The Rio Grande’s shops built caboose No. 01423 in 1942, as part of a batch of 10 such cars. It began life painted in the standard spartan black scheme, but received the various updated schemes before finally ending up in the solid gold Action Road scheme seen on this page.
Cabooses were dropped from most trains beginning in 1985, but several continued to be used in local service for long past that time. The 01423 ended up as a semi-permanent resident of Alamosa during the eras of SP and UP ownership. UP used it in local service right up until the sale of the branch to Rail America (dba San Luis & Rio Grande) in June 2003. The caboose was then transferred along with the rest of the branch, and was used by the SLRG until the line was sold to Iowa Pacific Holdings.
The caboose was transferred circa 2004 to the “Wagon Wheel Gap” tourist line between South Fork and Creede. However,that line never really commenced operations, so for several years the caboose was stored on a spur in Monte Vista just north of the highways 160 – 285 intersection. It has since been sold to a private owner and moved to Albuquerque.
These photographs were taken on 12/28/2009 at Monte Vista. The location is not very camera-friendly, with a building located close to the sunny side. On the other hand, access was unrestricted (except to the interior), which made it easy to get close-up
detail shots such as these.
(Other views of this caboose here)
|View from the street, i.e. the north-east. The caboose was tagged by vandals in 2004. Evidently some effort has been made to remove the graffiti, revealing the gold paint underneath.|
|Closer view from the “rear” quarter. For purposes of orientation, the
cupola end will be considered the rear, with left and right sides identified from that perspective. In practice, these cabooses would be run in either direction. Note the reflective Scotchlite striping, applied in four rectangular areas on the body as well as on the gate panel.
|Three views of the brake valve gear on the left side. This one is from forward.|
|This side-on view of the brake valves reveals the piping between the valve and the air reservoir.|
|Aft view of the brake gear shows us the cylinder and the associated
linkages. This also gives us a good look at the structural features
under the car.
|The left-side rear quadrant, showing the lube panel, rear grabs, and
various stencils. (Ignore the one that says “PROPERTY OF D&RG RY”; this was added by the current owners.)
|Raised numerals. The D&RGW built all of the 01400-series cars with these classy cut-out numbers. Over time, some cabooses lost them, but 01423 proudly retains them, albeit with graffiti on the left-side set.|
Right rear quadrant. Here we see most of the herald panel as
well as the stove vent, side safety striping, weight and maintenance stencils, and part of one of the blanked windows. (Again, ignore the stencil that says “PROPERTY OF D&RG RY”.)
|Right side lube & COTS stencil panels. Incidentally, COTS stands for
“Cleaned, Oiled, Tested and Stenciled”, in reference to the air brake
|Right-side numbers, and the middle window (blanked). Also note the
drain elbow, coming from the lav.
Ends and Interior
|Cupola-end platform. Note the fact that this end of the car does not
have any windows other than the one in the door. Looking at the
folio sheet, we see that the spaces to either side of the door are take with storage lockers.
|Opposite end (non-cupola end). This end has two extra windows in the carbody.Note the chain hanging between the railing and the cut lever, to
the left of the brake wheel. This is attached to a hook which is used
to operate the cut lever from the platform by pulling on the chain. In
the photo above, this hook and chain are wrapped around the railing.
Here we see one of the two marker lights found on each end. The
|Closer look at the platform of the window-end of the car. You can see the cut-lever hook apparatus mentioned above. Note the Duryea cushioned underframe gear behind the coupler with its large spring. Also note the brake wheel linkages, and the various brackets and grab irons..|
|Standing on the window-end platform. Note the corner post, built from angle iron. Here you can see the quarter-round wood fillet which the shops installed in each post. The paint has mostly come off this one. Also note the grabs, and the downspout for the gutter which is above the steps.|
|Looking in through the end window on the non-cupola end. To our left we see the icebox / water cooler and the conductor’s desk. The pocket on the wall above the desk is labeled “B O Report” (bad order). The lav is immediately beyond the desk. Far right is the heating stove– note the chimney.|