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Part Four, 1977-1980s
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Cabeese, Crummies & Hacks
Part Four, 1977-1980s
- Short Bay Window Caboose
The Experiment
The MoPac seemed to put as much thought into it's caboose roster as it did with it's motive power, judging from the great variety they employed. By the mid-seventies, it was time to replace an aging road fleet again, so the system managers put their heads together and came-up with a state-of-the-art caboose - the caboose for the future of an ever growing rail company. The result resembled something like the spartan transfer cabooses (which they are often times mistakenly identified as - but this entire series was indeed a true road caboose with all numbered in the 13000 series) that the MoPac had used in it's larger rail yards back east. Only the difference was this series of home-built cabooses was packed with the latest in modern details for road service. They had a small interior because the extra room and furnishings of traditional style cabooses was not really needed, which in turn translated into saving money.

International Car had proposed to build 50 cars in 1976 at $41,887 per car. After making slight modifications to the blueprints, MoPac instead elected to build all of the platform-type, short bay-window cabooses itself. Both the MP's Desoto and Sedalia shops combined to assemble each car.

The Union Pacific had tested one of these platform-style cabooses in the development of the CA-11 caboose, borrowing heavily from the MoPac plans for it's own CA-11, 11A and 12 class cabooses.

The State-of-the-Art
Built in May 1977, MP 13542 was the first prototype of the new design. With the new design proven as a success, the Missouri Pacific built 350 additonal cars over the next six years (MP #13715-13814, 13815-13965 & 13000-13099) By the 1980's, they were seen all over the system. Who would have known then that in a very short few years that due to new rail safety regulations, the caboose would be disappearing from the ends of trains all across the country? This would be the final series of caboose built by the railroad.

By the 1980's, 350 Short Bay Window cabooses were being used by the MoPac. Together with the Extended Vision and Long Bay Window cabooses being used, the road had almost 550 cars for road servoce that were less than 12 years old.

After the merger, with changing rail regulations and an over-abundance of cabooses at it's disposal, the Union Pacific decided to skim off the excess. Some of the short-bays were sold thankfully, instead of being shipped to the scrap heap. In 1994-95 UP repainted some thirteen of this series in it's MOW green, removed the interiors and installed benches for gang transport car assignments in mantainence-of-way work, still retaining their "MP" prefix. Curiously, what would have been MP #13099 never got to wear MP paint. The final home-built was instead sold to the Texas-Mexican Railway as TM 316. The Terminal Railroad Association of St. Loius purchased two of the shortys for transfer runs. At least one of these cabooses has been sold to the Nebraska Central Railway a company which with roots to the UP in Grand Island. This caboose has since been retired and residing in Louisiana.


It should be noted once again that NONE of the Short Bay Window cabs were ever assigned to transfer service, a common assumption mistakenly ascribed to them. The Shortys were all true Road cabooses and all were assigned as such in the 13000-series, the designation MoPac reserved exclusively for its Road service cabs.


      State-of-the-Art, the Short Bay-Window Caboose

Series 13542, 13715-13814, 13815-13965 & 13000-13099 - Short Bay Window Caboose
Plate - AAR Class - RR Class -
Former Series none Built 1977, 1978 Rebuilt -
Car Manufacturer Missouri Pacific RR @ DeSoto & Sedalia Shops
Out. Lg. (ov. strikers) 39' 1-1/4"
Outside Wd. (side plts) 9' 7-3/8"
Outside Ht. 14' 4"
Body Lg. 17' 10-1/8" Body Wd. 10' 7-1/4" Outside Ht. to Roof 10' 11-5/16"
Cubic feet - Load Limit - Lt. Wt. - lbs.
Truck Barber Swing Motion Wheel Diameter - 33" I-W Stl. Hand Brake Ellcon-National 1600
Heating Vapor "Caban" Smokejack - Radio Motorola Micor Axle Driv. Dayco Drv.

