Books: Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Vol. 2 - Cabooses

Signature Press

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Signature Press Books: Southern Pacific Freight Cars, Vol. 2 - Cabooses

By Anthony W. Thompson

This is the second volume in a series on Southern Pacific freight cars. It covers just one car type, the caboose. The era is from 1871 through the end of caboose construction in 1980. The book contains an extensive array of rosters, photos and, where possible, drawings of the major car classes, along with other material as available, such as construction photos, publicity photos, lettering drawings, and so forth. Survival of the cars over the years is presented, as are numerous photos of the cars in service.

The book opens with an introductory section of background information, then covers the early wood cabooses (1871 to 1917), the massive number of Class C-30-1 cars of the 1920s, additional wood cars, and the all-steel cupola cabooses built from 1937 to 1942.

The coverage continues with the bay-window cars, first the early 30-ton cars just after World War II, then the 40-ton cars of the 1960s and Þnally the 50-ton cars built up until 1980. A separate chapter describes the various caboose conversions, from box cars, passenger cars, and locomotive tenders (into yard cabooses).

Freight car history has a number of dimensions. Built dates, car numbers, car characteristics are only the bare bones. Also of importance are reasons for construction of a particular car class and exploration of its design heritage, and indications of the longevity of the class, culminating in rebuilding or scrapping. This book endeavors to offer much of this type of history for the caboose fleet of the Southern Pacific.

Cabooses represent an essential part of the history of any railroad. The book's 681 photos (102 in color) of SP cabooses, most from company and museum archives and never before published, together with 17 drawings, extensive rosters, and bibliography, make it unusually complete and authoritative. This book provides a coverage that every railroad enthusiast, and of course Southern Pacific fans in particular, will enjoy.

Noted rail artist John Signor has created for the book the painting shown here, depicting a Southern Pacific yard scene containing the subjects of this series of books.

The well-known SP freight car historian Anthony W. Thompson has authored magazine articles on many SP cars, as well as researching and writing the car section of the book. Once again, a strong contribution to the history of the Southern Pacific and of the West has been furnished by Signature Press. Enthusiasts of those subjects will find this a superb book.

 

A comment on Volume 2:

"This is a rich, authoritative, well-researched book, as was Volume One before it. I expect to use it in my own research for years to come."

-- John Sipple, Model Railroad News



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