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In the mid 1800’s, railroads became very important for the economic growth of many communities. The people in Cooper County knew they needed railroads to grow and prosper. They eagerly voted bonds to aid in constructing railroads, and land was purchased for four main railroad lines.

If a railroad went through a town, the town usually gained population and businesses. The trains were fast and comfortable, making stage coaches unnecessary and soon after trains arrived in the County, stagecoaches ceased to be needed.


There have been two major railroads that have traveled through Cooper County through the years. The major, longest lived and last railroad, was the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, also called the MKT, and the more minor railroad was the Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad.

The MKT, first known as the southern branch of the Union Pacific, was organized at Emporia in 1867. Work was begun on the road at Junction City, Kansas, in the summer of 1869, and in November the line was completed to Council Grove, Kansas, a distance of 37 miles; in December it was finished to Emporia, Kansas, 24 miles farther; in Feb., 1870, it was completed to Burlington, Kansas, 30 miles farther down the Neosho valley; in April another 30 miles took the road to Humboldt, Kansas, and on June 6 the line entered the Indian Territory, (present day Oklahoma), thus securing the sole right of way, with a land grant, through that territory.

The Osage Division of the MKT Railroad began as a railroad known as the St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division which was incorporated on April 20th, 1869. Completed in 1871, the railroad was a single-track, standard gauge steam railroad that ran approximately 38 miles from Holden, Missouri (in Johnson County) to the Missouri/Kansas state line. As the St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division quickly went bankrupt; the Katy Railroad officially completed the purchase of the charter on May 29th, 1872.

However, involvement may have dated back to 1870 (at the inception of the line) when Levi Parson and Francis Skiddy set into motion their plan to see that the Katy Railroad would be the first to reach Indian Territory, and the only one allowed to tap the riches of Texas and the Southwest. To this end, Parson and Skiddy set into motion a much larger plan that included the chartering of the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad in Kansas. The charter for the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad in Kansas was issued on May 7th, 1870. On the same day, the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad entered into an agreement allowing for the merger and consolidation of the company with the KATY Railroad. The Neosho Valley and Holden Railway Company was effectively a paper railroad and did not construct any railroad. The original plan of the Neosho Valley and Holden Railroad was to connect in the east with the St. Louis and Santa Fe Railroad, Missouri Division, and continue west To Emporia.


However, the rail line never reached Emporia; it only reached Paola, Kansas (where it connected with the Missouri Pacific Railroad). This created an orphan line with no connection to the main lines at either Emporia, Kansas or Sedalia, Missouri.

Research by: Harold Kerr II

Railroads page Railroad schedule.jpg
early MK&T slogan..jpg
Railroads page Map Missouri Pacific and


Katy Engine exiting the Boonville Katy Bridge circa 1980. From the Wayne Lammers collection.

As for development in Cooper County Missouri, on January 1, 1872 a contract was awarded for building the Northeastern Extension— under the name of the Tebo Neosho Railway—to Boonville in Cooper County, to Fayette in Howard County, and on to a junction with the North Missouri (Wabash) at Moberly, in Randolph County, Missouri.

The MKT track reached Pleasant Green in Cooper County on April 24, 1873 and by May 18 it reached Pilot Grove. The end-of-track reached Boonville on May 31, 1873. A celebration to mark the completion of the Northeastern Extension was held in Boonville on July 4, 1873, after the rail reached Fayette, Missouri on June 20, 1873. United States Congressman John Cosgrove was on hand for this celebration.

Before 1870, between Sedalia and Boonville, a span of thirty-four miles, there was hardly a house to be seen. Pilot Grove was laid out very soon after the railroad arrived, on May 30, 1873. Pleasant Green came into being on June 28. Clifton City, on September 29, 1873. These three towns became busy major centers of commerce for several years until the railroad was disbanded. Once the railroad no longer came through the towns, population dropped and businesses closed.

One interesting spot along the rail was south of Boonville, a place called “Lard Hill.” Old timers in the area described how this came to be known by this colorful name: an old Irish lady who was untidy in appearance, had a shack full of children and no husband. Allegedly, a KATY train killed the family pig one day, and, since the pig was in an area where it had no business being, and was a terrible looking thing, the claims agent valued the loss at $5.00. The woman was extremely upset about this and went about to get revenge. She rendered the fat from the pig and every time she heard the train whistle for the Boonville train, she would send her children out to put lard on the tracks. After several times of the train slipping and sliding to make its way, the railroad gave the woman more money for her loss.

