Passenger Cars of the Colorado Central

CC Fleet Information - Page 2


— Colorado Central Railroad —

The Colorado Central Railroad had its beginning 10 November 1862, when a group of Golden, Colorado, citizens lead by W.A.H. Loveland were granted a charter for the Clear Creek & Guy Gulch Wagon Road Company.

Less than 10 days later, this company leased the rights of the Colorado & Pacific Wagon, Telegraph & Railroad Company to build 7 miles of road between Forks Creek and the Gregory diggings. But the lessor retained the rights to build a railroad.

— 1865 —

A charter was obtained 9 February for the Colorado & Clear Creek Railroad Company by W.A.H. Loveland, Henry Teller and several other Coloradoans, backed by eastern capital, with the intent of connecting Golden, Colorado, with the various mining towns of the front range.

— 1866 —

The company was reorganized as the Colorado Central & Pacific Railroad Company, with the greatly expanded goal of connecting the Kansas Pacific with Utah Territory. The Union Pacific decided to build the transcontinental line through Wyoming, rather than Colorado, but nevertheless became interested in the CC&PR as a potential feeder system.

— 1867 —

Location of a standard gauge line from Golden northward to a connection with the U.P. at Cheyenne, Wyoming, was begun, but financing became a problem. Furthermore, the Denver Pacific was incorporated to drive a line northward from Denver, __ miles to the east, and it was well financed. In addition, in December the state capitol was moved from Golden to Denver.

— 1868 —

The name of the railroad was changed to the Colorado Central Railroad and 11 miles of roadbed was graded eastward from Golden, ties were laid and bridges constructed.

— 1869 —

Surveys were made from Golden to Idaho Springs, and a few miles more of grade added eastward, but lack of funds prevented any further action. Though the Union Pacific controlled the company, it could not finance it due to limitations in its charter.

— 1870 —

By June, the Denver Pacific had completed its standard gauge line from Denver north to a connection with the Union Pacific at Cheyenne, Wyoming. The first train arrived in Denver 22 June.

By August, the Kansas Pacific had reached Denver from the east. Its first train arrived in Denver 11 August.

In September the Colorado Central’s standard gauge line “to Denver” was completed, meeting the Denver Pacific two miles north of Denver at Jersey Junction, where the Kansas Pacific met the Denver Pacific.

— 1871 —

At the road’s annual meeting in May, the “Colorado people somehow wrested control of the Colorado Central from the Union Pacific, and by September there were 150 men at work grading in Clear Creek Canyon west of Golden. Though many of them were called away to shovel snow for the Union Pacific, 8½ miles of grade was accessible to the carriages of thrill seekers the following February.

[The Colorado Central had both standard and narrow gauge operations. From this point onward we will deal only with the narrow gauge lines penetrating the front range at Golden: the so-called “Western Division.”]

— 1872 —

By May the grading force in Clear Creek Canyon had swollen to 500 men, but no iron was on hand for track-laying.

By mid-June track materials were arriving in Golden and there was the promise of a locomotive, too. Soon, maybe ...

By mid-July enough rail was on hand to lay two miles of track, and more followed. By the end of the month eight miles of track had been laid ... using horses for locomotion.

But a locomotive did arrive the night of 19 August: a dinky little, worn-out, used 0-4-0T christened General Sherman, No. 2. It was followed by another, similar, locomotive a week later, this one christened General Sheridan, No. 1. The U.P. was being stingy, to say the least. But at least the roads horsepower now burned coal rather than hay!

Track laying speeded up, and Forks Creek was reached (13.30 miles) by the end of August. The timetable that went into effect 1 October showed a passenger train leaving Golden westbound at 9:00 a.m. and arriving at end-of-track at 10:47, then returning, eastbound at 11:40. A very ambitious schedule considering the road had no passenger cars yet!

The Golden Transcript {7} reported that the  U.P. Omaha shops were building a passenger train for the Western [narrow gauge] Division, and that one coach was now finished and other parts of the train were due soon. According to another source, the 6 November issues of the Denver Daily Times and the Golden Transcript reported coach #1 had been used for the first time two days before.

Track laying continued, and Smith Hill was reached by 20 November. But the road had a problem: not enough cars. Track was completed to Black Hawk (21.07 miles) 11 December, amidst great rejoicing!

— 1873 —

Track on the Georgetown extension reached Floyd Hill on 24 February. And there it stopped ... for quite some time.

But there was plenty of traffic on both the Black Hawk and Floyd Hill branches. Locomotives now became the problem. The three little 0-4-0Ts could haul only two cars at a time upgrade. Fortunately, two new locomotives were on order. The first—loco #4— arrived at the end of April. A 17 ton 0-6-0T, it was hefty enough to handle four, and sometimes even five, cars upgrade!

