.  UP kept the caboose in Alamosa for the local service right up until the sale of the branch to San Luis Rio Grande in June 2003.  The caboose was sold along with the rest of the branch, and was used by the SLRG until the sale to Permian.  Sometime after these photos, the car was tagged by local nocturnal street "artists".

The caboose was transferred circa 2004 to the "Wagon Wheel Gap" tourist line between South Fork and Creede.  However, to date the line has not used most of their rolling stock for anything, and so the caboose is currently stored on a spur in Monte Vista just north of the highways 160 - 285 intersection.

The 01423 was built in 1942. 

Here is a page of walk-around photos of 01423, many of which are close-up detail views. These photos were taken in Monte Vista on 12/27/2009.

Caboose 01448, on display at the museum in Hot Sulphur Springs.  This caboose had previously been on display at the Winter Park ski area, as an exhibit for the Ski Train ahd skiing in general, hence the bogus herald.  It was given to the Hot Sulphur Springs museum in 1999, but it still has most of the skiing exhibits inside.  The interior had been gutted for the exhibits, so there's no authentic railroad interior left (including the cupola).


(bottom) The famous raised numerals of Rio Grande steel cabooses, visible in this oblique photo of No. 01448.  The steel numerals are mounted on spacers to hold them beyond the car body.

Photo from early summer 1966 of a riveted caboose, probably No. 01454.  Note that this caboose and No. 01479 below do not have the number painted on the cupola on the side facing the middle of the car.  This seems to be a feature of the black scheme.
 Probably May or June 1968: caboose 01455 trails a westbound freight into the Moffat Tunnel.  It's in the original all-black paint scheme.  Items of interest: yellow handrails and ladders; "firecracker" radio antenna on the cupola; windows replaced with single-pane glass but still with wooden sashes; raised numerals on the carbody side (the oblique angle helps to see this feature).  Caboose built in 1947.   Photo by someone in my family using my dad's camera.
 Caboose 01479 (probably): a welded-construction caboose seen at West Portal in 1967.  Not a great photo, but my sister the photographer was only about 15 at the time, so we'll forgive her!  ; Note how smooth the cupola face seems, as compared to riveted-construction cabooses.
Caboose No. 01489-- Feb, 1996, near Ft. Garland, CO, headed east.  This hack was built in 1959, part of the last group built by the railroad and the last non-extended-vision cabooses acquired.  It is of welded construction.  Note that the windows have been plated over (circa 1984).  Also note that a previous paint job is showing through the peeling paint.  This caboose originally wore the same scheme as No. 01405 above.  Note the axle generator on the rear truck, inboard axle.

Wide-Vision Cabooses

Two views of a very unusual movement indeed!  On July 1st, 1995, a long eastbound manifest freight passing through the Glenwood Springs area was punctuated by Rio Grande wide-vision caboose No. 01505.  I have no idea why a caboose was on a mainline freight at this date, unless it was simply being transported for storage or something.

These two shots are captured from camcorder video, and were taken from a moving car near Chacra.

Caboose No. 01510 sitting behind the Pueblo depot (out of service) , 5/16/99.  Rio Grande had fifteen cabooses (01500-01514) of this type, built in 1966.  The cupola is slightly offset toward one end.
Caboose No. 01510 opposite side, at Pueblo, 5/16/99.
Caboose No. 01516-- Also at Pueblo (out of service) , 5/16/99. Notice that the steps are missing.  Rio Grande had ten of these (01515-01524, built 1976).  These are similar to the first series, except for the centered cupola,  the abbreviated roofwalks, the side ladders, and the different layout of the porch railings/ladders.  They were delivered in the solid Aspen Gold paint scheme.
Caboose No. 01522 works the local at Monte Vista, 5/14/99.
Caboose #01522 another view, at Monte Vista, 5/14/99.




  James R. Griffin.  All rights reserved.