Yet, nothing appears in the records to validate this story. Another story holds that disgruntled farmers in the area larded the rails as they were unhappy with the rail coming through their land.

The MKT ran until 1989 when it was succeeded by the Missouri Pacific Railroad (a.k.a MoPac). In 1997 the MoPac became the Union Pacific.



Katy Railroad Historical Society - There is a Katy Railroad Historical Society Museum located in Denison, Texas.

They are a 501c3 organization. 
Memberships are available on the website.
Their webpage:
Their phone number: 903-327-5966

Boonville Katy Depot & Caboose #134.

By Wayne Lammers on January 14, 2019.

Caboose painting by volunteers on Sept. 14, 2017 by Wayne Lammers.






























Map from 1877. MKT and river bridge (started 1873) top left, and Osage Valley and Southern Railroad (started 1865-68)

shown in the middle of the map coming out of Boonville. Rails along the Missouri River had not started by 1877.

The other line that came to Cooper County was the Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad.

The Southern Kansas was one of five railroads to receive their charter from the first legislature in Kansas in 1855. The capital stock of the Southern Kansas was fixed at $3,000,000, and the company was given a franchise to build a road "from the Missouri state line due west of Springfield to the west line of Kansas Territory." A. J. Dorn, William J. Godfroy, James M. Linn, Joseph C. Anderson and others were named as the incorporators, and the act stipulated that work was to begin on the road within nine years.

On October 17, 1860 a convention met at Topeka with about 125 delegates present, representing 20 counties of the territory. The principal work of the convention was the adoption of a resolution to the effect that a petition be presented to Congress asking an appropriation of public lands to aid in the construction of railroads in Kansas as follows: A railroad from the western boundary of the State of Missouri, where the Osage Valley & Southern Kansas railroad terminates, westwardly via Emporia, Fremont and Council Grove, to the Fort Riley Military Reservation, among other issues.

In 1867 a company was organized under the name of the Osage Valley & Southern Kansas Railroad Company, proposing to construct a railroad from Boonville on the Missouri river to Fort Scott and $100,000 in bonds was asked of Bates County with a donation of the right of way. Chicago was to be the northern terminus, an "air line" to "just where you like it." The county officials did not seem to catch onto this scheme and no action of the bond question was taken.


The Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad was chartered in 1857 by the Missouri Legislature to run from a point on the Pacific Railroad near present day Tipton, Missouri, to Emporia, Kansas. The charter was modified in 1858 to include an extension north to Boonville, Missouri. Grading on the line was completed to Versailles, Missouri, in 1861, but was halted due to the American Civil War. After the war the Boonville to Tipton portion was completed in 1868 and leased to the Pacific Railroad. In 1870, portions of the line were graded from Warsaw, Missouri, north to Cole Camp, Missouri.

Construction ended in 1872, when the line defaulted on bond payments. The Warsaw portion became the property of Benton County, Missouri, and was later used, in 1880, as the roadbed for the narrow-gauge Sedalia, Warsaw and Southern Railway between Sedalia and Warsaw.


The line between Tipton and Versailles, Missouri, was reorganized in 1880 and 1881, as the Boonville, St. Louis and Southern Railway, and was then leased to Jay Gould's Missouri Pacific Railway.

Boonville to Versailles RR, brakeman Earl Hays, on October 21, 1911. Two engines hit head on at 7:10 AM

 From the Wayne Lammers collection

From the Wayne Lammers collection

On January 13, 1880, a train wreck occurred on the Boonville Branch. The wreck occurred at 4:30 in the afternoon about three miles north of Tipton. Five box cars next to the engine jumped the track, tearing up the rails for about a hundred yards. There were passengers and baggage, as well as empty cars on the train, but these did not come off the track. No one was injured. The engineer, named Rosenhahn, gave the engine full steam when he saw that the head box car was trying to come onto his tender. This caused the coupling to break and the car broke away. Four of the broken cars were empty and one was full of merchandise headed to Boonville. No passenger or merchandise was late to arrive, due to good management of the situation.

