Passenger Cars of the South Park

Baggage-Mail-Express #43 & #44


 U.P. 1885  DL&G 1889  C&S 1899  C&S 1906
 #43  #1301  #1301  #114  Baggage-mail #13
#44 #1302 #1302 #115 Burned 13 Feb '06

Baggage-mail-express car #1301, 1886

(1) Pullman-built baggage-mail-express car #1301 nearing Boreas Pass, 1886. Photo at Digerness1-386 and Digerness2-122. What appears to be louvers across the mail-room window may be hardwood slats on the inside serving as security bars, highlighted by direct sunlight—the precursor to the later iron bars usually on the outside (but see photo #5 for iron bars on the inside).


Pullman-built baggage-mail-express cars #43 and #44 were much more “modern” looking than baggage-mail-express #42 built by the South Park’s Denver shops just six months before. Where #42 had a single door on each side, with four windows, looking somewhat like a modified passenger-carrying car, #43 and #44 had one door on each side for mail and a separate door for baggage: a much more efficient arrangement. Even though a “mail” car, it is unlikely mail was sorted on these cars initially, as it would be two years before the South Park had a Railway Post Office contract.

These cars had end platforms at both ends, and the platform roof profile was Pullman’s typical bull-nose type. The sheathing of the car appears to be the typical beaded millwork of later times, rather than any kind of esoteric paneling. (But look at the paneling in the doors!)

There does appear to have been a difference  between #43 and #44: the two stoves in #43 appear to have been on the same side of the car, while those in #44 appear to have been on opposite sides. At one point we thought there was a difference, too, between the placement of the windows in the mail section, with one car having the window centered between the mail door and the end of the car and the other having the window offset toward the door, but we have come to the conclusion the difference is between the two sides of each car, rather than between the cars. (Thus photos #1 and #2 show the two different sides of #1301, while #3 and #4 show the two different sides of #1302/115.)

Denver, Leadville & Gunnison baggage-mail-express car #1301

(2) Denver, Leadville & Gunnison baggage-mail-express car #1301 at Stony Point in the 1890s. M.E. Chase photo at Digerness2-124and Ferrell/SoPk-175. Note here and in photo below that it appears #1301 had both stoves on the same side, while #1302 had them on opposite sides.


DL&G baggage-mail-express car #1302 at Morrison, late 1880s

(3) DL&G baggage-mail-express car #1302 at Morrison, in 1895. Note the Union Pacific lettering. Photo at Digerness1-123.


Baggage-mail-express cars #43 and #44 were built by the Pullmans Palace Car Company as part of a two car order from the Denver, South Park & Pacific. Things were going well. A deal had been cut with the Denver & Rio Grande to connect to Leadville via the Rio Grande tracks north from Buena Vista, and tracks were well on their way west to Gunnison. The South Park needed cars of all types.

The two baggage-mail-express cars were delivered in June of 1880, and within a month were being operated in daily passenger trains between Denver and Malta (3 miles short of Leadville). Within another month they were in daily service between Denver and Leadville itself.

In 1882, the South Park began RPO service between Denver and Leadville and between Buena Vista and Gunnison, presumably using these cars. In 1885, the Union Pacific renumbered #43 and #44 in the baggage-mail-express category as #1301 and #1302 (#42 became #1300). The cars kept these numbers under the 1889 reorganization as the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison. If they were rebuilt during this time, the photographs show no sign of it. When the road became the Colorado & Southern in 1899, #1301 became #114 and #1302 became #115.


13 April 2006

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