      SBW Order 1 - #13542, 13715-13814

MP 13542, the first prototype short bay window caboose - poses for a company portrait at the Sedalia shops in May, 1977. The #13542 was given the number of a previously wrecked car. It typified the first group of the short bay window cabs to be built, one spotting feature of this group being the conductor's window seen to the right of the bay window. - Missouri Pacific Photo/Daryl Favignano Collection

The A&S Doghouses, a Forerunner of the Shorties?
Long before the 13700-series, the Alton & Southern, a small switching and transfer MoPac subsidiary road, owned small transfer cabooses of both steel riveted and wood/steel exterior post construction, built between 1936 and 1961. These cabs lacked the bay window, but otherwise had strong similarites in overall size, design and appearance to the modern Short Bay Window cabs. In the late '60's to '70's, these went through a MoPac rebuilding, dressed in MP colors with the A&S logo. The rebuilt cabin itself lost the roof end overhangs -- resembling more of a box, but they were a step closer in things to come.

It may be argued that the humble Alton & Southern transfer cabs were a possible inspiration in the drastic departure Missouri Pacific took from more traditional design when the company was looking for a new road caboose. If nothing else the A&S rebuild program provided experience which the MoPac shops undoubtedly drew from as it put forward it's plan for the home-built Shorty's only a short few years later.

MP 13718 - A member of the first group of the short bay window (SBW) cabs to be built. - Brian Paul Ehni Photo or Collection, used with permission.

SBW Distinctions
One unique feature of the first group, not seen on the later two deliveries, was the extra window seen to the right of the bay window (the A-end, battery box side of the car.

There was only the one window on this side (opening to the lavatory), the opposite side didn't mirror this feature. Also, the small porthole windows on either side of the bay window had rounded corners similar to the lavatory window style, later deliveries were squared with aluminum sashes.

Among other notable differences were the roof colors (see below) and walkway colors. The steps and deck flooring of the first group was painted red, later models were painted white, apparently for safety.

MP 13725 - Brian Paul Ehni Photo or Collection, used with permission.

Caboose Roofs
The Short Bay Window cabooses have been photographed with three roof variations: Red, aluminum paint or unpainted galvanized metal, and white roofs. In the very late 70's MoPac began to repaint the roofs on the dog house cabooses a silver color which tended to look white. The reason being to keep them cooler in the summer. There were a great deal of complaints about them being extremely hot in the summer.

From what is known, some of the first order of SBW's had aluminum silver painted roofs, others of the first oreder had white. All roofs of the second and third were painted white. The pattern for the red roofs is unknown, though there are confirmed cases for a few having this color.

MP 13731
- Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 13731 - Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

MP 13731
- Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 13731 - from the opposite side, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

MP 13731 - at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

MP 13731
- at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 13750 - A perfect example of the clean lines of MP cabs at the end of the caboose era. I don't think a railroad could have a better scheme any more ideal for a caboose. The crimson shorty is caught running through Houston, Texas; date unknown - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.

Braking System
It was never fully explained to me, but the first batch of them built had a tendency for the wheels to slide intermittently under higher brake applications. There was talk of the weight of the cars being involved. I had heard something about changes in the slack adjusters on the brake rigging in subsequent models built which seemed to correct this problem. Don't know if this was the entire problem or not. (Tuch

MP 13750 - This shorty is from the first group ordered by MoPac, with white roof and red porch floor, and a spare "porthole" on the body, just to the right of the bay-window. Later versions lacked the extra window and had aluminum-painted roof/flooring. The cab is seen at Houston, Texas; date unknown - © Brian Paul Ehni photo, used with permission.

SBW caboose 13793 - at Salem, IL April 1983. - JD Santucci Photo

MP 13796 - Brian Paul Ehni Brian Paul Ehni Photo or Collection, used with permission.