The line operated until June 1935, when successor Missouri Pacific Railroad asked permission of the Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the line. The last train operated was to Versailles on April 30, 1936, and the entire property was torn up except for a bit at the Boonville end, which followed 2nd Street.

This line came up from Moniteau County through Kelly Township, where there was a station called Vermont Station. The name “Vermont” may have come from the fact that Nathaniel Leonard, a large property owner in southern Cooper County (over 1,500 acres in 1877) was born in the State of Vermont. The line went up through present-day Bunceton, Speed, and into Boonville.


The Osage Valley and Southern Kansas was succeeded by the Boonville, St Louis and Southern Railway in 1881. This railroad was then succeeded by the MoPac in 1956, which was then succeeded by the Union Pacific in 1997.


Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad

Legends of Kansas

Genealogy Trails

The Tipton (MO) Times, January 15, 1880:

The Missouri Pacific built a route from St. Louis to Kansas City, which came through the southern part of Cooper County. The line was completed through Otterville in 1860.

The second railroad to come through Cooper County was the Osage Valley and Southern Kansas Railroad, a branch line of the Missouri Pacific. It ran from Boonville to Versailles, with stops at Billingsville, Jo Town, New Palestine, Petersburg, Bunceton and Vermont. It was completed in 1868. This line was abandoned in 1937.


The third railroad was originally called the Tebo and Neosho, and later the Missouri, Kansas and Texas (shortened to “KATY” or “MKT”). It was built through Cooper County in the early 1870s and crossed the Missouri River at Boonville going through Prairie Lick, Pilot Grove, Harriston, Pleasant Green, and Clifton City. It ceased operation in 1986. The tracks have been removed and it has been converted to a recreation bike trail and is now called the Katy Trail. 


Prairie Lick and Harriston are now extinct, and Pleasant Green and Clifton City are now just settlements with a few homes. Pilot Grove, although not the large thriving city it once was, is now the second largest town in Cooper County.

The fourth railroad to come through Cooper County was called the River Route because it followed along the Missouri River. It was built by the Missouri Pacific and is now the Union Pacific. It was completed as far as Boonville in the early 1890s and then extended downriver to St. Louis in the early 1900s. It goes through Overton, Wooldridge, Boonville, Lamine, and Blackwater, but does not stop. All the above towns became prosperous while the trains regularly stopped there, but once the railroads left, so did business and the population.


Today, Overton, Wooldridge, Lamine and Speed have no businesses, but there are still a few homes there. The Union Pacific railroad still carries coal and other freight, especially coal, on a regular basis as it travels past Boonville.

Here is a 1897 railroad map showing the rails in both counties. The only one not showing is the Missouri Pacific or

later the Union Pacific that goes from Boonville down the river route to Jefferson City which started in 1899.

The railroad going from Sedalia to Boonville and then to New Franklin is the MK&T RR or the Katy.

The railroad from Boonville south to Versailles is the Southern Branch of the Missouri Pacific which ended in 1938.

The Missouri Pacific RR at the bottom of Cooper County had a short rail that ran through Otterville from Sedalia to St. Louis.


Pilot Grove train wreck World War II was brought to a close for the Citizens of Pilot Grove on May 6, 1945, when a train carrying ammunition wrecked about a half mile north of town. The fire and smoke caused by the derailment of twenty cars of oil, three cars of artillery shells, and part on the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, was visible for 35 miles, and it attracted hundreds of people to the scene. Flames and smoke leaped 400 feet into the air almost immediately; about 2 hours after the wreck the shells began to explode, and continued to explode for two hours. Shell fragments, casings, bags of powder, and some unexploded shells were scattered over the area. One shell landed near the depot, about a half mile away. Two crewmen were injured. It appeared that a brake beam on one of the cars had broken and was dragged along the track until it caught in a switch from a siding in town.















Source: Pilot Grove Centennial book


The Otterville 1948 collision of two Missouri Pacific trains left 12 passages and 2 Pullman employees dead, and 32 passengers and six crewmen injured. One train was creeping through a blinding snowstorm, at about 20 mile an hour, when the second train rammed into it. The trains were bound from Saint Louis to Kansas City. The accident happened two miles west of Syracuse, MO. Film Director Frank Ryan, his wife and three children died, as did the Ambassador to Spain and Argentina, Alexander Weddell and his wife also lost their lives.


