C&S Observation Cars #138 - #148
These observation “coaches” were simply lightly built gondola cars with a roof, and just enough superstructure to hold up the heavy canvas curtains that rolled down to cover the windowless openings through which passengers could enjoy the open-air vistas and thrilling ride over the Georgetown Loop. The bench-like seats were similarly decked out in canvas. Needless to say, there was no heat, though they were certainly “air-conditioned!” Those who were overcome by the view could apparently hide out in one of the three corner seats (see plan view below), while the fourth was reserved for the “hopper” (restroom, for you too young to remember -- but do remember not to flush while the train is in the station)!
These cars rode on diamond archbar trucks very similar to those supporting freight cars. The only concession to passenger "comfort" was an extended wheelbase of 5' and the use of leaf springs rather than coil.
“Observation Car” #826 was built by the Union Pacific shops in 1897 for the Union Pacific Denver & Gulf, as an addition to the fleet of six 14-year-old cars it had inherited from the Colorado Central. It was more spacious than they, being some 2½ feet longer, but seating only one more passenger. This “spacious” car went on the C&S roster in 1899 as Excursion Car #199.
In 1903, as the tourist business burgeoned, the C&S built 10 brand-new excursion cars, using its most “modern” car as a pattern, rather than its now-20-year-old fleet. These became excursion cars #200 - #209.
In 1906, the whole fleet of excursion cars was renumbered along with everything else, and #199 - 209 became #138 - #148.
In 1915, the whole fleet of excursion cars was rebuilt by the C&S, the earliest (now #138) being just 12 years old.
But it went the distance, so-to-speak, managing another eight years before being sold in 1923 to the Herr-Rubicon Supply Co. February 1923.
Regular passenger trains on the Georgetown Loop were discontinued in April 1927, but specials were occasionally run, and excursion coaches #139 - #148 were not dismantled until October 1928, as by then continued maintenance and necessary rebuilding was considered not worthwhile.
PHOTOGRAPHS & PLANS
(Photos with Source and Page in blue are best to show car details.)
We know of no plans or drawings for these cars.
04 August 2006