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Ask MR: Does a pusher engine go ahead of the caboose or behind?

By Steven Otte associate editor | March 31, 2022

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Q: I have an HO freelance layout set in the late 70s, so my trains still use cabooses. I’m adding a mountainous section where a freight would need a helper engine to get it up the steep grade. Where would the pusher engine be placed? Is it proper to push the caboose, or should it be cut in before the caboose? – Byron Smith, Fournier, Ont.

A: Cabooses are generally not built on a frame capable of withstanding the stresses of being pushed between a helper engine and a heavy train. As such, when a helper is to be tacked onto the end of a freight, the caboose is typically cut off and coupled onto the end of the train, behind the pusher.

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