Source: Carolyn Aggelar




Railroads have been credited with helping towns prosper and grow, and also may have led to the eventual demise of many Cooper County towns. Trains were especially helpful in moving animals and grain to major markets like St. Louis and Kansas City, plus allowing passengers to comfortably travel to where they wanted to go. Trains were a major travel improvement over stage coaches, wagons, or a horse and buggy.


The change from rail travel to gasoline vehicles, started the decline of railroads. By the early 1920’s, transportation by train was being replaced by trucks and cars, which were faster and provided a more convenient, comfortable, and a direct way to travel. This change from rail travel to gasoline vehicles, plus the depression, caused area populations to dramatically decrease, as people moved closer to towns that were larger, had more shopping opportunities, still had trains, and/or offered more job opportunities with higher pay.


Once cars and trucks became popular in the 1920’s, most trains were rerouted from going through the center of towns, to either bypass the towns, or were eliminated altogether. This was a big blow to farmers who depended on trains to haul their grain and cattle to major shipping points, such as At. Louis or Kansas City, and also eliminated passengers who had no other means of traveling from one city to another.


The railroad business declined dramatically by the mid-1930’s. This led to the closing of Boonville’s Tipton-Versailles Branch line, and the Katy continued to cut back service despite the building of the new lift span bridge over the Missouri River in 1932. The hope that the lift span bridge would bring more business to Cooper County did not become a reality.

Towns once serviced by trains that have almost, or totally disappeared, are: Petersburg, Vermont, Prairie Lick, Harriston, and Pleasant Green.


It is interesting to see how the population of Cooper County increased and decreased with the advent of the railroads which covered much of the County. The railroads have been credited with helping towns prosper and grow, and also may have led to their eventual demise. When populations declined, the number of post offices did too. 


You will notice that many of the early, small Cooper County towns were named after a local grain mill, many of which were located on the Petite Saline River.

Red = Missouri Pacific  Orange = Osage Valley   Green = Tebo/Neosho  Blue = River Route


This is the Union Pacific coal train #6040 going east through Boonville from the west on Feb. 5th, 2015 at 9:50 AM. It came from the coal fields in Colorado. We don't see as many of them here these days. They are using other sources of fuel nowadays in the power plants. This train does not stop in Boonville

A hobo heating up his lunch on the MK&T Railroad.

Circa 1890's by Max Schmidt

Old Team Track unloading wheat in box car on 2nd street Boonville circa 1920's.

From the Wayne Lammers collection.

UP Engine # 601 at sper Aug. 1998.jpeg

Union Pacific RR spur at Boonville, August 1998,

long before the existence of the Isle of Capri Casino Hotel.

By Wayne Lammers

Union Pacific siding at Boonville circa 1978. Photo by Wayne Lammers.


In 1869, people began talking about building a railroad bridge over the Missouri River at Boonville, but it was not until 1870 that steps were taken to build one. Once the Tebo and Neosho railroad was turned over to the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, a charter was obtained for the building of the bridge, plus with an act of Congress, the building began is 1872. The bridge was completed in January, 1874.


The first bridge was a swing-span bridge which was replaced a few years later by a lift-span bridge, which is the type that still stands.

An etching of the original   Boonville bridge, 9-1874.Chris Cruzjpg.jpg

First image of the Boonville MK&T RR Bridge from the 1870's.
From the Wayne Lammers collection

Bridges page Katy Bridge 1874.jpg
MK&T_Railroad_Bridge_Construction 1896 -

Third Katy Bridge in 1880

First Katy Bridge

KATY BR. & TRAIN #3 1950's _.jpg

Katy Bridge 1950's

Todd Baslee climbing the Katy South Tower of the Boonville Katy Bridge. Photo by Wayne Lammers October 14, 2004

Bridge from center of river copy.jpg
Barge passing through bridge. - Version

View from under the Katy Bridge

View from on the river, looking west

Bridges of Boonville - Version 2.jpg

The bridges of Boonville

Hot air balloon over Boonville Katy Railroad bridge circa 1980s.

Photo by Wayne Lammers.

Katy Railroad Bridge at sunset by Wayne Lammers, March 20 2014, at 5:58 pm.

October 8, 1960.jpg

This is the Rocheport Bridge in Boone County with the Katy railroad below. 

Photographer unknown, October 8, 1960.

