Rebuilt inside and out during as part of a multi-year restoration effort, the 2827 now wears a fresh red paint scheme and letters.
Norfolk & Western C18 Cabooses, #562770-562859
Like the bay window cabooses of the Nickel Plate, this group represented the most modern cabooses on the Wabash roster at the time of its merger into the Norfolk & Western Railway in 1964.
Most of the cabooses were built by the Wabash's Decatur Shops from 1945 through 1952. These were Wabash 2770 through 2849. The remainder of the group, Wabash 2850 through 2859, were built in 1955 by International Car Company of Kenton, Ohio. After their merger with the N&W, Wabash 2770 through 2859 were designated as C18 class by the Norfolk & Western. They were placed in pool service and were utilized over most of the post-1964 N&W system, except in Virginia and West Virginia. It was not until 1980 that they were used in local and mine runs in Virginia and West Virginia.
These cabooses retained the overall standard appearance of the other Wabash offset cupola cabooses. The centerline of the cupola was offset 7'3-1/6" from the centerline of the caboose body side. The cabin was all-steel fabrication and had end platform ladders with rooftop running boards. There were no end windows, except for the window in the end doors. Each side had three windows originally, but with different arrangements. Each side had two windows, paired closely together and at the opposite end from the cupola. On the lavatory side of the car, the third window indicated the toilet location inside the cabin, and was directly below the forward side window of the cupola. On the opposite side, the third window was in the centerline of the caboose body side and indicated the location of the conductor's desk.
The interesting feature about the appearance of these cabooses was the cupola. It was streamlined, angled design, very similar to the cupola found on the Pennsylvania Railroad's N5C and N8 classes of cabooses. The Pennsy controlled the Wabash, so perhaps the cupola design of the most modern Wabash cabooses was an influence from its parent, Pennsy. The cupola had two windows per side and two windows per end.
The rigid non-cushioned underframe was equipped with Miner CR-3 rubber draft gear. The center sill was 36.2 pounds per foot Z-section steel.
The C18 class caboose rode on swing motion trucks. Originally, 562770 through 562849, when obtained in the merger, had 4-1/4" and 8" bearings, while 562850 through 562859 had 5" x 9" bearings. This was the last of the group to be built (by International). However, according to N&W Mechanical Department drawings, the last group of C18s had bearings changed to the same size as the rest of the class. All bearings were plain design. The springs were double elliptic. Wheels were 33" in diameter, and each truck weighed an estimated 7,200 pounds. Brakes were AB type, with AB-1012 cylinders. Brake shoes were cast iron.
Cabooses 56770 through 562789 weighed 46,300 pounds; 562790 through 562859 weighed 48,300 pounds. They measured 37' 9-3/4" coupled length, 35' 3-3/4" over strikers, 14' 8-3/4" in height from top of rail to top of cupola roof, and 9' 10-3/8" wide over side step to side step. They were Plate B clearance.
Originally, the cabin exterior was equipped with two bunks on the A end, and icebox-type refrigerator, sink, overhead water tank, flush toilet, oil stove, conductor's desk with chair, and a battery-powered radio. Interior lighting was provided by Aladdin oil lamps No. 23000.
After several years of service on the N&W, FRA marker lights were added at each end of the outside platform, connected to disposable batteries for power. In addition, N&W modernized the interiors. The major change was the relocation of the toiler to the A end, opposite the bunks.
The former toilet-side window was plated over. On the opposite caboose side, the windows on the A end were plated over, leaving only one window, which was centered on the body side. Rock guards were added to the cupola side windows and the body side windows at the conductor's desk.
The toilet and cupola end windows were glazed with polycarbonate.
These cabooses were repainted and numbered in the N&W system starting in November 1964, with 562821 and ending in July 1968 with 562795. Most of the repainting was done at Decatur, Illinois, while a few cabooses were repainted at Frankfort, Indiana, and Moberly, Kansas City, and Saint Louis, Missouri.
562770 carried a rebuilt date (7-52) as the built date.
562799 and 562804 had the words CHICAGO TERMINAL stenciled in the front of the road number.
For a period of time during 1971, 562780, 562783, 562785, and 562791 were assigned to the Windsor, Ontario, Canada, division for service.
562784 was rebuilt by Wabash Shops in February 1954.
562806 and 562812 carried rebuilt dates (1-52 and 3-52, respectively) as the built dates.
562786 was renumbered 1776 and was repainted Bicentennial red, white and blue at Decatur, Illinois, in 1975.
562789 and 562796 carried a large "T" after the road number, possibly for Terminal, during the 1980s.
562789 and 562884 were removed from storage at Decatur, Illinois, and were assigned on May 16, 1984 to the Norfolk, Franklin & Danville Railway for service. These cabs were refused by the NF&D due to poor condition and were returned to storage, first at Norfolk, Virginia, and then at Bellevue, Ohio.
The following cabooses were converted to liquid propane gas for heating during 1981: 562770, 562772, 562781, 562792, 562794, 562799, 562803, 562806, 562807, 562812, 562814, 562819, 562820, 562821, 562834, 562851, and 562853.
Source: Cabooses of the N&W by Robert C. Bowers and James F. Brewer
Reprinted with permission from the Norfolk & Western Railway Historical Society.