caboose lighting

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sat Dec 23 09:25:42 EST 2017


Electric lighting was a relatively late addition to cabooses. It did not arrive until, I believe, the C-32 cabs. Now there was a plan in place to put battery power on the earlier cabs, but I think the only use was for the yellow lights on the ends. When I bought my VGN 342 in 1989, work had started on it, at some point, to install batteries for that, conduit run and wire but it was never complete. The sawdust from the drilling into the wood was still very fresh. I doubt the voltage was much other than 12 volt battery power, I cannot speak for the C-32. I know they retrofitted the C-31s with generators.

I doubt very seriously that the CF ever got any kind of lighting other than kerosene lamps. For the cupola, the only lamp would have been a small, gauge lamp to light the face of the brake gauge, and two or three  lamps down by the desk and the other end of the cab.

Ken Miller
> On Dec 23, 2017, at 8:42 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:
> In the beginning, I am supposing there were oil lamps and perhaps the flicker from the coal stove and conductor would sit at his desk and squint through his paper work.  At some point, electricity came on the scene, I would guess through a generator run off one of the axles.  Specifically in the case of the CF series, what kind electric of lighting was installed?  Anything in the cupola?   Were there specific points that got bulbs in all cars, any variations?  Were outlets installed on the outside for electric markers?  Any "porch lights" on the ends?  And really down in the details, does anybody know  what voltage/frequency was generated or was it all battery powered?
> Jim Cochran
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