MP 13807 - on the caboose track at Yard Center in 1986. The small lavatory window has been plated over by this date. - J.D. Santucci Photo

SBW cabooses 13807 and 13920 - on caboose track at Yard Center June 1983. If you look closely, that is a C&EI high cube box car behind them. - JD Santucci Photo

Other Features
The two "boxes on the A end of the Short Bay Window cabooses were a tool box and a fuel tank box.

There was some plumbing running from the top of the fuel tank, down the side, under the floor and possibly connected to the plumbing that existed on both end frames.

Just to the right of the air reservoir tank on the underframe were a pair of simple brackets, apparently for holding spare coupler knuckles.

The caboose was electrically powered by batteries and an end-mounted axle-driven generator for the radio.

Marker lights like those used on locomotive underframes were applied on these cabsto illuminate the steps.

In addition to the smoke jack and the "firecracker" radio antennea on the roof, there was a toilet vent and a short black pipe(?) jutting up. The purpose of this pipe is unknown but immediately below it floorplans show that there was an unidentified object, perhaps a conductor's table.

The next three images are close-ups of #13731

Detail of 13731 - at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01. Apologies for the image quality, these photos were shot "on the fly" under less than ideal conditions, but may provide some helpful information - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 - "A" end detail, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 - at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 - "B" end brake wheel, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 - from the "B" end, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 -
from the "A" end, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo ·

Detail of 13731 - another view of the "A" end, at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

Detail of 13731 - at Denison, Texas; 11/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo

      SBW Order 2 - #13815-13965

MP 13832 - From MP's third order for these cabs. Still looking good in it's original paint at Short Line Junction, Iowa. 8/13/97 - photo © RailArc

MP 13847 - the brand new caboose gleams outside the MoPac's Sedalia, Missouri shops. The #13847 was part of the second group of short bay window cabs to be built (#13825-13965) throughout 1980. - Missouri Pacific Photo/Daryl Favignano Collection

MP 13847 - Still in red paint and in active service on a hot August day in 2002. It's sitting on what is believed to be Central Kansas trackage. - Nathan Holmes/ DRGW.Net

SBW caboose 13866 - at 26th Street Yard, Chicago Heights, June 1992. - JD Santucci Photo

Another view of the 13866. - JD Santucci Photo

Another view of the 13866. - JD Santucci Photo

MP 13920 - was part of the second of three groups of shortys to be built by MoPac. Currently located in north Fort Collins, Colorado. Car is visible from College Avenue. (US Route 287). It has been located there, unmoved for about a year now. Photo taken August 2002. - © 2002, Gene Fusco Photo

NOW AVAILABLE: HO model kit of a Mo-Pac Short Bay Window Caboose from Rail Yard Models. This model is a craftsman style cast urethane kit featuring a one piece body, trucks with semi-scale metal wheelsets and Mo-Pac decals. I can testify that creator Gene Fusco has taken great pains to assure this is an accurate and enjoyable kit. The detailing is excellent and the kit includes a detailed booklet with color detail shots. Please visit for more information.

The next three images are close-ups of #13920

Roof Vents  - The larger bathroom vent is a bit squashed. The color is most decidedly rusted bare metal. The purpose of the black "tube" beside it is a bit of a puzzle, but it's probably a vent as well. The smoke jack (out of view), the slightly bent antenna and the base of the large vent are white, so this roof likely was painted white originally.

A quick, (but careful :^) peek under where the bathroom is shows a drain pipe straight to the great outdoors... This brings up an interesting question. Holding tanks were mandated for trains sometime in the '70's. (Some congressman got "bombed" by a passing train when on some unrelated fact-finding the story goes...) Anyway, it would be interesting to figure out if cabooses were or were not subject to this restriction, or if the SBWs slipped through because of it's late entry into the soon to be obsolete world of cabooses. Possibly these cars had holding tanks and "lost" them at some point in time. - © 2002, Gene Fusco Photo


Knuckle Holders - Know what these two things are located beside the air resevoir tank hanging off the underframe? These two brackets each would hold a knuckle, along with it's pin which fits through holes on the sides of the carriers. - © 2002, Gene Fusco Photo


