The Legacies of Iron County: Railroads and Tourism – The Caboose

Railroads, signified by the caboose, proved pivotal for this community. Freight trains were able to haul more raw materials than ever before, increasing profits for the mining companies. Rail traffic also brought thousands of tourists to the area each year to explore our scenic wonders. Hollywood came to Utah, travelling by train, into Cedar City. The railroad literally brought the world into our backyard.

The Caboose in it's original location, before being donating to the museum.

The Caboose in it’s original location, before being donated to the museum.

The caboose provided the train crew with shelter and working space while they threw switches and inspected for problems such as shifting loads, overheated axle bearings, and dragging equipment. The conductor used the caboose for filling out various forms and reports. On longer trips, the caboose provided living quarters.

Caboose 4618 was manufactured by Pacific Car and Foundry in 1978 and delivered to Southern Pacific.  In its heyday, Southern Pacific operated nearly 14,000 miles of track covering various routes stretching from Tennessee to California.

The body of Caboose 4618 was painted in mineral red with the bay window ends and the end walls in daylight orange, both traditional Southern Pacific colors. Cabooses in the SP system were designated C-XX-X. The “C” stood for caboose, the “XX” denoted the axle load in tons, and the final “X” represented the class, type, or design. Caboose 4618 is a C-50-7. Power for the caboose was provided by a small electrical generator mounted on the lead truck.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

Moving the Caboose to Frontier Homestead.

This caboose was purchased from a California rail yard in 2005 by George Lutterman. In April 2013 it was donated to Frontier Homestead State Park and moved in partnership with Iron County, Union Pacific, Construction Steel, Inc., and Gilbert Development, Inc.

 

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead

The restored Caboose in front of Frontier Homestead

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