Cabooses X458 and X461 were built in 1970 as part of order NCP-59 by Gantt Manufacturing of Greenville, SC for Southern Railway. They were given road numbers X458 and X461. When delivered, X458 was the 59th and X461 was the 62nd in the order series. Gantt Manufacturing eventually delivered 113 cabooses carrying road numbers X400-X512.
X458 and X461 were designated as a over the road cabooses and came equipped accordingly. X458 and X461 came with a radio and electrical appliances. The caboose provided it’s own power via an axle-mounted generator. This brought the total weight to 52,900 lbs.
Bay Window Caboose
The crew of a bay window caboose monitors their train by sitting in the middle of the car where the sides project outward much like a bay window in a house. It’s for this reason, cabooses of this type are known as a Bay Window Caboose. The view from a cupola type caboose gave a more restrictive view of the sides of the train while presenting a falling hazard for the crew. The Baltimore and Ohio built all of its cabooses as bay window models starting in 1930. Eventually, the bay window caboose became favored by many railroads since it eliminated the need for the extra clearances required by a cupola type when passing through tunnels and under overpasses.
Not a Yellow Belly
Visually, X458 and X461 are easily distinguished from cabooses designated for local use. Local use cabooses had their bay windows painted yellow. This distinctive paint scheme earned these local cabooses the name “Yellow Bellies”. The museum’s X201 is an example of such a local caboose.