Caboose No. 6 is one of 25 identical
cars built in 1949 by the skilled workers at the Missouri-Kansas-Texas
Railroad (MKT) shops in Denison, Texas. The photo below
shows the car at the Gulf Coast Railroad Museum.
In the picture above, No. 6 is seen bringing up the markers
on a Gulf Coast Railroad Museum excursion on the Moscow, Camden
& San Augustine Railroad, an East Texas short line.
Below, No. 6 in service on the MKT in the Katy's 1960s era red
paint scheme. (Photo below courtesy of Max Miller.)
Originally numbered 1014 and painted “Sloan Yellow,”
No. 6, a typical cupola caboose, saw service on all MKT lines
in the Southwest United States. Before the age of computers,
the caboose served as the “office” of a freight train,
where the conductor handled the paper work related to the train’s
operation and the brakeman watched over the train as it traveled
along the railroad.
At an unknown time, the car was overhauled, painted in MKT’s
overall red paint scheme and renumbered 6. During much
of the mid-1980s, No. 6 worked in Oklahoma, but in 1988, the
victim of spray paint can-wielding vandals, No. 6 was repainted
and reassigned to Houston. The car worked regularly between
Houston and Galveston on a freight train known by railroaders
as the “Salty.” The caboose is seen in that
service in the photo below, which was taken by Gary Morris.
No. 6 is believed to have been the last standard cupola caboose
in service on the MKT. The MKT was merged into the Union
Pacific Railroad in late 1988. During the winter of 1988-1989,
No. 6 was stored as it lacked a heater to keep the crew warm
(the car originally had a coal-fired stove; the stove currently
displayed in the car was purchased by the museum after No. 6’s
The car never returned to regular railroad service, its retirement
brought on by the changing needs of modern railroading.
Union Pacific declared the car surplus and donated No. 6 to the
Gulf Coast Railroad Museum in May 1989.
Below, museum members inspect No. 6 at MKT's Eureka Yard in
Houston soon after the car was donated by Union Pacific.
The caboose was dispatched from Eureka Yard, much of which is
now abandoned, for its last in-service runs.
In late 2007 and early 2008, with funding from a grant
by Houston Endowment, No. 6 and sister museum car SP No. 4696
were shipped to Arkansas for cosmetic restoration by Cherokee
Mobile Services. The cars are seen below passing through Little
Rock on a rainy fall day in this photo by Ken Ziegenbein.
In the photo above, taken by Jim
Elgin of Cherokee Mobile Services, cosmetic restoration of No.
6 is almost complete, while SP No. 4696
waits in the background in primer.
The freshly painted No. 6 and No. 4696 returned to Houston in
late April 2008. The cars are seen below being delivered by Union
Pacific from Houston's Englewood Yard in these photos by Tom
Above, the cars have departed
Englewood on the UP local headed to Railwood. Two below, pushing
back onto the Railwood Industrial Park lead.
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