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Portola in Plumas County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)
 

Western Pacific Railroad 484

Steel Bay Window Caboose

 
 
Western Pacific Railroad 484 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
1. Western Pacific Railroad 484 Marker
Inscription.  WP 484 represents the Western Pacific's final order for cabooses. While boasting the latest accessories when it was built, overall the 484 differs very little from the first steel cabooses the WP acquired 25 years earlier. You can compare it to Western Pacific 428 in our collection, a member of this first order from 1955.

The "bay window" caboose was developed in the early 1920's, reported on the Akron, Canton and Youngstown Railroad in Ohio. Crews found that the bay windows allowed them to view farther up the sides of the train, making it easier to spot problems such as dragging parts or derailed wheels. It also proved to be a safer design. A caboose, being at the very end of a train, is subject to bone-jarring "slack action", caused when the slack in each coupling between cars is taken out as the train starts moving. By the time the slack runs out at the caboose, the car is often jerked forward, throwing unwary crew members out of their seats. If thrown from a tall cupola, the result was often serious injury.

Western Pacific was an early convert to the bay window design, building their first version in 1942. Neighboring railroad
Western Pacific Caboose #484 & Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
2. Western Pacific Caboose #484 & Marker
Southern Pacific discovered bay windows in 1949 and both railroads made them their standard caboose design. In contrast, fellow California railroad Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe remained true to the cupola design until the end of widespread caboose use.

builder • International Car Co.
built • May 1980
type • Steel Bay Window
length • 37' 0" overall
operating weight • 49,500 lbs
acquisition • donated by Union Pacific
 
Erected by Western Pacific Railroad Museum.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Railroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 39° 48.228′ N, 120° 28.62′ W. Marker is in Portola, California, in Plumas County. Marker can be reached from Western Pacific Way ¼ mile west of Main Street. Marker and caboose are located in the Western Pacific Railroad Museum yard. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 700 Western Pacific Way, Portola CA 96122, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Western Pacific Railroad 428 (a few steps from this marker); Western Pacific Railroad 501 (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Pacific Railroad 925-C (within shouting distance of this marker); Southern Pacific Railroad MW208 (within shouting distance of this
Western Pacific Caboose #484 image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
3. Western Pacific Caboose #484
(bay window visible on side)
marker); Sacramento Northern Railway 712 (within shouting distance of this marker); Western Pacific Railroad 805-A (within shouting distance of this marker); Central California Traction Company 24 (within shouting distance of this marker); Union Pacific Railroad 6946 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Portola.
 
Also see . . .
1. What is a "Bay-Window" Caboose?. With the shift from wooden to steel caboose construction was the introduction of a new caboose design that replaced the traditional roof-mounted “cupola” with “bay-windows” attached to the sides of the caboose. As freight cars grew taller, the effectiveness of cupolas as practical observation points was diminished. This was especially true on lines that suffered from low clearances and were incapable of making cupolas high enough to see over the top of the tallest freight cars. (Submitted on December 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Western Pacific Caboose #484 photo gallery. (Submitted on December 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
 
Western Pacific Caboose #484 image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, June 22, 2016
4. Western Pacific Caboose #484
(bay window visible on side)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 34 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on December 26, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 7, 2021