Brake Whistle - The plumbing for this is located between the end rail support channels. The large pipe terminates in a cutoff valve that the trainmen could use to make a brake application. A branch comes off this line and has a small "peanut" whistle used to signal grade crossings when backing up. - © 2002, Gene Fusco Photo

Called a Short Bay Cab by the MoPac, those that pulled and rode in them simply referred to them as "doghouse cabooses", a term that stuck to this style like glue. Despite appearing to be lighter than more traditional way cars, they actually offered a pretty good ride.

Including the "Doghouse" nicname, "outhouse," "shack on a flat," "Jenks party barge," and the usual assortment of 'colorful' terms were used to refer to this caboose style on the MoPac and most other roads that used them.

Other caboose nicnames include "crummies" (as some of them really were) "crumb box," "hacks," "brain box" (sic), "loony bins," "cabins" (a PRR term), "van" (Canadian origin) and "buggies" (a New England term). I've heard a few Conductors refer to the extended vision cab cupolas as "the Throne." And I always thought that was the toilet. (thanks 'Tuch' and R. Kirkpatrick)

      SBW Order 3 - #13000-13900

Shorty MP 13019
- The numbered lower, #13019 is from the third and final group of MoPac shorty's ... seen here at snowy Wichita, Kansas on February 16, 1987 - © Ronald Estes, Rail Images/ T. Greuter Collection ·

MP Caboose 13033 - is brand new in 1977. It is seen on a Laredo bound freight in 1977. - Robert Pollard Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

MP 13046 -
with GP-38-2 #2129 in Villa Grove, Illinois on July 30, 1985 - Photographer unknown/T. Greuter Collection

MP 13060
- Shot at UP East Los Angeles in 1982, was of the third and final series for the MoP's SBW fleet. - Photographer unknown/T. Greuter Collection

MP 13097
- also at Wichita, Kansas on February 16, 1987 - © Ronald Estes, Rail Images/ T. Greuter Collection ·

Caboose #13099
The Short Bay Window cabooses #13099 would never officially be a member of the Missouri Pacific caboose fleet. This cab ended-up being sold to the Texas-Mexican Railway and numbered as their #316 - Jerry Micheals, "Missouri Pacifc Cabooses"

Where Old Cabooses Go To Die
Recently confirmed (July 26, 2003), there is a MoPac SBW cab body - MP #13045 - on the ground (minus trucks) at an Anderson Construction owned scrapyard/storage lot in Council Bluffs, Iowa. A SBW caboose with an identical number was reported to be down in Texas. Photos are posted here.

- T. Greuter Photos

To find it, there is a tree-hidden dirt road which I assume is a continuation of 19th Avenue, running east of the BN tracks and 4th Street. Continued past the gravel yards and elevators...  there was a scrap-junkyard/trailer storage area down this road a bit.

Anyway, there I saw it... just a glimpse in a clutter of tractors and trailers of a faded red box hidden in an overgrowth of weeds and brush. It was on the ground, in pretty ratty shape and from the looks of it, it had been rusting away there for some time. There was also a UP cupola caboose #25661 and an unidentified track inspection car(?) nearby. The weeds were growing high -up through the decking blocking access inside. The pics don't show much, but what's left of #13045 is there.



