Colorado & Southern Rolling Stock

C&S Observation Cars #138 - #148

UPD&G C&S 1899 C&S 1903 C&S 1906
#826 Excursion Coach#199 #138
    Excursion Coaches #200-#209 #139-#148

C&S observation car #201
(1) C&S excursion coach #201 at unknown location July 1908. Either some cars were not renumbered in 1906, #201 had not been re-lettered yet, or the caption is wrong as to the date. Notice the “shades” that apparently roll up. John Maxwell photo at Hauck-122, Kindig-389(dl) and Poole-207. (Hayes Hendricks Collection)


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.

C&S observation car #141 at Denver ca. 1903
(2) C&S observation car #141 at Denver about 1903. [More likely about 1906 as it has its new number and what looks like a fresh paint job.] John Maxwell photo at Poole-206.


“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.


(Photos with Source and Page in blue are best to show car details.)

(1) 1908 June 3 J.W. Maxwell Unknown Hauck 122 NA C&S observation #201 on rear of train, people on back platform
Kindig 389(dl) JM
Maxwell G190 or G586 JM
Poole 207 JM
(2) 1903? or 1910? J.W. Maxwell Denver Maxwell K141 JM C&S observation #141 - ¾ view
Poole 206 JM
  1906 Louis Charl McClure Summit Mt. McClellan DPL WHC #MCC-682   C&S Observation #148 (?) and another at Summit of Mt. McClellan.
  c. 1910 J.W. Maxwell? Denver? Maxwell K142 JM C&S observation - end view below platform on 4-rail track
  c. 1910 J.W. Maxwell? Denver? Maxwell K143 JM C&S observation - ¾ view of truck, arch bar with leaf springs
  c. 1910 J.W. Maxwell? Denver? Maxwell K144 JM C&S observation - ¾ view, wood beam type passenger truck under car
  Unknown Unknown Interior Kindig 389(ul) CS C&S observation - interior (cane seats)

We know of no plans or drawings for these cars.

C&S observation cars #138 - #148 diagram page
Car diagram for C&S observation cars ##138 - #148 updated through 1916. (Note this is not a scale drawing.) Click pic for enlargement.


1897 UPD&G No. #826  
1899 C&S No. #199 #200 - #209
1906 C&S No. #138 #139 - #148
Car Type Observation / Excursion Coach
Capacity 29 seats
Delivery Date 1897 1903
Built by U.P. C&S
Length Over Endsills 40'-0"
Length Over Buffers 47'-6"
Truck Centers 30'-0"
Wheel Size 26"
Truck Wheelbase 5'-0"
Width 8'-2"
Height of Body 8'-0"
Body Above Rails 2'-11"
Weight 1912 13 tons
1916 120 - 27,200 lbs.
121 - 27,400 lbs.
122 - 27,100 lbs.
123 - 27,100 lbs.
124 - 27,000 lbs.
125 - 26,900 lbs.
126 - 27,300 lbs.
127 - 27,300 lbs.
128 -26,900 lbs.
129 -27,100 lbs.
130 - 26,900 lbs.
131 -27,400 lbs.
Platform Roof Arched
Heating None
Lighting None
Interior Finish Poplar walls stained cherry with light green ceiling
Termination Date Feb 1923 January 1929
Termination Method Sold to Herr-Rubicon Supply Co. Dismantled
04 August 2006

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