Meanwhile, the Golden Transcript reported that the road had received a new coach and baggage-mail car, both very fine and elegantly appointed.{2}  Coach #2 and baggage car #1 had been outshopped by the Union Pacific in January.

Below is the schedule that pertained after the new locomotives were received. {8}

Westbound Passenger Stations Eastbound Passenger
"Mail"     "Express"  
9:45 a.m. 5:20 p.m.
Lv.  . . . . . . Golden . . . . . . Ar.
9:30 a.m. 5:00 p.m.
12:15 p.m. 7:50 p.m.
Ar. . . . .Black Hawk . . . . Lv.
7:00 a.m. 2:30 p.m.
Westbound Mixed   Eastbound Mixed
9:55 a.m.  
Lv.  . . . . . . Golden . . . . . . Ar.
2:40 p.m.  
11:55 a.m.  
Ar. . . . . . Floyd Hill. .  . . . Lv.
12:40 p.m.  


In June, the railroad’s own shops in Golden produced another baggage car—a tiny 26'-0" one—that would become baggage car #2.

But the road was incredibly slow in paying its bills, and in August the Sheriff of Jefferson County seized locomotive #5 for non-payment of county taxes.

In September the shops produced the first narrow gauge passenger car built in Colorado, which would become coach #3. But at mid-month a financial panic started in the east that would dry up railroad building funds for years to come. Fortunately, the Golden shops had been working on a sister to coach #3, and coach #4 was out-shopped in November. It would be a full four years before the Colorado Central got another passenger car.

— 1874 —

Dawson & Baily shipped an 18 ton Mogul 11 May. It was assigned #1, vacated by the former “Phil Sheridan.”

— 1875 —

Two more 0-6-0s were ordered. One was shipped in late March. The other came two months later. They were numbered #2 and #3, replacing the original 0-4-0s of those numbers.

— 1876 —

The Kansas Pacific was thwarted in an attempt to lease the Colorado Central from the Union Pacific. David Moffat was appointed Receiver in August but was unable to take over the property.

— 1877 —

The Union Pacific—now under the control of Jay Gould— gave up its attempt to impose receivership. In May, work on the Georgetown extension was resumed at Floyd Hill. Track arrived in Idaho Springs 11 June and service began two days later. The first train pulled into Georgetown 13 August. Work was begun on an extension of the line from Black Hawk to Central City. The road’s shops in Golden outshopped coach-baggage car #5.

— 1878 —

In February, the road’s shops at Golden turned out another combination car: coach-baggage #6. Track was completed to Central City, and service was inaugurated 20 May. In July, the Colorado Central shops at Golden built their last narrow gauge car, coach #7. This was a unique car that sounds more like an excursion car than a coach, with large windows that opened downward, making an opening nearly 2' x 5' according to some authorities.

— 1879 —

Third rail was laid from Golden to Argo to serve the Boston & Colorado Smelter. It connected with existing third rail trackage into Denver, allowing passenger trains into that city and interchange with the Denver South Park & Pacific.

The Colorado Central was leased to the Union Pacific for a term of 50 years. Plans were made to extend the line to Georgetown and thence over Loveland Pass to Leadville.

— 1880 —

Total "varnish" consisted of nine cars --


five coaches (#1, #2, #3, #4, and #7)


two baggage cars (#1 and #2)


two combination coach-baggage cars (#5 and #6)

On 11 February coach #3 burned at Georgetown, probably as a result of a derailment or other incident that overturned the coal stove.

In December the Union Pacific produced three coaches for the CCRR, coaches #8, #9 and #10, together with three baggage-mail-express cars, B-M-X #3, #4 and #5.

— 1881/82 —

Perfunctory work was done on the Leadville extension. Chair cars #11 and #12 were acquired from the Ohio Falls Car Manufacturing Company. Grading to Georgetown was done by the end of 1882, but much bridge work remained.

— 1883 —

In January, several runaway boxcars on the Boulder line wiped out the passenger depot in Golden.

In anticipation of tourist business over the Georgetown loop, the Union Pacific built 6 “excursion cars” for the CCRR: no amenities whatsoever, not even window glass. In July they were numbered with the other passenger-carrying cars as excursion #13 - #18. In August, track laying began toward Georgetown. At the end of September, track had reached the site of the “high bridge.” The bridge was completed on November 25, but acceptance was refused because the north and south columns were reversed and riveting was poor done in some places.

— 1884 —

The “high bridge” of the Georgetown Loop was completed to the railroad’s satisfaction 23 January. On 28 February the eastbound passenger train leaving Georgetown was literally blown over by a sudden gale.