      MP Short Bay-Window to Gang Transport Conversions

MP 7504
- still working for a living in MofW service on the UP. The former MP 13823 was rebuilt by Union Pacific in May 1995 and put into MofW service the following month. This shorty was spotted in the Council Bluffs, Iowa yard paired with a MP flat w/crane car on August 11, 2001 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 7504
- at Council Bluffs, Iowa; August 11, 2001 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 7504 - in MoW service with burro crane at Council Bluffs, Iowa; August 11, 2001 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 7504
- One of thirteen from this series now coated in MofW green by Union Pacific, the windows screened, the interiors removed and benches installed for gang transport car assignments in mantainence-of-way work. The steps & trucks are still red, left uncoated. UP's Council Bluffs, Iowa yard. 8/11/01 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 7504 -
(ex-13823) closeup of axle-driven generator mounted to the truck of a shorty cab. The side sill has a cut-out to allow plenty of freedom-of- movement for the device. August 11, 2001 - © T. Greuter photo ·

MP 7509 - Ex-MP 13876, was in the middle of a train at Bond, CO, 8/13/2002.  This MofW cab escaped the medicinal green paint used by Union Pacific. - Nathan Holmes / DRGW.Net


      Short Bay-Window Caboose Copies on Other Roads

The Rest of the "Short-Body Platform-type" Caboose Story

MoPac's "Party Barges" must have struck some other roads as being a move in the right direction; Union Pacific, Southern Pacific, and the Louisville & Nashville all copied the MoP model. TexMex bought one directly from MoPac's production line.

International Car put out their new platform-type, short bay-window cabooses design in the mid-1970's, and the Missouri Pacific looked to be a prime client. I.C. proposed to build 50 of these cars in 1976 at $41,887 per car, but the interested Missouri Pacific opted to produce the car at their own Sedalia and DeSoto Shops, which had a long history of producing freight cars and cabooses for the company. Both shops combined their efforts to assemble each car.

In turn, the Union Pacific tested one of these platform-style cabooses in the development of their own caboose, borrowing heavily from the MoPac plans for it's own CA-11, 11A and 12 class cabooses.


Southern Pacific also produced thier own version of the Shorty, SP #1, built in 1980. (Whether this was a direct copy of MoPac's Shorty or International Car's version is hard to say) This caboose would truly be one-of-a-kind. SP #1 was the only short-bodied car to be built by the railroad. SP deemed the effort too costly. Shortly afterward cabooses as we knew them were being phased-out.

Click here for more at
Southern Pacific Caboose #1 / Class C-50-10 'Short Body' bay window type

Southern Pacific #1 is currently for sale on UPRR: UPRR - For Sale / Photo - SP #1
For inquires about any cars offered by UP, phone UPRR at 402-233-2330


The CSX / Family Lines System / L&N also copied some of the SBW cabooses in the 1980's. See page 66 of Volume II of Cabins, Crummies, and Hacks by John Henderson.    (Jim Ogden,

CSX shoving platform -

The model CSX has (use link above) was inherited from Seaboard System whom acquired them with the consolidation of the Family Lines System in to Seaboard. The FLS cabooses came from the L&N. They were built by FGE in Alexandria, VA. If you look closely at them you will observe differences from the MoPac version. The overhangs at either end over the doors are a little bit shorter on the CSX one shown in the photo. The handrail layout is also a bit different.

Having been inside several of them during my career, the interiors were a little less quality grade in construction as well. They were painted a light green inside as opposed to the MoPac's use of industrial gray. (Tuch Santucci)

UP 25892 - a CA-11 class caboose at Council Bluffs Iowa, 8/11/01 - T. Greuter Photo

SP subsidiary Willamatte & Pacific caboose #1 - is a former Missouri Pacific caboose (not the same car as SP #1). Original MP number not known. It is seen at Union Station in Portland, Oregon in 1997. - Steve Schuman Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection

MoPac Cabooses


Featured Photographers:
Daryl Favignano Collection, Gene Fusco, Glen Beans, Brian Paul Ehni, Tony Moses, Lee Berglund, Ronald Estes, Houser, Steve Schuman Photo/Robert Pollard Photo/Jay Glenewinkel Collection, Nathan Holmes & RailArc

Recommended Links:
Elvin Klepzig's Missouri Pacific Archive
Great Plains Rail Gallery Cabooses

"Cabooses of the Missouri Pacific Lines"
by G.J. Michels Jr. (a Must-Have!)

The Eagle, MPHS Newsletter

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