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EOT Devices Replace Cabooses

As technology evolved, the role of the conductor, flagman and brakeman changed. Advances in communication equipment took the crew out of the caboose and put them in the locomotive. EOT devices have a nighttime safety light and automatically radio information about brakes and car movement to the engine’s cab. On October 7, 1984, Union Pacific's first official caboose-less train left westbound out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

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The origins of both the caboose and the word are surrounded as much by legend as by fact. One popular version dates the word back to a derivation of the Dutch word "kombuis," which referred to a ship's galley. Use of cabooses began in the 1830s, when railroads housed trainmen in shanties built onto boxcars or flatcars.

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