The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A brief look at a drover’s caboose (or two)

In the previous post (here) I mentioned that the huge “streamlined caboose” of Myron Davis could have been a modern take on a drover’s caboose. Actual drover’s caboose models have been scratchbuilt in American OO a few times, one being visible in the layout photos of the Norfolk and Ohio of Carl Appel (it may be seen here). 

This model is not that same model built by Appel (the roof shapes are different, for example), but it is the same general prototype and I will be working it over for my Orient railway.

Almost certainly Appel and the builder of this model were working from the drawings published in Model Railroader and reprinted in The Model Railroader Cyclopedia. There we learn that the prototype car is from the San Luis Central. They call it with the drawing a “Combination Passenger, Caboose, and Baggage Car.”

There are a few little changes compared to the drawing, most notably the number of windows in the baggage door.

The car has a Nason frame and in the photos is on Famoco trucks, which I will be changing out (likely to Nason trucks). The one other interesting, and somewhat hidden, commercial part are the steps, which are Scale-Craft from the steel side passenger car kits.

This car, nicely built overall, has one central detailing problem. My dad told me that his dad rode in one of these on the ATSF to take cattle to market, so let’s imagine you are a drover riding in this car, on a cold day. Where is the stove? It is in the baggage compartment! I’m thinking that the stack should be moved and also the roofwalks need some revision as well.

I had a memory of seeing another OO drover’s caboose, and found the photo in some materials that Bill Gilbert had clipped from magazines. With a little more digging I see that it is from the June, 1947 issue of Model Railroader and is a model built by H. R. Treat of Teaneck, NJ. In the caption it says that he “likes unique and unusual equipment” and that he built the model from the Cyclopedia plans for his Barbaraton & Theapolis RR.

Any more examples out there? It is interesting how much impact the Cyclopedia had, I have seen a number of models (scratchbuilt and commercial) of various prototypes that are clearly based on those published plans.

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