The caboose and other rail stock you see at this location are not anywhere near the rail line and have nothing to do with the Adams/Railroad Centennial celebration in 2012. However, when all of these caches are completed and published, this will be be considered the final cache if you do them in the order that is shown in the accompanying bookmark. (It is not required that you do them in order.) It is therefore appropriate that the caboose brings up the rear of our centennial cache series.
At the given coordinates, you will see a rusted caboose. Make your best determination as to what the original color of the caboose was, and based on that, go to its associated coordinates to look for the cache. Do not go on any private property to look at the caboose or to find the cache.
- GRAY: go to N 43˚ 48.220' W 089˚ 48.621'
- GREEN: go to N 43˚ 48.215' W 089˚ 49.021'
- ORANGE: go to N 43˚ 48.222' W 089˚ 48.857'
- RED: go to N 43˚ 48.303' W 089˚ 49.029'
After the engine, the caboose is probably the most recognizable railroad car. We could be stopped at a railroad crossing for a long freight train to pass, but as soon as the caboose came in sight, we knew we would be on our way shortly. We would always wave to the railroad man in the caboose, too.
Most cabooses you see today are on display in parks or museums and not as part of trains. Sadly, economics and automation have eliminated the need for working cabooses. It was once the law that for safety reasons freight trains had to have a full crew. A staffed car at the end of a long train would help ensure that problems along the line of cars (brakes, couplings, loads) could be detected and rectified before there was damage, and the caboose light would tell those looking at a train that this was the end of the train.
Eventually, rail cars were better designed to avoid some of the problems, and sensors could detect what previously only human eyes and ears could. With the introduction and use of automated lights for the end of the train--flashing rear-end devices known as FREDs--there was no longer any need for cabooses, and the conductors who used them moved whatever operations remained up to the engineer area. Automated devices were much cheaper to have than an extra crew member or two, so the extra car and the extra crew members were eliminated. The romance of the caboose had given way to the economics of the railroad business.
While not cabooses, special cars were often added to the ends of passenger trains for electioneering purposes. These cars were designed to let candidates appear on the rear balconies to make speeches at “whistle stops” in locations along the route of their campaign trails, thus covering more ground and reaching more voters than by more conventional means. In 1948, President Harry Truman used the “Ferdinand Magellan” car for his campaigning, and he made a brief stop in Adams. There is a photo of this stop in the gallery of this cache page, along with another more famous photo of when the President held up an issue of the Chicago Tribune with the erroneous headline stating that his opponent Dewey had won the election. If you look closely at these two photos, you can see that both were taken of Truman on the end of this campaign car.