Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Two more C&S boxcars found!

The C&S saved a few pieces of narrow gauge rolling stock like engines 71, 60, and 9, as well as coach 70, caboose 1006, gondola 4319, combine 20, and the three passenger cars now in Silver Plume.

Jason Midyette Photo of C&S 8027 in 2005
Sales to other railroads inadvertently led to the saving of others like engines 74 and 32 (DSP&P 191), the refrigerator and stock car at the Colorado Railroad Museum, and the two reconstructed boxcars at Breckenridge and Boreas Pass. 

Curiously, the other source of rolling stock salvation has been a bit surprising-use as sheds.

Old railroad cars have sometimes been purchased by local individuals to be used as sheds.  Two C&S baggage cars, #2 and #3 both retired in January 1939, found a prolonged life this way.  Both ended up on the ground near Longmont, Colorado.  #2, specifically, was dismantled in July 1939 and the body sold to F.W. Kimmel of Lyon, Colorado.

Baggage car #3, however, though sighted for decades as a shed, was destroyed by a developer in 2005, despite assurances that it would be saved.  According to Jason Midyette, "another C&S car on the property, possibly thought to be Baggage/Mail car 11, was destroyed at the same time."

Her identical sister, #2, however, found a new home.  In 1980 the 1874 baggage car was moved to the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer in Grand Island, Nebraska.  The baggage car is reportedly not in good shape, having rotted quite a bit from her years as a shed, but is preserved nonetheless.

C&S 1008
A few other cars survived for a period of time as sheds or tool cars.  Combination car #30 was converted to a tool car and then used as a shed in Leadville.  Mallory Hope Ferrell's C&Sng lists it still there as late as 1959.  Mail-coach #42 was dismantled in May of 1939, and then the body was sold, and placed on the ground at the end of the Silica branch.  I could find no details of the whereabouts of either car at the present time.

Caboose 1008 is an example of another car that survived as a shed.  It was discovered in California, decades after it was assumed scrapped.  It is now undergoing restoration.

Another recent car saved from toolshed life was C&S boxcar 8027. According to the GoFundMe
Jason Midyette Photo of C&S 8027 in 2005
page that helped bring this car home to Como, 8027 was "'Dismantled' in Denver in January of 1939. Stripped of its metal parts, the carbody was sold to a farmer east of Boulder where it was used as a calving shed and general storage until early 2005. Acquired by a private owner in 2005, the car was slowly restored over the next several years."  That owner, Jason Midyette, did a stunning job restoring it in Kansas, and it now resides in Como.

Well finally, the good news!  Two more piece of C&S rolling stock have been found!!!

The South Park Rail Society recently announced, "We have successfully acquired the only two C&S type 2 boxcars currently known to exist.  These two cars are located on a farm in Western Colorado. The South Park Rail Society needs your assistance to raise the required funds to load and ship these boxcars to Como Colorado for restoration  and display. Additionally some of the funds will be used to  purchase and ship two original sets of historically correct "Bettendorf" Cast steel narrow gauge trucks to go under these boxcars. The final phase of the project will see all of these boxcars restored to operational condition."

This is quite honestly an amazing discovery!  Please follow this link to learn more and to contribute a gift to help this excellent work come to fruition.

Photos below are from the Fund Raising site.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

West Portal of Alpine Tunnel 1991 video

In the late '80s, I discovered the Alpine Tunnel in a magazine I bought at a rummage sale.  Fascinated, I then devoured Historic Alpine Tunnel and Poor's DSP&P book from the local Ohio library.  My parents, recognizing my growing passion for the subject, took our family out to visit this amazing place for the first time in 1991.  This is the home movie filmed on a Panasonic VHS-C video camera, complemented by cheesy Windows Movie Maker title slides that I added years later.  I'm not sure where the original file with the audio is, so I added new music over some old soundtrack.
Enjoy!  (Some points of curiosity in the video are listed below)

Some points of curiosity:

