Cabooses on the Lackawanna Terminal Railway

By contract with the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's operating union, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Employees, who represent on-train personnel, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway is required to provide cabooses on all trains when requested by the crew running that train. To this end the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Rail Operations relies primarily on a fleet of extended vision cabooses plus a small group of recently acquired bay window cabooses. The fleet is a mixture of former Reading hacks, and some home-built cabooses designed and constructed at the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Scranton Car Shops. The wide vision cabooses are numbered  in the 400-419 series. The bay window cabooses are numbered in the 300 series.

The wide vision cabooses wear two schemes. Initially, the cabooses built in the Scranton shops wore the same maroon/yellow/gray scheme as the diesel fleet. With the purchase of three ex-Reading hacks, the shop forces painted the cabooses in the new  "simplified scheme" eliminating the gray stripe from the center of the carbody. The bay window cabooses are painted red and have been modified for service on the eastern end of the system.



Pictured arriving at the fuel pit at the East Buffalo engine facility is one of the 400 class wide vision cabooses home-built by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Scranton Car Shop. This caboose and the GP-7 1758 have just arrived after working the local drill that serves the National Chemical and Refining Corporation in Depew, New York just outside of Buffalo.


Recently, following an upturn in traffic the Labor Relations Department contacted the Purchasing Department for additional cabooses due to a contract clause that says all crews will have cabooses available for their use on all through and local freight trains.

Unfortunately, by this time in the history of the railroads in the Northeast most cabooses had already been sold or scrapped leaving the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Purchasing Department to search across the country for the needed cabooses. Hardly a caboose was found that met the needs of the train crews without extensive rebuilding.


Fortunately, an intern from the Accounting Department living with her parents near a siding on the Delaware and Hudson in Throop, Pennsylvania spotted three cabooses that appeared to be in good shape. Research into the rolling stock uncovered that a young couple intent on starting a railroad theme restaurant and motel in the area had formed a Limited Liability Corporation through which they had purchased three cabooses from the Southern Pacific Railroad and had them shipped to the Scranton area. Before they could begin construction, the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction's in-house lawyers contacted the town fathers in Throop, Pa. where the hotel/restaurant was to be built and, by dint of a large blatant cash payoff, stopped the permits from being issued. Due to the delays and stonewalling of the city fathers at the behest of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's most persuasive and justifiable arguments the couple's company eventually went bankrupt and the railroad was able to purchase the needed cabooses and bargain basement prices that were far less than the payoff to the city officials.


The cabooses were run through the Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Car Shops in Scranton for light repairs and installation of wire screen window protectors and sent out on the road.


So that there remains no concern as to the welfare of the young couple whose plans were so blatantly crushed by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway, their dreams smashed to pieces. So to thwart the inception of frivolous lawsuits that would inevitably follow, both husband and wife were hired by the Lackawanna Terminal Railroad's Mechanical Department as passenger coach cleaners, a job that has no responsibilities since the railroad owns no passenger equipment.

Two of the three ex-Southern Pacific cabooses are seen being moved to the shops in East Buffalo prior to being placed in service. These cabooses were acquire when there owner, a company wanting to build a railroad theme restaurant and hotel suddenly went bankrupt after the permits they needed to build the facility were not forthcoming from the city of Throop, Pa. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department of Denial and Archive Destruction has vehemently denied any complicity in the failure of the city of Throop to expeditiously grant the builder the required permits and states categorically that the railroad has bent over backwards to help the owners of the company recover from the poor treatment they received from the city of Throop, Pa. by hiring the young couple as coach cleaners at the East Buffalo car shops.  


  


In the picture of the 350 above you can see that the trucks that were on the car when acquired by the Lackawanna Terminal Railway have been changed out and the car now sports express trucks which provide the crew with a much smoother ride. The original trucks that were on the car were worn out in so many ways from prior service on the Southern Pacific Railroad that the crews complained about the ride and started filing grievances against the company for not providing the crews with safe and proper equipment in which to work. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Management Team immediately entered into negotiations with the Brotherhood of Locomotive Employees (BLE) which represents on- train crafts. A settlement was reached after white envelopes filled with blatant cash payoffs were distributed to the representatives of the grieving parties. A new and beneficial program was instituted called the "Adopt-a-Truck" action plan. This new and effective program allows crew members to adopt a worn out truck or wheel set and save toward the purchase of a better riding truck or wheel set for one or more cabooses. Once the appropriate amount of money has been acquired in a special interest bearing fund held by the company a truck or wheel set is purchased from the company and installed by the mechanical department on a caboose chosen by a labor/management cooperative committee consisting of members of, naturally, management and labor. The caboose number 350 has just received new trucks on both ends and is ready for service after a special ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the first successfully completed truck transplant completely paid for by the very same employees who kept whining and complaining thus translating words, and cash, into a creative and lasting fix for a problem that vexed both the train crews and the managers that are forced to oversee them. The Lackawanna Terminal Railway's Department for the Humane treatment of Employees and Other Furry Creatures takes full credit for this ground breaking, paradigm shifting approach toward employee/employer relations in general and problem solving as a profit center for labor leaders specifically.


LT 404 is one of three such cabooses that were available for purchase at the startup of the Lackawanna Terminal Railway. The cars were completely rebuilt and modernized before being placed in service.


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