Track was completed to Silver Plume 10 March and regular passenger service went into effect 1 April. Excursion business was soon booming.

The Union Pacific built two more coaches for the CCRR in October. Coaches #19 and #20 would be the last built by the UP for the CCRR.

— 1885 —

Total "varnish" consisted of 24 cars --


nine coaches (#1, #2, #4, #7, #8, #9, #10, #19 and #20, #3 having been destroyed by fire)


two chair cars (#11 and #12)


two combination coach-baggage cars (#1 and #2)


six excursion cars (#13-#18)


two baggage cars (#1 and #2)


three baggage-mail-express cars (#3, #4 and #5)

Another passenger train was blown over at the same place as the one the previous year, just east of the Georgetown depot.

— 1887 —

Union Depot Time Card No. 92, dated 9 October 1887 shows the following trains arriving and departing Denvers Union Station. {3}

Colorado Division. -- (Narrow Gauge)
    Depart       Arrive
No. 381 Georgetown, Silver Plume and Idaho Springs Mail and Express, daily 8:05 am   No. 374 Golden Passenger, daily 7:55 am
No. 381 Black Hawk and Central City Mail and Express, daily 8:05 am   No. 384 Georgetown, Silver Plume and Idaho Springs Exp., daily except Sunday 11:50 am
No. 383 Georgetown, Silver Plume and Idaho Springs Exp., daily except Sunday 3:00 pm   No. 384 Black Hawk and Central City Exp., daily except Sunday 11:50 am
No. 383 Black Hawk and Central City Exp., daily except Sunday 3:00 pm   No. 382 Georgetown, Silver Plume and Idaho Springs Mail and Express, daily 6:00 pm
No. 373 Golden Passenger, daily 6:35 pm   No. 382 Black Hawk and Central City Mail and Express, daily 6:00 pm

— 1888 —

The world-wide price of silver began to drop

— 1889 —

On 6 July the Denver Leadville & Gunnison Railroad was organized by Union Pacific officials and others. On 17 the Denver South Park & Pacific was bought at foreclosure by a committee of its bondholders for $3,000,000. On 29 August 29 the railroad’s assets were transferred to the newly-organized DL&G.

— 1890 —

On 1 April 12 railroads owned by the Union Pacific were combined into the Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf Railway. The Denver Leadville & Gunnison was not included.

On 14 July the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was passed, and the federal government began buying silver to support its price.

— 1891 —

Gold was discovered at Cripple Creek.

— 1892 —

In March, the former Pullman sleepers Advance (U&N), Security (U&N), South Park (DSP&P), Bonanza (DSP&P), Rambler (U&N) and Leadville (DSP&P) were sold by the Pullman-Union Pacific Association to the Union Pacific Railroad for conversion to coaches. In September, these coaches were sold to the UPD&G as  coaches #174, #175, #176, #177, #178 and #179.

— 1893 —

On 27 June the stock market crashed, beginning several years of depression.  Mints in India—the world’s most important silver market—were closed by Great Britain. Three Denver banks closed and nine suspended business. The Union Pacific, the Santa Fe and the Colorado Midland were all forced into bankruptcy.

In November the Sherman Silver Purchase Act was repealed, devastating the Colorado economy. The price of silver dropped from $1.29/oz. to $0.50/oz. On 18 December Denver coal man Frank Trumbull was appointed separate (from the U.P.) receiver for the UPD&G.

— 1894 —

In July, the Denver Union Station burned to the ground. Coach #176 (former Pullman sleeper San Juan) was rebuilt as a business car, and became UPD&G Business Car #1. And on 7 August, Frank Trumbull was appointed separate (from the U.P.) receiver for the Denver Leadville & Gunnison: from here on the UPD&G and the DL&G would be operated almost as if one railroad, to the betterment of both!

— 1896 —

In January, the long-awaited (13 years) new passenger station was built in Golden.

It was discovered that several Union Pacific subsidiaries had “surplus” narrow gauge passenger cars, probably as a result of being standard gauged. After much dickering, a trade was arranged with the Utah & Northern whereby they received UPD&G standard gauge mail car #1162 and the UPD&G received U&N coaches #131 and #140. U&N #140 became UPD&G coach #189. (Not to be confused with CCRR coach #3 which was on the 1885 renumbering list as CCRR coach #189 with the notation, “Being rebuilt in Omaha,” but never returned). U&N #131 became UPD&G coach #192.

Former tourist sleeper #466 was bought from Pullman and converted to UPD&G coach #193. The roads with “surplus” narrow gauge passenger cars decided to simply place them on standard gauge trucks and use them that way rather than make further trades. So the UPD&G ordered four first-class coaches from the St. Charles Car Company. They would become UPD&G #194, #195, #196 and #197, the last cars bought by the CCRR/UPD&G.

