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Extreme Cab Hops on the SP

January 18, 2010

A cab hop was the railroad term for light power with a caboose. They were a common occurrence for U.S. railroads during the caboose era. The Southern Pacific was no exception. Where the SP stood out was the extreme examples of the cab hop genre they could produce.

SP SW1500 at Englewood Yard, Houston, Texas on Nov. 13, 1988

Our first example is a more diminutive version, with SW1500 2644 with SSW caboose 55 in tow at the west end of SP’s Englewood Yard. The caboose era on U.S. railroads is quickly nearing its end by the time this photograph was taken on Nov. 13, 1988.

SP U28B 7025, Taylor Yard, Los Angeles, CA in May 1977.

The other extreme of what a cab hop could look like is illustrated above with SP U28B 7025 along with 6 other road units departing SP’s Taylor Yard in Los Angeles in May of 1977. What make this cab hop extreme isn’t so much the number of units as much as the locomotive models pulling the caboose: U28B / U50 / GP35 / DD35 / U25B / U25B / DD35. Only one other railroad could assemble this collection of power – the UP, but I doubt they ever assembled a lash-up like this.

Extreme lash-ups like the second example were fairly common in the LA basin during the mid to late 1970. The SP dedicated most of its oddball power for the numerous LA Basin haulers (Hauler was the SP slang term for its transfers in Southern California.)

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