Passenger Cars of the South Park

Coach #5 - Leadville


U.P. 1885 DL&G 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
#5 #65 #65 #159 #57

DSP&P #1 with B&S coach #3 0r #5

(1) This is either DSP&P coach #5 or #3 together with coach-baggage #1 at Buffalo Creek Station probably the latter half of 1878. Notice the difference in width. The Barney & Smith coaches were among the first narrow gauge coaches to have 2 and 2 seating. At 8'-0" wide, it was 5" wider than #1. Photo by Charles Weitfle at Chappell-31, Digerness1-165 and Kindig-32. Weitfle did a second exposure which is at Ferrell/SoPk-31.


Initially coach #5—named Leadville—may have looked a lot like its sister coach #3 Geneva. We cant be sure because we have only one identifiable photo, and that was taken in the 1890s. But that photo does show its resemblance to its brother coach-baggage car, #4 Halls Valley, at that time.

If coach #5 was a virtual twin to #3 (see the Three Barney & Smith Cars page), it would have been a typical Barney & Smith coach of the time, with 14 moderately arched double-pane windows and what appears to be an abbreviated broken bullnose profile to the platform roofs. (See photo of coach #3 for a different perspective.) When built, coach #5 may have had board and batten siding, but we can do no more than guess, as it certainly did not by the time the above photo was taken (in its spiffy new DL&G paint job).

Coach #5 would probably have been either painted a deep brown (some say chocolate brown, but with differing eye as to what constitutes chocolate) or stained a medium brown. Lettering was probably of gold leaf with stripes and trimming.

DL&G #64 and #65 sometime in the 1890s

(2) South Park coach #5 as DL&G #65 (left) with DL&G coach #64 (former DSP&P coach-baggage #4) sometime in the 1890s. (Click pic for entire photo.) Photo at Kindig-233(d).


First-class coach #5 was built by the Barney & Smith Manufacturing Company of Dayton Ohio. It was part of a three-car order {1} received by the South Park 29 June 1878, shortly after the track was completed the 41 miles to Pine Grove. The other two cars were coach #3 Geneva, and coach-baggage #4 Halls Valley.

The Denver Daily Times of 29 June 1878 {9} said —

“They (the three Barney & Smith cars)  are finely finished and will perfectly answer all requirements, both of beauty and utility. They came from Dayton, Ohio, over broad-gauge roads, broad-gauge trucks having been substituted for the narrow-gauge wheels, which were sent upon a flat car. (They had arrived June 10th.) The combination passenger and express car is named ‘Halls Valley.’  The passenger cars are named ‘Geneva’ and ‘Leadville.’ ”

Note that beauty was considered a requirement! Coaches of the day were quite ornate by todays standards.

The new cars undoubtedly got their first work-out on the July 4 excursions that immediately followed.

In 1885, when the Union Pacific renumbered all cars, coach #5 became #65, a number it kept under the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison. It was probably rebuilt at least once during this time due to wear-and-tear, and the windows adjacent to the stoves at each end were filled in. When the DL&G was merged into the C&S in 1899, South Park #5, now DL&G #65, was renumbered C&S #159.

At the 1906 renumbering, C&S coach #159 became simply #57. It was rebuilt by the C&S in 1915 and probably then given the bullnose platform roof which had become the standard by then. Coach #57 was in use until dismantled in 1923. The body was sold to Herr-Rubicon Supply Co.

Several publications, including Ferrell/C&S, Kindig and Poole, list this as built by the J.G. Brill Company. This follows the C&S passenger car diagram page for C&S #57. But there is no evidence for this other than the one notation. Evidence against Brill being the builder is (1) the newspaper account of the time above, (2) the resemblance of DL&G #65 to #64, which is attributed to Barney & Smith (see photo above) and (3) the fact that there is no mention of the South Park in the definitive book on the J.G. Brill Company, The J.G. Brill Company, by Debra Brill. (The last piece of evidence is admittedly somewhat skimpy as the book does not contain a roster of cars built by that company.)

The same publications indicate coach #5 was built in 1875, again following the C&S passenger car diagram, but there are problems with this date, too. (See the Alternative Dates page for a full discussion.)

Unfortunately, if both of these assertions is correct, there may be no way to be certain, as the Brill Co. order book for 1875 appears to be lost. According to the bibliography in The J.G. Brill Company, the original Brill Co. order books from 1876 to 1884 and from 1887 to 1940 are held by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Unless the 1875 date is incorrect, or some other repository can be found to have the Brill Co. order book for 1875, the question of buildership may never be resolved.


08 April 2006

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