  • The snow sheds at the portal were still scattered over the approach to the portal (today all of the wood has been removed)
  • The rails were still under the snow shed debris (all of these rails were later removed and reused on the rebuilt track near the station complex).
  • A small replica of the arch had been erected in the beginning of the cut to the portal.  If I recall correctly, a school teacher and class had created this (this has since been removed).
  • Water all around it was the water still trickling out from the tunnel.
  • The stone facing of the portal was so covered in sliding dirt and rock that someone had created a makeshift rectangle of wood to keep some tiny access to it.
  • The turntable was in nearly complete ruin (Today much has been restored and track has been relaid on the approach)
  • The other turntable in the remains of the engine house had not yet been excavated.
  • No track had been rebuilt yet on the roadbed.
  • A random length of rail was laying on the former roadbed leading to the engine house.
  • The coal bin had not been restored.  One can see a side of it had collapsed.
  • From the back of the station/telegraph office you can see the collapsed privy that today has been fully restored.
  • The cellar in the ground near the front of the collapsed boarding house has not yet been restored.
  • The railroad has come and gone and restorations have occurred, but the one constant is: those little marmots are still all over the place! :)

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The Jefferson Depot-under new ownership 2019

The Jefferson Depot: "Serving travelers since 1880" reads the headline on the website .

The depot was abandoned in 1937/8 along with the South Park Line, but has had a few lives in the intervening years including the most recent as the Hungry Moose Caboose restaurant.  It's newest owner bought the former C&S depot in the heart of the South Park in 2019.

Their website reads: "In 2019, Frank and Jackie Marinaro purchased the Depot with the dream of creating a place where hikers and anglers, photographers and commuters, passers-thru and lifelong residents can gather, eat, drink and relax in the midst of towering mountain vistas, sparkling rivers, and star-filled Colorado night skies."

They honor the heritage of the depot throughout their website including a map of the entire C&S narrow gauge system, several historical photos of the depot during operations, and images of C&S trains hanging on the walls of the building.

In their "About" section it states, "Formerly the railroad depot for the Denver South Park and Pacific
Railway, The Jefferson Depot has stood at the gateway to the South Park Valley for nearly 150 years welcoming travelers to the breadth and beauty of western Colorado. Located at the base of Kenosha Pass on US 285, the distinct blue train depot building offers respite for travelers passing to and from Denver and towns located in Colorado's central mountains."

While giving the entire operation the name The Jefferson Depot, they still retain the name Hungry Moose Caboose for the take-out grill structure that is made to resemble a simplistic caboose.  Inside the station is the Moose Saloon and also a new area for dining in.  Tables are found in the passenger room, freight room, and agent's office.   

If you would like to see the inside of the depot you can see a virtual tour here from a site that previously posted the property for sale and has yet to be taken down.

While all of us would love to see a train again pull up to the Jefferson depot again (maybe Klondike Kate will get there someday from Como!), it's great to see this historical station still having life and retaining more than a few nods to its past.  Many blessings to Frank and Jackie Marinaro on their new venture!

Sunday, August 25, 2019

C&Sng 1954 in the Narrow Gauge News

This is part 5 of the C&S details found in Bob Richardson's Narrow Gauge News via Colorado Rail Annual 21.  Part 1: 1949-1950 is here.  Part 2: 1951 is here. Part 3: 1952 is here.  Part 4: 1953 is here.  Below are C&S references in his newsletter from the year 1954.  I have underlined some points of particular interest.

*Photos here are just my additions, not from the newsletter.


Otto Perry Photo - 1940
In a section about the end of passenger service on the D&RG
Passenger service meanwhile had been discontinued on all the other branches.  The Lake City and Pitkin Branches had been abandoned, along with Orient and Crestone.  Most of these services had been by mixed trains, sometimes not daily.  The Pitkin Branch was acquired in 1913 from the Colorado & Southern along with the Baldwin Branch.  The C&S had ceased to operate into the Gunnison area in 1910 when it closed Alpine Tunnel and the D&RG took over the isolated lines.  The Baldwin Branch was operated regularly until 1951 when the coal traffic to the San Luis Valley was lost thru abandonment.


C&S 1113 at CRRM-Wil Hata Photo
From MORE ROLLING STOCK TO THE MB&W (made-up RR name for the original
Colorado Railroad Museum)
Additional rolling stock arrived last month for our Mount Blanca & Western….The other three cars are Colorado & Southern cars sold in 1938 to the RGS: RGS box 8714 (C&S 8261), stock 7302 (C&S 7064), refrigerator 2102 (C&S 1116), all built in 1907-1909 period.

As time permits, the cars will be overhauled and lettered for various n.g. lines in Colorado including C&S, F&CC, and perhaps one of the Silverton roads.