— 1897 —

The timetable from which the following was excerpted may reflect then-current as well as future schedules. {9}

Denver to Black Hawk and Central City
Exp. A
No. 43
Mail &
Exp. A
No. 41
Mail &
Exp. A
No. 42
3:20 8:15 0
Lv.  . . . . . . Denver . . . . . . Ar.
5,170 9:45 6:00
4:05 8:58 16
Ar.  . . . . . . Golden . . . . . . Lv.
5,655 9:00 5:17
4:09 9:00 16
Lv.  . . . . . . Golden . . . . . . Ar.
5,655 8:46 5:17
|| 4:59 ||   9:54 29
Ar.  . . . . Forks Creek . . . . Lv.
6,880 || 7:56 || 4:23
|| 5:05 || 10:00 29
Lv.  . . . . Forks Creek . . . . Ar.
6,880 || 7:55 || 4:15
5:35 10:30 36 . . . . . . . Black Hawk . . . . . . .
(The Switch-Back)
8,032 7:25 3:45
6:00 10:55 40
Ar. . . . . Central City . . . . Lv.
8,503 7:00 3:20
|| - Lunch        A. - Daily
Sundays, Train No. 43 will leave Denver at 6:00 p.m.
A.M. time black figures, P.M. time red figures


Denver to Idaho Springs and the Loop
No. 55
Exp. A
No. 53
Mail &
Exp. A
No. 51.
Mi. STATIONS El. Exp. A.
Mail &
Exp. A.
No. 42
No. 56
11:15 3:20 8:15 0
Lv. Denver Ar.
5,170 9:45 6:00 6:45
12:10 4:05 9:05 16 Golden 5,655 9:00 5:17 5:55
1:05 || 4:59 || 10:09 29
Ar. Forks Creek Lv.
6,880 || 8:05 || 4:23 4:59
1:20 || 5:10 || 10:21 29
Lv.  . . Forks Creek . . Ar.
6,880 || 7:53 || 4:10 4:50
1:55 5:40 10:53 37 Idaho Springs 7,543 7:27 3:35 4:22
2:45 6:26 11:40 50 . . . . . Georgetown . . . . .
(The Loop)
8,476 6:48 2:45 3:45
3:05 6:50 12:05 54
Ar. Silver Plume Lv.
9,176 6:26 2:20 3:20
|| - Lunch        A. - Daily
Sundays, Train No. 53 will leave Denver at 6:00 p.m.
A.M. time black figures, P.M. time red figures

— 1898 —

With the Union Pacific in bankruptcy, on 19 November the assets of the Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf were sold at foreclosure to representatives of the bondholders for $6.25 million. On 19 December, the Colorado & Southern Railway Co. was chartered by securities-holders of the UPD&G and of the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison, with a capital of $48 million. On 28 December the assets of the UPD&G were conveyed to the C&S. The passenger car legacy of the UPD&G was 34 cars, including 18 coaches, 2 chair cars, 1 baggage car, 3 baggage-mail-express cars, 2 coach-baggage cars, officer’s car #1 and 7 of the open observation cars.

— 1899: Colorado & Southern

At the stroke of midnight on January 11, the C&S assumed control of the former Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf and the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison under President Frank Trumbull. This begins another renumbering of rolling stock, of which unfortunately we have no single reliable record. Standard gauge passenger cars were assigned numbers below 100 and narrow gauge passenger cars were assigned numbers over 100.

Chappell {5} says the CCRR/UPD&G’s contribution was 34 passenger cars, including Officer’s car #1. But this number would have to include the three coaches bought by the C&S (#172, #173 and #174) in mid-1900, which some authorities think were built in 1892. The correct number of 31 would have consisted of the following:

UPD&G # CCRR # Type C&S #   UPD&G # CCRR # Type C&S #
174 Pullman
Coach 144   175 Pullman
Coach 145
176 Pullman
South Park
Business B-1   177 Pullman
Coach 146
178 Pullman
Coach 147   179 Pullman
Coach 148
183 2 Coach 140   184 8 Coach 141
185 9 Coach 142   186 10 Coach 143
187 19 Coach 166   188 20 Coach 167
190 11 Chair 150   191 12 Chair 149
194   Coach 168   195   Coach 169
196   Coach 170   197   Coach 171
735 5 Coach-baggage 120   736 6 Coach-baggage 121
820-825 13-18 Excursion 193-198   826   Excursion 199
1036 1 Baggage 101   1323 3 B-M-X 110
1324 4 B-M-X 111   1325 5 B-M-X 112

The story of the Colorado & Southern continues on the Passenger Cars of the South Park website. Use this LINK to get there.

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06 July 2007

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