Colorado & Southern Rolling Stock

C&S Coaches #74 - #76

C&S 1900 C&S 1906
#172 #74
#173 #75
#174 #76

C&S coach #74 1938 at Denver
(1) C&S coach #74 at Denver ca. 1938; probably waiting to be dismantled. Rollin Cordill photo at Poole-200.


First class coaches #172, #173 and #174 were quite “modern” (for narrow gauge coaches). They were 40'-0" long over end-sills and had 13 good-sized square double-pane windows with a moderate-wide letter-board above and a belt-rail below. (In the absence of any identifiable early photos, and considering the belt-rail runs from end-to-end, we assume the walls beside the stoves originally contained a window.) The windows were evenly-spaced with a moderate space between.

C&S coach #75 c. 1937

(2) C&S coach #75 c. 1937. Wm. A Gibson photo at Digerness1-397(d).


In the years following its inception in 1899, the Colorado & Southern steadily added to and improved its properties. In the first few years these included the 40-acre 7th Street yards and shops, a new station in Central City, 40 box cars and a new rotary snowplow, new and additional snow sheds, a new coal chute and engine house at Dickey, and three new coaches, all equipped with automatic couplers and air brakes. The coaches would be numbered #172-174, and #174 (which became C&S #76) would become probably the most widely traveled of all narrow gauge passenger cars anywhere.

The C&S car diagram pages for these coaches say they were built in 1892 by American Car & Foundry. Either the date or the builder must be wrong, as AC&F didnt exist in 1892. It was formed in 1899 by the merger of 13 independent car builders.

All the published rosters accept AC&F as the builder, but supply a more likely date without explanation. Poor and Wagner say 1900, while Ferrell and Kindig say 1902.

Chappell {6} says coaches #172 - #174 were ordered from the St .Charles Car Company of St. Charles, Missouri sometime in mid-1900. St. Charles was one of the founding members of AC&F and continued to build cars under its own name for some period of time. It later became the primary builder of passenger cars under the AC&F name.

St. Charles was the builder of the most recently acquired first class coaches (UPD&G #194 - #197, built in 1896), and the only difference in the specifications for the current order was that they were to have AC&F’s “medium high-back seats” rather than the Scarritt seats installed in those cars.

Chappell {6} says the order was almost cancelled in May when it appeared the builder might not be able to deliver on time. But the coaches were shipped on standard gauge trucks 6 August, and arrived in Denver 9 August 1900.

C&S coach #76 at Sheridan Junction 1937
(3) C&S coach #76 at Sheridan Junction, 8 April 1937. Richard B. Jackson photo at Chappell-222(d) and Ferrell/C&S-94(u).

Though revenues were nothing to crow about, the line was moving ahead. But these would be the last new, true passenger equipment the road would have. Many observation cars would be added to the fleet, and coach-mail #115, which would burn in 1906, would be replaced. But no more new passenger-carrying equipment would be added after these three cars.

In 1906, coaches #172-174 were renumbered #74-76 in the same order. Coaches #74 and #75 were rebuilt by the C&S in 1915, but coach #76 apparently was not.

Coach #74 was one of the cars that were stripped down and equipped as bunk and living cars for use by Platt Rogers, Inc. from May to October 1938 as that firm dismantled the line from Climax to Waterton. It was dismantled in May 1939 and the body sold to Chris Sorenson of Longmont, CO.

Coach #75 was to have been converted to a coach-baggage-mail car in 1928 together with coach-mail #40, but these plans were never put into effect. The C&S passenger car diagrams contain a blueprint for such a car dated Denver 8-17-28. What an interesting all-around car it would have been: an 18' RPO at one end with a 12' passenger compartment at the other and a 10' express and baggage compartment in the middle. Coach #75 was used on the last passenger train from Denver to Leadville 9 April 1937 and back again on 10 April 1937.


31 Jul 2006

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