The caboose was once the office and rolling home of freight train crews. Today you’ll find more cabooses at chambers of commerce and fast food restaurants than on the rails. Their disappearance is a fascinating story of safety, technology, management, and labor union issues. New Mexico had an important role in the discussion of whether to keep or eliminate this important element of the country’s railroading heritage. Recently, hundreds of cabooses are finding new acceptance in locations throughout the country.
Fred Friedman is a retired New Mexico Transportation Department Railroad Bureau chief, with an extensive background in New Mexico territorial and state railroad history. He has written and lectured throughout New Mexico on the subject.