Passenger Cars of the Colorado Central

Excursion Coaches #13 - #18

CCRR U.P. 1885 UPD&G 1890 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
Excursion Coaches
#820-#825 #820-#825 Observation Cars


C&S excursion car #134

(1) C&S excursion car #134 on the High Bridge, possibly around 1920. This can be found at Hauck-131(u). (Ken Martin Collection)


These cars were hardly more than a shell to keep passengers from falling out. They had no window glass, only a canvas curtain to roll down in case of inclement weather, no heat, no illumination, and canvas-covered seats. At an average weight of 25,000 pounds (compared to about 35,000 for a coach of the same size they couldn’t have ridden too well. The fact that they rode on diamond archbar trucks very similar to those under freight cars couldn't have helped, even if they did have an extended 5' wheelbase and leaf springs!

But they were open and airy, and the magnificent scenery must have more than made up for the lack of amenities. (We hope!)


In July 1883, the Union Pacific built six “excursion cars” for use over the soon-to-be completed Georgetown Loop. With only the most basic amenities (a “hopper”, in railroad parlance) these cars were built strictly for day trips. They were assigned roster spots in sequence with the line’s other passenger-carrying rolling-stock. Thus ironically the cars with the road’s least amenities are numbered next to those with the most: chair cars #11 and #12.

When the Union Pacific renumbered everything a short two years later, excursion cars #13 - #18 became excursion cars #820 - #825, numbers they apparently retained under the Union Pacific Denver & Gulf.

When they passed to the ownership of the Colorado & Southern in 1899, the six not only got new numbers, but a new—hopefully more classy—designation. They became “observation” cars #193 - #198. Still in use when the C&S renumbered in 1906, they became observation cars #132 - #137.

Car #137 was destroyed August 1912. The others were “rebuilt” in the great rebuilding of C&S cars in 1915. As the years went by, some of these cars may have inherited better-riding passenger car trucks from dismantled or wrecked passenger cars. We have seen at least one photo of such an "improvement" (Observation Car #134, in use on the Argentine Central.)

With the big drop-off of excursion business on the Georgetown Loop, these older observation cars were sold off in 1923 to the Herr-Rubicon Supply Company.


(1) c. 1920? Unknown High Bridge Hauck 131(u) RJ C&S excursion car #134
  Unk. Unknown Interior Kindig 389(ur) CS C&S observation - interior (cane seats)
  1908 Unknown Georgetown Digerness3 280 DD C&S excursion car #132-#137

The John Maxwell Collection offers a plan for C&S excursion coaches #120-148. It is their plan C-115.

C&S observation cars #193-198 diagram page

Car diagram for C&S observation cars #132-#137 updated through 1916. (Note this is not a scale drawing.) Click pic for enlargement.


CC No. #13-17 #18
1885 U.P. No. #820-824 #825
1890 UPD&G No. #820-824 #825
1899 C&S No. #193-197 #198
1906 C&S No. #132-136 #137
Car Type 1885 Excursion
1906 Observation
Capacity 1885 28 seats
1916 27 seats
Delivery Date July 1883
Acquired From Union Pacific Railroad
Cost $1,125 each, exclusive of trucks
Length Over Endsills 37'-5"
Length Over Buffers (1916) 44'-10"
Truck Centers (1916) 27'-5"
Wheel Size 26"
Truck Wheelbase (1916) 5'-0"
Width (1916) 8'-2"
Height of Body (1916) 8'-1˝"
Body Above Rails (1916) 2'-11"
Weight 1912 11 tons Destroyed
1916 132 - 25,000 lbs.
133 - 24,700 lbs.
134 - 26,400 lbs.
135 - 24,800 lbs.
135 - 24,800 lbs.
136 - 25,500 lbs.
Platform Roof Arched
Heating None
Lighting None
Interior Finish Yellow walls. light green ceiling
Termination Date Feb 1923 Aug 1912
Termination Method Sold to Herr-Rubicon Supply Co. Destroyed


04 August 2006

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