The Red Caboose

The Red Caboose (HM1FAZ)

Location: Tullahoma, TN 37388 Coffee County
Buy Tennessee State flags at!
Country: United States of America
Buy United States of America flags at!

N 35° 21.786', W 86° 12.6'

  • 0 check ins
  • 0 favorites
The car displayed here is a side bay window model caboose built in 1964 by the Louisville & Nashville Railroad at the company South Louisville yards. The exterior is restored to the original L & N red.
The purpose of a caboose was to provide crewman a better view of potential problems with the train. Some of the earliest cabooses were designed with a cupola or "crow nest." As train cars became taller, however, the side bay window was introduced. The early wooden L & N cabooses were distinguished by cupolas, while the Nashville, Chattanooga, and St Louis Railway cabooses were designed with the side bay window style. After the NC & St. L merged with the L & N in 1957, the L & N incorporated the bay window design.

The Flagman

Originally, the flagman main responsibility was to protect the rear of the train from mishaps or collisions. When idle on the tracks, he placed red flags, and lit fuses and lanterns far to the rear, to warn approaching trains. Since the invention of radio in the 1920s, the dispatcher has taken over the function of alerting approaching trains, and the flagman duty is to assist the brakeman in switching cars in and out of the train.

The Conductor

The caboose was the office car of the train. The conductor, the flagman, and the rear brakeman normally rode in the caboose. Contrary to popular belief, the conductor was in charge of the train—not the engineer. His responsibility was to check the waybill, and inventory of each car content and destination, and direct the train crew in setting or picking up cars for the train.

The Brakeman

If the train needed to be stopped, the rear and front brakemen worked in tandem using hand brakes on each car. After air brakes were introduced in the early 1870s, brakemen were used to switch rails and couple cars.

Today, the caboose is obsolete. Instead, a small device with a flashing red light mounted on the last car protects the rear of the train and measures the air brake line pressure. Detect detectors placed every twenty or so miles along the track tell the crew if there are any problems.

The rail line between Nashville and Chattanooga was completed in 1854. A spur line to Manchester and McMinnville was added in 1855. This made Tullahoma an important railroad junction in lower middle Tennessee. The two lines are still in operation today as CSX and the Caney Fork and Western Railroad, respectively. Switcher crews service customers from Wartrace to Sherwood, and at least two shippers use the railroad, the L.P. Gas Distributor and the Kokomo Grain silo.

Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 11th, 2014 at 9:50pm PDT -07:00
Sorry, but we don't have a picture of this historical marker yet. If you have a picture, please share it with us. It's simple to do. 1) Become a member. 2) Adopt this historical marker listing. 3) Upload the picture.
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 571769 N 3913597
Decimal Degrees35.36310000, -86.21000000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 35° 21.786', W 86° 12.6'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds35° 21' 47.16" N, 86° 12' 36" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)931
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling West
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 108 NW Atlantic St, Tullahoma TN 37388, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

Is this marker missing? Are the coordinates wrong? Do you have additional information that you would like to share with us? If so, check in.

Nearby Markersshow on map
Fortress Tullahoma
0.01 miles
Baillet Sisters
0.38 miles
Confederate Cemetery
0.46 miles
Army of Tennessee
0.46 miles
Isham G. Harris
0.46 miles
Tullahoma Campaign
0.46 miles
Camp Forrest
0.46 miles
Tullahoma Campaign
0.46 miles
Tullahoma Campaign
0.46 miles
Confederate Memorial
0.95 miles
Check Ins  check in   |    all

Have you seen this marker? If so, check in and tell us about it.

Comments 0 comments

Maintenance Issues
  1. Is this marker part of a series?
  2. What historical period does the marker represent?
  3. What historical place does the marker represent?
  4. What type of marker is it?
  5. What class is the marker?
  6. What style is the marker?
  7. Does the marker have a number?
  8. What year was the marker erected?
  9. Who or what organization placed the marker?
  10. This marker needs at least one picture.
  11. Can this marker be seen from the road?
  12. Is the marker in the median?