Colorado & Southern Rolling Stock
Passenger Cars of the South Park
Passenger Cars of the Colorado Central


Sources of information about
South Park / DL&G / Colorado Central / UPD&G / C&S
passenger cars.

There are five categories of source material for study of these passenger cars: Original records, 1885 renumbering information, car diagram books (sometimes called weight diagrams or “folio sheets”), books, and finally online, correspondence and other hearsay.


These include records of the railroad itself such as rosters, account books, correspondence and such; records of the car builders such as order books, rosters, correspondence, builders photos and the like; published material of the time such as newspaper accounts of events that include car information, reports in railroad-oriented publications such as the Railroad Gazette, and stories in more general technical publications such as Scientific American; and finally, personal writings such as diaries, letters and reminiscences. These primary sources are generally considered the most authoritative because of their proximity to the times, but they cannot be accepted uncritically because everyone makes misteaks, and sometimes they flat-out disagree.

Most of these materials are in archives or museums, and getting to them is a challenge. Getting through them to find meaningful information takes dedication and skill. The only way we have been able to apply this kind of information in the current study is second-hand through those who have shared their own efforts with us.


Whether the Union Pacific's taking control of these lines was a good thing or bad for the railroads is debatable, but it was good for us. By 1885 the Union Pacific had acquired control of such a mish-mash of equipment from so many different lines, with so much duplication, that it had to perform a system-wide renumbering. A guidebook was produced for the benefit of employees that had to deal with this renumbered equipment, and it is this guidebook that is reproduced in Ehrenberger’s Union Pacific Equipment List and Renumbering -- June 1, 1885.

This guidebook contains a wealth of information. Unfortunately, according to Ehernberger, “An effort was made to correct obvious errors found in the original text.” Obvious to whom? “Obvious” errors in primary texts, often turn out -- upon distant hindsight -- to have been correct. So Ehernberger is a blessing, but not to be accepted uncritically.


A railroads engineering department generally maintains one or more books containing diagrams, dimensions, classifications, and general information on all equipment currently in use. These books are often referred to as a folio, whether for their arrangement, or because they represents the railroad's portfolio of cars. Whether the South Park, the Colorado Central, or their successors had these is unknown, but in any event none exist today. The Colorado and Southern did keep a folio," and copies of the pages may be found in the Robert W. Richardson Railroad Library at the Colorado Railroad Museum. South Park cars that lasted beyond about 1911 will generally be found here. BUT the information is neither cumulative nor historical. It reflects the nature of each car as of the last update of its page in the book, and these vary from 1911 to 1923.


There are many books available about the Colorado & Southern and its predecessor railroads. Some contain a great deal of information on passenger cars, some only a single photo. An extensive bibliography can be found on this website, which includes notations as to sources used. Books are only as accurate as their authors' research. We hate to take information from these secondary sources without checking original records, but limitations as to time and money make it necessary.


Four books contain rosters:

1.   Kindig's is the oldest, and was drawn up by well-known expert John W. Maxwell using records from Master Mechanic's Office, Colorado & Southern Shops.
2.   Wagner's is the next oldest. He cites no specific authority we could find, but the book jacket says, New research has uncovered complete rosters of the Colorado & Southern, both standard and narrow gauge ... and he acknowledges working with railroad officials. There is no specific evidence he used Kindig, and he notes renumbering took place in 1906, where Kindig says 1911.
3.   Ferrell/C&S appears to have taken Kindig’s roster and simply abbreviated it, though he acknowledges help from quite a number of well-known authorities.
4.   Poole is the newest roster and represents an unusual situation. (a) The citation is to Poole, because he is the first of the two authors, having supplied the roster and narrative for freight cars. But the passenger car roster and narrative was written by Ken Martin. (b) Editor Robert Grant supplied the photographs and wrote the captions, making possible the interesting situation where a car that was dismantled in 1928 is pictured on the rails in 1936.

Ya sorta pays yur money and takes yur choice ...


(Or should that be “heresy?”)

There are lots of opinions, conjectures and suppositions out there. Some are well-researched and well-thought-out. Others are really off-the-wall. We have tried to incorporate this type of information where it makes sense, but always identifying it as to source and rationale where possible. The DSP&P discussion group has been an invaluable resource in the past and the DenverSouthPark discussion group continues to carry on the action. And there’s always the DSP&P Historical Society: join today!

14 April 2006

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