Early Cabooses of the C&N-W

     Very little documentation or photographic evidence exists of the narrow gauge era on the Carolina & North-Western, or that of its predecessor, the Chester & Lenoir Narrow Gauge. When the C&N-W was standard gauged in 1902, its initial fleet of cabooses was obtained secondhand. Cabs 9000 and 9001 were the first ones on the roster, followed by 9500 and 9501 in 1905. 

X9501 (right) was used by conductor J.L. Porter. By the 30's & 40's, it was used on runs between Chester, SC, and Gastonia, NC.  In this photo, it is shown in Chester around 1937,

   In 1910, business was on the rise and three ex-Pennsy hacks were obtained (6101, 6102, 6103). They each had different window configurations, and were classified as "package" cars due to their length and side door capacity. The 9500 and 6100 series of cabs were mainstays until WWII. The "X" prefix on the cabeese first appeared in 1926.

X6101, left,  belonged to conductor Tom Hartley, and was used most often between Lenoir and Edgemont. Here it is shown on the  last train into Edgemont in 1938.

X6103, above, was "owned" by conductor J.T. Lynn and used from Hickory to points south. Here, she has hit the ground south of Clover in 1938.

     During and after World War II, freight business increased dramatically on the C&N-W due to industrial growth in Hickory and Lenoir. The shortage of cabooses and the age of the existing fleet began to become a nuisance to the line. As a result, one cab, 304,  was built by the Hickory shops from an old boxcar. It was not well-regarded by the crews, as it was small (34 feet) and according to one crewman, the conductors "couldn't see a damn thing out of it."

   This 1942 shot of  X304 (right), in Lenoir, is the only known photograph of this homebuilt hack.

    Finally, by the late 1940's, the railroad began to obtain some Southern Railway hand-me downs. At least two of these center cupola SR hacks (X15, X16) were used on the railroad until the advent of the steel baywindow units in 1954.

   X16 (left), was one of at least two Southern Railway cabs that came to the railroad  in the late 40's and early 50's. This picture was taken in August, 1956, by Tom King.

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