Passenger Cars of the South Park

The Coach-RPOs

Before 1892 UPD&G 1892 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
    Coach-RPO #115
(2nd #115, New 1906)
DSP&P Pullman
Coach #177 Coach #146
Coach-RPO #116
U&N Pullman
Coach #178 Coach #147
Coach-RPO #117
DSP&P Pullman
Coach #179 Coach #148
Coach-RPO #118

Unidentified Coach-RPO at Shawnee, 1903? (1) C&S Coach-RPO #41 or #43 at Shawnee. Poor says this was 1903, but this date is questionable: the Pullman sleepers, turned coach, weren’t given an RPO compartment until 1906. L.C. McClure photo at Poor-142(ME) and online (Image MCC-564 in the Denver Public Library's Western History Collection). (Click pic for enlargement.)

In 1892, with no sleeping car service left except on the Denver-Leadville route, Pullman Palace sleeping cars South Park, Bonanza and Leadville, together with Utah & Northern sleeper Rambler, had been converted to coaches and sold to the Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf. They nevertheless continued to be operated primarily on the Denver Leadville & Gunnison, as by that time both railroads were under the control of the Union Pacific, and from August 1894 on were operated as virtually one railroad under the same bankruptcy Receiver.

In 1906, with only the Denver-Leadville RPO contract remaining, and passenger service in decline, Bonanza (now coach #177), Rambler (now coach #178) and Leadville (now coach #179) were sent to the Pullman shops at Denver to have a mail compartment added. (South Park had been turned into a business car and sold off line.) The three were returned 14 July 1906 as coach-RPOs #41, #42 and #43 (in the same order).

A fourth coach-RPO was delivered new from Pullman in August and briefly replaced former DSP&P baggage-mail-express car #44 on the roster as C&S #115 before being renumbered #40. It looks very much like a similar plan 73 Pullman sleeper that might have been built for someone else, though we now know South Park, Bonanza, Leadville, and the ill-fated San Juan were the only [narrow gauge] sleepers Pullman built to this plan.

Photographs #1 and #2 may show one of the former Denver, South Park & Pacific Pullman Palace sleeping cars, or they may show one of the two non-DSP&P cars. Photographs #3 and #4 are definitely not the former DSP&P cars. But all reflect the same characteristics.

(2) Unidentified Coach-RPO at Jefferson (left)  and in South Platte Canyon (right), August 1929. These have to be either #42 or #43 because #41 was dismantled earlier that year, and #40 has a noticeably wider space between the pair of windows in the RPO compartmentthe two beside the doorthan between the other pairs (see photo #4 below). Richard B. Jackson photos at Chappell-213(d). Left photo also at Digerness1-201 and Kindig-277. (Same train, different photo, at Chappell-216 and Kindig-408.)

C&S Coach-RPO #42 at Denver, 1939

(3) C&S Coach-RPO #42 at Denver, 1932. Former Utah & Northern Pullman Palace sleeping car Rambler. Since Rambler was reportedly a plan 73A Pullman, one would have expected a single window at the left end where this car has a pair. This car has the appearance of a plan 73 Pullman such as Bonanza or Leadville, which became #41 and #43. Photo at Ferrell/C&S-208.

C&S Coach-RPO #40 at Denver, 1940

(4) C&S Coach-RPO #40 at Denver, 1938. Built (or rebuilt?) by Pullman, 1906 to match the C&S' other coach-RPOs. Note the wider panel between the pair of windows in the RPO section than between the other pairs. Photo may be found at Ferrell/C&S-208.


C&S coach-mail #118 at Buffalo 1906-1910

(5) C&S coach-mail #118 at Buffalo, probably between 1906 and 1910. A hitherto unknown photo. (Ken Martin collection)


In 1928, there was apparently some consideration of rebuilding coach-mail #40 into a combination coach-mail-express/baggage car, but this was never put into effect. Here's what it would have looked like —

Proposed rebuild of C&S coach-mail #40

More information on former Pullman (DSP&P) sleepers Bonanza and Leadville will be found here. More information on former Pullman (U&N) sleeper Rambler will be found here


(Photos with Source and Page in blue are best to show car details.)

(1) 1906+ L.C. McClure Shawnee Poor 142(ME) NA C&S coach-RPO #41 or #43
(5) 1906-1910 Unknown Buffalo     KM C&S coach-RPO #118
  1918 O.C. Perry South Denver Kindig 406(u) OP C&S coach-RPO #41 or #43
  1929 Aug R.B. Jackson Denver* Chappell 212(u) RJ C&S coach-RPO #42, middle car
Kindig 259(u) RK
  1929 Aug R.B. Jackson Denver* Chappell 212(d) RJ C&S coach-RPO #42
(2b) 1929 Aug R.B. Jackson South Platte Canyon* Chappell 213(u) NA C&S coach-RPO #42
  1929 Aug R.B. Jackson Crossons* Ferrell/C&S 97 RJ C&S coach-RPO #42
(2a) Aug 1929 R.B. Jackson Jefferson* Chappell 213(d) NA C&S coach-RPO #42
Digerness1 201 DD
Ferrell/C&S 102 RJ
Kindig 277(d) RJ
  Aug 1929 R.B. Jackson Como Chappell 216 NA C&S coach-RPO #42 or #43
Digerness2 74/5 DD
Ferrell/C&S 86 RJ
Kindig 408 RJ
  No date Unknown Jefferson Tank Wagner 328(m) GL C&S coach-RPO #40
(3) 1932 R.B. Jackson Denver Ferrell/C&S 208(dr) RJ C&S coach-RPO #42
(4) 1938 R.B. Jackson Denver Ferrell/C&S 208(dl) RJ C&S coach-RPO #40
  1938? W.A. Gibson Denver? Kindig 390 GS C&S coach-RPO #42
  1939 R.B. Jackson Denver Poole 191 HU C&S coach-RPO #42
  1940 William Pennington Denver Poole 190 WP C&S coach-RPO #40
* Same train.

The John Maxwell Collection offers a plan for Coach-RPO #40-43. It is their plan MC-170.


C&S mail-coaches #40-43

Car diagram for C&S mail-coaches #40-43 updated through 1916. (Note that this is not a scale drawing.) Click pic for enlargement.

Car Mail Compartment Passenger Compartment
Length Width Length Width (a)
#40 18'-2" 7'-6¼" 23'-7½" 7'-7"
#41 18'-2½" 7'-8½" 23'-6½" 7'-8¾"
#42 18'-2½" 7'-7½" 23'-6" 7'-9"
#43 18'-2¾" 7'-8" 23'-6½" 7'-8½"
(a) at window level (vs. baseboard)


1906 C&S No. #40 #41 #42 #43
Car Type Coach-RPO
Capacity 14 seats / 28 passengers
Rebuild Date June 1906
Rebuild by Pullman
Rebuild Cost $2,789 From $2,285 to $2,402 each
Length Over Endsills 42' - 5" (1916)
Length Over Buffers 48' - 1" (1916)
Truck Centers 30' - 11" (1916)
Wheel Size 26" (1916)
Truck Wheelbase 5' - 6" (1916)
Width 8' - 2" (1916)
Height of Body 9' - 6" (1916)
Body Above Rails 2' - 10" (1916)
Weight 1912 20 tons
1916 43,300 lbs. 38,900 lbs. 37,640 lbs. 37,700 lbs.
Platform Roof Bullnose
Heating Spear Heater
Lighting Oil Lamps
Interior Finish Mahogany / Mail end white paint (1916)
Termination Date 1941 1928/29 1939 1939
Termination Method Dismantled Retired/
body sold
body sold


31 July 2006

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