Katy Bridge #2.jpg

Source: Farm Alarm


Kids from the west side of town crossed the Katy Railroad tracks on an unprotected path from Haller Street to Kemper, and on Spring and Morgan Streets, near the Katy Depot, at crossings protected by bright flashing red lights and loud warning bells, sometimes we counted 100 cars as we waited. Even though tragedy struck at Morgan Street in 1953, some still caught a short ride from Spring to Haller on the ladder of a slow-moving boxcar as a long train lumbered southwest up Lard Hill.


The busy Katy bridge across the Missouri River provided crossings for Katy trains carrying freight from near St. Louis to Galveston, and for boys from Boonville carrying .22 rifles to the sloughs and sand bars along the north shore to shoot cans and bottles. Crossings by the latter were sometimes sanctioned and sometimes stealthy, depending on the operator on duty in the shanty on the Boonville side. There was no walkway, and if you were caught on the bridge by a train, it was loud and shaky holding onto a beam as the train roared past.


My friend Kenny and I tried another crossing method, riding his motorcycle across from the north approach. Bump-bump, bump-bump, bump-bump across the ties. No trains came. The operator in the shanty just shook his head as we passed. He didn’t need to tell us not to do it again.

By: Wayne Lammers

Last train to cross the Boonville KATY bridge.

Video by Wayne Lammers



Visitors' side of Katy Bridge

Gov. Jay Nixon came to Boonville to help save The Katy Railroad Bridge. From the Wayne Lammers collection


Old MKT Caboose

Bridges page Katy Bridge Dedication.JPG

Ribbon Cutting of the Katy Bridge on April 2, 2016

Governor Jay Nixon and Ann Betteridge

Katy Trail Bikers crossing the USA on Trails. June 23, 2012. Photo by Wayne Lammers


By Rudi Keller / | 815-1709

Posted Apr 3, 2016 at 12:01 AM

BOONVILLE -- When the last train crossed the MKT Railroad bridge at Boonville in May 1986, Dennis Huff was the engineer and he called his friend Wayne Lammers to record it.

The five-minute video explores the 1932 bridge and shows the 408-foot lift span in the up position, then cuts to the locomotive, with Huff hanging his arm out the window, as it approaches and passes. The 16 tanker, gondola and hopper cars pass within a few inches of the camera lens.

On Saturday, Huff, Lammers and hundreds of others from Boonville and beyond returned to the bridge to celebrate its resurrection as part of the Katy Trail State Park.

“It is nice to see a piece of history be preserved and put to some useful purpose,” Huff said before the festivities began.

During the short ceremony, Gov. Jay Nixon was praised as the savior of the bridge by former Columbia Mayor Darwin Hindman, who in turn was dubbed Mayor of the Katy Trail by Boonville Mayor Julie Thacher.

Nixon was attorney general in 2005 when then-Gov. Matt Blunt approved plans for the Union Pacific Railroad to dismantle the bridge for use as a second span at the Osage River for its line south of the Missouri River. Nixon took “the unusual and extremely brave step of suing the governor to set aside the decision,” Hindman told the gathering.

Nixon argued the bridge was part of the deal that transferred the rail line to the state for trail use in 1990. The lawsuit ultimately was unsuccessful, but it delayed demolition until after Nixon became governor in 2009. Union Pacific’s second span at the Osage River was built with federal stimulus funds, and the Boonville bridge was deeded to the state.

“This is really a fun day for me,” Nixon said before crossing the bridge with his wife Georgeanne Nixon.

“I am not as excited about suing governors as I used to be,” he joked.

Saturday’s ceremony celebrated the first phase of the bridge rehabilitation, costing about $900,000 and financed with a combination of private donations, city revenue and federal block grant funds. Visitors can walk about a third of the way across the river for views up- and downstream and a close-up look at the lift span.

The next two phases are to complete a similar walkway on the Howard County side and, eventually, finish the crossing by putting the lift span into regular operation, said Paula Shannon, executive director of the Katy Bridge Coalition. The project cost is estimated to be $3.4 million.

The ceremony brought many former residents back to Boonville to be part of the crowd of about 400 who attended the ceremony.

“It is like going to a class reunion, almost,” Shannon said.

The MKT’s days were numbered when Huff guided his locomotive over the river on May 23, 1986. The railroad had been in on-and-off merger negotiations with the Union Pacific for several years. A flood in October 1986 knocked the line north of the Missouri River out of commission. it was abandoned after the merger was approved by federal regulators.

