02. Southern Pacific Caboose
Mural Depiction

This caboose was donated to the City of Benson by the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1995 and now sits on the corner of San Pedro and 4th Streets.

Background Information

A caboose is a manned North American railroad car coupled at the end of a freight train. Cabooses provide shelter for the crew at the end of a train, who were long required for switching and shunting, and to keep a lookout for load shifting, damage to equipment and cargo, and overheating axles.

Originally flatcars fitted with cabins or modified box cars, they later became purpose-built with projections above or to the sides of the car to allow crew to observe the train from shelter. The caboose also served as the conductor's office, and on long routes included accommodation and cooking facilities.

Although the caboose has largely fallen out of use, some are still retained by railroads in a reserve capacity. These cabooses are typically used in and around rail yards. Other uses for the caboose include "special" trains, where the train is involved in some sort of railway maintenance, or as part of survey trains that inspect remote rail lines after natural disasters to check for damage. Others have been modified for use in research roles to investigate complaints from residents or business owners regarding trains in certain locations. Finally, some are coupled to trains for special events, including historical tours.
 

Interior of an Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad caboose from 1943. Note the rim around the top of the stove. This helped to keep pans and coffee pots from sliding off while the train was in motion. Spartan in comforts, it provided warmth and removed the crews from inclement weather.

Mural Information

Artist:  Doug Quarles

Size:     5' x 9'

Completed: September 2013

Sponsors: 

   City of Benson

   Arizona G & T Cooperatives

   Benson Beautification

   Benson Jr. Women

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