Altoona in Blair County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
PRR Class N5 Cabin Car (or Caboose) No. 477577
"A lot of them put curtains in there and little rugs.... They had a pot-bellied stove and they were all good cooks."
- Richard Jackson, Yardmaster
On the road, freight crews climbed up into the cupola, inspecting the train ahead for signs of trouble. Smoke from an overheated axle bearing or a load that had shifted and was sticking out from the side of a car could cause a derailment. The crews did their paperwork here, too.
What's a caboose?
Well, it was a look-out, a rolling office, a home away from home. The caboose had bunks for the crews to sleep on at the end of the run, bins for clothes and tools, and a coal-fired stove for cooking and heating. Ten tracks might have been filled with cabin cars, many with crews catching sleep or a meal before their next run.
Most called this car a caboose, but the Pennsy, with its habit of using distinctive names, called it a cabin car.
The PRR's N5 class, introduced in 1914, was the industry's first all-steel caboose. This car was built here in Altoona in 1929.
As safer wheel bearings, reliable radio communications,
Today, cabooses are used mostly on local runs that have long back-ups where it's unsafe for crew to ride the side or end of a freight car.
At the end of a run away from their home terminal, crews now sleep in a motel.
Erected by Railroaders Memorial Museum.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Railroads & Streetcars. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1914.
Location. 40° 30.828′ N, 78° 23.958′ W. Marker is in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in Blair County. Marker and Cabin Car are on the grounds of the Railroaders Memorial Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1300 9th Avenue, Altoona PA 16602, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. PRR Class X29L Steel Boxcar No. 2136 (a few steps from this marker); The Master Mechanic (a few steps from this marker); The Altoona Works (a few steps from this marker); The Posy Gang (a few steps from this marker); PRR Class D78F Dining Car No. 4468 (within shouting distance of this marker); Track Cars William Nesbit (within shouting distance of this marker); The Juniata Shops (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Altoona.
Also see . . .
1. PRR Class N5 Cabin Car Specs. PRR Railfan website entry (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Steel Cabin Car Painting & Lettering. Pensy RR website entry (Submitted on April 1, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
3. Pennsylvania Railroad Technical and Historical Society. Society website homepage (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
4. History of the Altoona Railroad Shops. National Park Service website entry (Submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Credits. This page was last revised on April 1, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 1,622 times since then and 198 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on February 14, 2012, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.