Passenger Cars of the South Park

Coach-Baggage #8


U.P. 1885 DL&G 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
Chair car #8 Coach-baggage #702 #702 #124 #27

DL&G#702 at Alpine, 1897

(1) Denver, Leadville & Gunnison coach-baggage #702 at Alpine, 1897. C.H. Scott photo at Chappell-141(d), Digerness2-341(u), Helmers-181(u), Ferrell/C&S-17, Ferrell/SoPk-147(d), Poor-317 and Speas-74(d).


Coach-baggage car #8 has the same odd look as coach-baggage #6. Both were built in the South Parks Denver shops during 1879, and both look like coaches with a square-cornered door punched in for baggage loading. We have an early photo (1886) of #6 in which it appears more coach-like than does #8 in the photo above. But one could reasonably expect that had we an earlier one for #8 it would look more coach-like, even to possibly having windows on both sides of the baggage door.

In dimensions, coach-baggage #8 is similar to coach #7, which was finished immediately ahead of it. Both were 40'-4" long and 8'-0" wide and in 1912 were rated at 17 tons. Both also had broken duckbill platform roofs (as also did coach baggage #6). Coach #7 had single-pane windows, while our 1897 photo of coach-baggage #8 shows double-pane, but conversion from single to double would likely have been necessary in order to install the baggage door. (Single pane windows of the coach #7 type open downward into the wall of the coach, requiring a thicker wall and/or less supporting truss-work. Using the car for baggage as well as passengers would require additional truss-work, as would the interruption of the sides by the baggage door. This might make downward-opening windows impossible and necessitate double pane windows. We have seen single-pane windows on no combination coach-baggage cars other than the Bowers-Dure cars, #23 and #25, and their windows open upward.)


Coach-baggage car #8 was built as a first-class chair car by the South Parks Denver shops in December of 1879, shortly after the delivery of the first Pullman Palace cars. It was equipped with Horton’s Reclining Chairs.

A chair car must be distinguished from a parlor car, with which it is often confused. A parlor car was an extra-fare car, like a Pullman Palace sleeper, with patrons paying extra for the added luxury they enjoyed. This luxury generally included, among other things, a single row of overstuffed, high-backed armchairs on swivel bases down each side of the car. The chair car, on the other hand, might be thought of as the poor mans parlor car. It compared to the parlor car as did the tourist (or emigrant) sleeper to the Pullman Palace car. Each passenger had a reclining chair that could be turned toward the scenery, or the other way to converse with a neighbor across the isle. At night it could be dropped back like a sofa, and while it was not as good as a berth, it was adequate for a snooze.

Either the chair car idea did not go over well on the South Park, the South Park found itself short of combination cars, or—odd, but not impossible—the #8 was not a full chair car, but a combination baggage-chair car.

In any event, by 1885 the Horton seats were gone and the #8 was an ordinary combination coach-baggage car. Since the South Park made no distinction between coaches and combination cars, there would have been no change in number. When the Union Pacific renumbered in 1885 it was numbered among the combination cars as #702, a number it retained after the reorganization into the Denver, Leadville & Gunnison.

C&S coach-baggage #124 about 1905 at (Old) Baldwin

(2) DL&G #702 at Old Baldwin about 1890. Photo at Chappell-151 and Ferrell/SoPk-285.

When the Colorado & Southern took over in 1899, it was renumbered to #124. Sometime around the turn of the century roof work became necessary and the platform roofs were rebuilt with the bullnose contour. At the 1906 renumbering, #124 became C&S coach-baggage #27. It was rebuilt again in 1915, no doubt losing its baggage-end platform, if it hadnt already. It operated until February 1923, when it was sold to the Herr-Rubicon Supply Co.


08 April 2006

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