The state acquired the line under federal rail banking laws, and the trail now extends for 240 miles from Machens in St. Charles County to Clinton in Henry County. Because the bridge was left in the up position after it ceased being used, trail traffic goes over the river on a walkway attached to the Highway 40 bridge.

The completion of the first phase is the realization of a dream, Lammers said.

“It is a glorious day,” Lammers said. “It is one we have been working toward for years and years.”


Most of us have seen the beautifully restored KATY caboose which is parked on the short rails in front of the Chamber of Commerce building in Boonville.

It is a beautifully-preserved reminder of the days when trains were the best way to travel and move agricultural goods to market.


However, there is another caboose in Cooper County that represents the small town of Bunceton, that was once a very busy stop on the Osage Valley Railroad. It stands on a short railroad track next to the Kelly Township building, which was built to look like a train Depot. Inside the caboose is a museum.


Here is a brief history of this caboose, shared by Gerald Ulrich, who was the Mayor of Bunceton from 1980 until 2006.


The Cooper County Sheriff, Harvey Bunce, learned that a railroad would be built between Boonville and Versailles. He immediately purchased the land where the planned railroad would run. The town that received the train route was later named Bunceton, after Mr. Bunce. Many years later the Osage Valley Railroad was sold to the Missouri Pacific Railroad.


Mr. Ulrich thought that if a caboose could be placed in Bunceton, it could be used as a museum. He contacted the Missouri Pacific Railroad to see if a caboose could be acquired. Missouri Pacific agreed to donate a caboose and donate it to the Chamber of Commerce. After making many connections with area groups the deal was done.  Several area groups started working to get donations to pay for the concrete slab, and two trucks to haul the caboose. Riley Rock Quarries donated the trucks and trailers, and two giant cranes to lift the caboose onto the concrete slab. They also donated the fuel used for the haul and the drivers donated their time. It was a dangerous trip as there were several high wires that the caboose had to pass under. However, everything went without a hitch! The trickiest part was to haul all that weight over an old bridge, but that too worked perfectly.


The city is proud of the fact that they raised the funds needed for this project and did not go into debt for moving the caboose, or for the new city hall. This was a wonderful community project.



Although rarely seen on a train today, a caboose was always the last car on a train. The caboose served as a trainman’s “home away from home”. Since most trains ran on 12-hour shifts, the caboose was where the men ate their meals (brought from home) and slept. At one time it also served as the Engineer’s office. It is interesting to note that a caboose is an American invention, and never really caught on in Europe. 


On the top of the caboose was a cupula. This was a raised box surrounded by windows so that the tracks could be observed in all directions by looking through the windows above the roof of the train.

As trains became more mechanically controlled, the need for the cupula to see the tracks hazards was replaced by a strange word for a strange railroad car, that somehow survived for more than a hundred years, from the days of oil burning lamps into the computer age. The origins of both the car and the word, are surrounded as much by legend as by fact. One popular version dates the word back to a derivation of the Dutch word "kombuis," which referred to a ship's galley. Use of cabooses began in the 1830s, when railroads housed trainmen in shanties built onto boxcars or flatcars.


Even in the United States, technological change began eliminating the need for cabooses before the turn of the century.

The spread in the 1880s of the automatic air brake system invented by George Westinghouse, eliminated the need for brakemen to manually set brakes. The air brakes soon were followed by the use of electric track circuits to activate signals, providing protection for trains and eliminating the need for flagmen. Friction bearings were replaced by roller bearings, reducing overheated journals and making visual detection by smoke an unlikely event.

Trains became longer, making it difficult for the conductor to see the entire train from the caboose, and freight cars became so high that they blocked the view from the traditional cupola. The increasing heaviness and speed of the trains made on-board cooking hazardous and unnecessary. New labor agreements reduced the hours of service required for train crews and eliminated the need for cabooses as lodging. Cabooses, when used at all, were drawn from "pools" and no longer assigned to individual conductors.

Eventually, electronic "hotbox" and dragging equipment detectors, which would check moving trains more efficiently and reliably than men in cabooses, were installed along main lines, and computers eliminated the conductors' need to store and track paperwork in the car.

Source: Union Pacific A Brief History of the Caboose

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