Passenger Cars of the South Park

Coach #3 - Geneva

DSP&P U.P. 1885 DL&G 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
#3 #63 #63 #160 #56

DSP&P #1 with B&S coach #3 0r #5
(1) This is either DSP&P coach #3 or #5 together with coach-baggage #1 at Buffalo Creek Station probably the latter half of 1878. Notice the difference in width. The Barney & Smith coaches were among the first narrow gauge coaches to have 2 and 2 seating. At 8'-0" wide, it was 5" wider than #1. Photo by Charles Weitfle at Chappell-31, Digerness1-165 and Kindig-32. Weitfle did a second exposure which is at Ferrell/SoPk-31.


When built, coach #3 probably looked pretty much the same as in the photo above: a typical Barney & Smith coach of the time, with 14 moderately arched double-pane windows and what appears to be an abbreviated broken bullnose profile to the platform roofs. (At first blush one might say broken duckbill, but see how the eve line of the right end platform clearly droops. See photos of brother coach-baggage #4 and sister coach #5 for a different perspective.) When built, coach #3 may have had board and batten siding, but we can do no more than guess, as it certainly did not by the time the above photo was taken. Nevertheless, it had at least seven years during which to be resheathed, and other cars had received a new set of boards within their first ten years.

Coach #3 would probably have been either painted a deep brown (some say chocolate brown, but with differing eye as to what constitutes chocolate) or stained a medium brown. Lettering was probably of gold leaf with stripes and trimming.

South Park #63 after 1885
(2) South Park coach #3 as coach #63 after U.P. renumbering in 1885. (Click pic for enlargement.) Photo at Digerness1-386(d) (dark close-up) and Digerness2-122 (distant photo).


First-class coach #3, given the name Geneva, was built by the Barney & Smith Manufacturing Co. of Dayton, Ohio. It was part of a three-car order {1} delivered to the South Park 29 June 1878, shortly after the track was completed the 41 miles to Pine Grove. The other two cars were coach #5 Leadville, and coach-baggage #4 Halls Valley.

The Denver Daily Times of 29 June 1878 {9}said —

“They (the three Barney & Smith cars)  are finely finished and will perfectly answer all requirements, both of beauty and utility. They came from Dayton, Ohio, over broad-gauge roads, broad-gauge trucks having been substituted for the narrow-gauge wheels, which were sent upon a flat car. (They had arrived June 10th.) The combination passenger and express car is named ‘Halls Valley.’  The passenger cars are named ‘Geneva’ and ‘Leadville.’ ”

Note that beauty was considered a requirement! Coaches of the day were quite ornate by todays standards.

The new cars undoubtedly got their first work-out on the July 4 excursions that immediately followed.

In 1885, when the Union Pacific renumbered everything, coach #3 was renumbered #63, a number it kept under the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison reorganization. It was probably rebuilt at least once during this time due to wear-and-tear, and the windows adjacent to the stoves at each end were filled in. When the DL&G was merged into the Colorado & Southern in 1899, South Park #3, now DL&G #63, was renumbered C&S #160.

At the 1906 renumbering, C&S #160 became #56. It was rebuilt by the C&S in 1915 and in use until dismantled in May of 1939. At some time before 1915 the platform roofs were rebuilt to the more modern bullnose profile.

Coach #56 was dismantled May 1939, and the body sold to Chris Sorenson of Longmont, CO. This much we know for certain. The rest is largely supposition.

At some point, what was believed to be the body of #56 was acquired by a group of investors intending to build a narrow gauge railroad near what is now the Platte Valley Airport. Their property—known as the Sundown & Southern—encountered a great many problems, and in July of 2002 it was liquidated at auction. The badly decomposed body of coach #56 went for $750. Todd Hackett, who was present at the auction, said on the DSP&P Forum at that he tried to locate the buyer afterwards without success, but was told by others who did talk to the man that he planned to restore one or both ends of the car, which appear to be the only recoverable hunks.


08 April 2006

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