The Railroad Caboose
By William F. Knapke with Freeman Hubbard.
Cloth with dust jacket, 8.75x5.75", 160 pages, color photos throughout, map, bibliography. 2016.
Nearly everyone is familiar with the railroad caboose. Formerly, it was the punctuation mark that concluded every freight train - a mobile office for the crew, a lookout post. It was a van on the Canadian National, a cabin car on the Pennsylvania, a buggy on the Boston & Maine; but by whatever name, it remains symbolic of the 20th century railroad scene.
The little red frame shanty that trailed faithfully after every string of freight cars went through many changes in its hundred-plus years. The box-like shelter which train crews built to shield their cooking fires on spare flat cars in the mid-1800s, the converted boxcars with sliding doors introduced around the turn of the century, the cupola-topped wooden crummy popular before World War II, all have gave way to more modern and better equipped vehicles.
"The latest caboose with sleek bay windows of shatterproof glass, automatic oil heaters, electric lights, refrigerators, radio-telephones between locomotive and wayside station - reflect the technological advances made by North American railroads. The caboose became merely a rolling office, efficient and functional, rather than the 'home away from home' that it used to be.
The Railroad Caboose by William F. Knapke with Freeman Hubbard is the most distinctive, most comprehensive volume ever built around this piece of railroad rolling stock. A century of tradition is served up in an easy-to-read style with a matchless picture gallery."