Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For those of you that have never actually seen a real "caboose," here is a caboose. Years ago, every frieght train had a caboose as the last rail car on the train. This rail car was furnished with beds and with other necessary equipment to house brakemen and other train employees who were important, in those days of no computers and limited communications, to the safety and proper operation of the railroad. The caboose was always painted red and is was distinguished by having these "bay window"-like side extensions on each side of the caboose so that the brakeman could have a better view of the rail cars and the locomotive(s). They often had a similar viewing port atop the caboose. This particular caboose does not have that feature.

This old caboose is parked on a side rail, near the tracks, in downtown Bedford, Virginia; a relic of a bygone era in railroad history. They don't need a brakeman or other employees riding at the rear of the train any more. Computers and other electronic sensoring devices and controls have taken care of those once important functions. Anyway, here is a look at the past on the great American railroad.

(note: the smoke stack that seems to be growing out of the top of the caboose is actually part of the old industrial building on the other side of the railroad tracks in the background).