April 19th, 2019

Trains, Wonderful Trains

Rare Equipment Sightings

A caboose was once an integral part of a railroad train, in that in many cases, the collection of cars was not actually a "train" unless it had a caboose carrying markers (lights marking the end of the train). Changes in technology, including rear-end devices allowing the engineer to operate the brakes from the head end and to tell whether rear of the train is moving, as well as remotely controlled locomotives cut in at the rear (or sometimes part-way along), made most railroad cabooses (which went by different names on different railroads) obsolete. But they still turn up occasionally, including yesterday.

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Another piece of non-revenue equipment has been in the area lately as Union Pacific reinvests in its track.

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I didn't realize the maintenance crews were actually dropping rails off outside yesterday, or I would have shot some video as well. By the time I realized what was happening, the crew was getting ready to quit for the day and tie up their train for the night. The UP dispatcher spent a lot of yesterday trying to thread other trains around the maintenance crews as they did their necessary work.