Passenger Cars of the South Park

Baggage-Mail-Express #42


U.P. 1885 DL&G 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
#42 #1300 #1300 #113/#105 Baggage #4


Union Pacific #1300 ca. 1887

(1) Our best guess is that this is Denver Leadville & Gunnison #1300 sometime between 1889 and 1899. J.B. Sturtevant photo, taken near Kenosha Pass, is at Ferrell/SoPk-229(u).


There are several reasons why we think the car in the above detail from a photo in Mal Ferrell’s book is Denver Leadville & Gunnison #1300.

(a) The photo appears to have been taken sometime between 1885 and 1899 because the locomotive tender (to the left in the photo in the book) has the large “Union Pacific” type numbers, but there is no “C&S” on the cowling around the tender tank above it.

(b) The window configuration looks very much like a modification of the typical four-window baggage car of that era (see photo below) with the two windows closest to the baggage door sheathed over and the sill of one lowered to become a door with a raised threshold over which mail bags could be handed in and out. (Like the center doors on baggage cars #40, #41 and #45.) B-M-X #42 was built by the South Park shops very likely from a “kit” produced by an eastern car builder, and these minor alterations would have been quite easily done.

(c) The flat eves of the platform overhang suggest the roof was originally of a duckbill or broken duckbill configuration like the car in the photo below. Modification of platform roof overhangs to the bullnose contour was generally not done until a car required extensive roof repairs, probably close to 10 years after it was built, unless of course it had been in a wreck.

(d) The baggage door seems not to extend into the letterboard of the car as it does in photos of C&S #4, but the letterboard appears narrower than it does in those photos.

(e) Finally, the ultimate test: if it isn’t DSP&P #42/UP #1300/DL&G #1300, what is it?

Utah Northern baggage-mail-express car, 1886

(2) Unidentified Utah Northern baggage-mail-express car, Garrison, MT, 1886. (Click pic to see loco. It was on lease from guess where?) DSP&P #42 probably had a similar window configuration originally, then had the two windows closest to the door covered. The photo can be found at Ehrenberger1989-8 and Poor-457(ME).


Assuming that photo #1 above is DSP&P baggage-mail-express car #42 after the 1885 renumbering, it originally had a single baggage door, centered on the car, with end platforms at both ends, and probably had platform roofs with the broken duckbill contour similar to other cars built by the South Park’s Denver shops.

We can only guess whether #42 originally had four windows, or just two as in the above photo. Our educated guess is that it had four windows, with the one modified by the lowered sill to create a “mail door” similar to the center doors in baggage cars #40 and #41 which the DSP&P shops had just built. The mystery is why six years later—at the 1885 U.P. renumbering—the three cars with center “mail doors”—DSP&P #40, #41 and #45—went on the U.P. roster as baggage cars, while #42 went on the roster as a baggage, mail & express car along with #43 and #44, which had full height doors. If we had to venture a guess, it would be that the three longer cars had by then proven more suitable for combined use, while the three shorter cars were more suitable to single use.

Union Pacific #1300 ca. 1887
Above: 34'-0" baggage cars #40 and #41 built July 1879 by DSP shops and 34'-0" baggage car #45 built July 1880 by DSP shops.
Above right: 40'-0" BMX #42 built September 1879 by DSP shops.
Right: 42'-0" BXM #43 and #44 built June 1880 by Pullman.
Baggage-mail-express car #1301, 1886

It’s hard to tell whether the windows in #42 would have been single- or double-pane. On the one hand, the windows in #40, #41 and #45—the others built by the DSP&P shops—appear to be double-pane windows opening upward. But on the other hand, if the windows in #42 had been single-pane windows, opening downward, it would have been much simpler to lower the sill to create the “mail door.”


08 April 2006

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