Passenger Cars of the South Park

Pullmans "Hortense" & "Kenosha"


U.P. 1885 U.P. 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
Pullman Hortense Pullman Hortense Withdrawn from Service Gone Gone
Pullman Kenosha Pullman Kenosha Withdrawn from Service Gone Gone

Pullman Palace sleeping car Hortense or Kenosha on the Palisades ca 1885

(1) Pullman Palace sleeping car Hortense or Kenosha on the Palisades c. 1885. This photo can be found at Ehrenberger/UP-39, Ferrell/C&S-16 and Ferrell/SoPk-96.


Pullman Palace cars Hortense and Kenosha were ten section sleeping cars built according to Pullmans plan 73A. This means they had 10 pairs of facing seats (five down each side), each pair of which made up into a lower berth, and had an upper birth that swung down from the ceiling above it. Since they were open Pullmans, there was no permanent wall between the sections. At night heavy curtains would be pulled that closed off each section from the aisle and from each other section. At one end of each car was a ladies restroom, linen closet and heater, and at the other was a mens restroom and lavatory. Each sleeping section had two pairs of windows, and each end section had a single window.

Hortense or Kenosha at Atlantic siding, mid-1880 (2) Hortense or Kenosha at Atlantic siding, on the east side of the Alpine Tunnel, in the mid-1880s. Taken by Joseph Collier, this photo can be found at Digerness2-324(d), Ferrell/SoPk-90, Helmers-157(m), Kindig-311(d), and online (Image C-109 in the Denver Public Library's Western History Collection).


Pullman Palace sleeping cars Hortense and Kenosha were assigned by the Pullmans Palace Car Co. to service on the South Park in September of 1882. The tracks had reached Gunnison, and sleeping car service between Denver and Gunnison would begin the following month.

Poor {44} says the Rocky Mountain News of 7 October 1882 had this to say —

“The Union Pacific has just received a superb shipment of new Pullman sleepers for its Gunnison trains, the first of which went out last night, well filled. The South Park trains leave Denver at 8:00 p.m. daily and will hereafter run a Pullman sleeper through to Gunnison via the famous Alpine Tunnel route.

“This much needed car service has been the only feature lacking to render the great Alpine Tunnel route the most popular in the state. With the advantage of nearly one hundred miles in distance, its great saving time, its unrivaled scenery and superior equipment and construction, it must always take the business between Denver and Gunnison.”

The sleeping car business was lucrative, and Pullman was making most of the money, so many of the railroads forced Pullman to form associations that gave them a share of the profits. The Union Pacific did this in May 1884, and ownership of the Hortense and Kenosha passed to the Union Pacific Association. The Hortense and the Kenosha were accordingly neither numbered nor renumbered by the Union Pacific in 1885.

In July 1887, sleeper service to Gunnison was discontinued, and in November all sleeper service on the Gunnison Division was discontinued. No one knows whether the sleepers used in this service were used interchangeably with the others on the Leadville run during 1888, whether they were used as parlor cars, or whether they just sat idle. But in January 1889, the two newer sleepers, Hortense and Kenosha, were withdrawn from the Association and rebuilt by Pullman to their plan 1001 for service on the National de Mexico. Hortense became the Celaya, while Kenosha became the La Paloma.


No, this isn’t Hortense or Kenosha after it went to Mexico. It is Española, another Plan 73A sleeper built a little more than a year earlier than they for use on the D&RG. Like them, it was reassigned to the Mexican Interoceanic RR in 1900, and may represent how they looked in their new livery.


13 April 2006

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