Thursday, June 18, 2009
Tonight on Good Question, a viewer asks, “When I was a child, I always enjoyed seeing the caboose at the end of the train. Why is the caboose no longer used?” Good question.
The caboose has a long history. It was once used as a mobile office for the train crew. It was also their shelter, serving as living quarters on long trips.
There are several different types of the caboose as well as many different slang terms for it, such as clown wagon, hack, waycar, dog house, go cart and glory wag.
All freight trains in the U.S. were required by law to have a caboose and a full crew. But technology advanced and soon put the caboose out of business. Trains no longer needed one.
Also, railroads claimed that the caboose was a dangerous place.
You can still see a caboose every now and then. Some railroads still use them, mainly in railyards. Several have been turned into yard art, parts of restaurants and even rooms to rent.
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