CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Whatever Happened to the Little Red Caboose?

Manufacturing of the Iconic Train Car Stopped in 1981, But They Still Hold a Special Place in American Pop Culture

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Americans have many icons. But those dealing with the exploration and expansion of the United States seem especially beloved: stagecoaches, steamboats, trains—and the railroad caboose. From the mid-19th century through the last decade of the 20th century, the “little red caboose behind the train” has had iconic qualities similar to the little red schoolhouse, being the subject of songs, books, and toys that remain popular today. So what’s the caboose, and why has this icon largely disappeared from the national railway network while staying culturally relevant?

When railroads emerged in …

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