Palisades 2003 - Kurt Maechner photo
RIGHT-OF-WAY of the old South Park has been cleared enough to Alpine (Portal on west side) for jeep trips to the tunnel.


Mac Poor insists that the “Denver, Muleshoe & Pacific” (recently featured in the Buz Sawyer comic strip by Roy Crane) is NOT one of the lesser known subsidiaries of the Denver, South Park & Pacific

…a summons to quite a title to some property in Gunnison was recently published in the “Gunnison Courier” as a legal notice to the Denver, South Park & Pacific and its “unknown surviving directors”…we suspect the 20 days allowed for answer went by with nary a word from any of them!

C&S ex-Idaho Springs depot is now a gift shop.
Idaho Springs Depot 2002


One of the box cars on display in the NG Museum attracted a lot of attention this summer…catalog is illustrated and we wish our ex-C&S reefer looked as good as the one shown.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

C&S "Gondola freight rail car gets new lease on life"

I found the following article by Patty Unruh from last year that does a nice job telling about the movement and background of the last narrow gauge C&S gondola, no. 4319.

Also, here's a video I posted a little while ago with some of the photos and video of 4319 from 1941 to the present.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Como, Colorado 1929-2018 Video

In the summer of 2018, my family and I visited Como.  It was the first time my wife and I had been back since the summer of 2004.  While we unfortunately didn't come on a day when Klondike Kate was steamed up, it was nonetheless astonishing to see how different the entire place was 14 years later.

In 2004, the depot was a rotting shell.  Today it is a lovely building, ready to receive a train from Denver.  Back in '04 I had no access to the roundhouse.  In 2018, Jeff Badger graciously welcomed us inside to look all around.  What fun!

This video is a mixture of before-and-afters photos and some before-and-after-and-afters, as well as some other photos and video of the site.  If you've never been to the roundhouse, or it has been a while, you'll get to see what's going on inside and some of the various items that are being restored.

In just the year since we visited in 2018, more rolling stock has arrived and more track has been laid.  These are exciting times for lovers of the DSP&P/C&S!


Monday, July 15, 2019

C&Sng 1953 in the Narrow Gauge News

Colo. Rail Annual 21
This is part 4 of the C&S details found in Bob Richardson's Narrow Gauge News via Colorado Rail Annual 21.  Part 1: 1949-1950 is here.  Part 2: 1951 is here. Part 3: 1952 is here.  Below are C&S references in his newsletter from the year 1953.  I have underlined some points of particular interest.
*Photos here are just my additions, not from the newsletter.


LAST SUMMER OUR STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER PUFFED his way to Alpine Tunnel, where no trains have puffed since 1910 on the South Park line.  Pictures include the right of way, the debris choked portals, boarding house and depot, and a general view of entire layout from summit of Alpine pass.  Six 616 size prints 50c; 13 for $1; 8 x 10 glossy enlargements at 3 for $1.50.  Have nine varieties of the enlargements.


DSP&P Mason Bogie on display in Iowa-from Pic. Sup. book
The string of weather-beaten ex-C&S stock cars at Ridgway have been dismantling [sic] during the winter.

It doesn’t seem to be generally known but the narrow gauge bogie type engine thot to have been from the South Park line, and parked on the campus at Ames, Iowa was cut up for scrap during World War II.


One each of the ex-Colorado & Southern box cars and stock cars are coming to be part of the MB&W [Mount Blanca & Western-the made-up railroad name used at the early Colorado Railroad Museum] roster … we are considering lettering them for the South Park.


Mac Poor is heading a group of RMRR Club members Aug. 29 hiking to Alpine Tunnel … 30


The names with faked dates carved in the rocks of the Palisades near Alpine Tunnel have been removed we learn by a “committee” indignant at such phoney goings on, a stick and a half of dynamite being employed along with chisels.


From a section regarding reasons being given for abandonment of the ex-C&S Gunnison lines:

One item says “in the fall of 1952 however a stock train was operated over the Baldwin Branch from Wylie to Gunnison,…but on that occasion a bridge collapsed and had to be rebuilt before the livestock could be hauled to destination.”  Our reporter was present on that occasion and noted no bridge “collapsed,” only that a rotten cribbing timber had let one end of the bridge settle slightly.  A bridge gang next day replaced it.  Our reporter saw no signs of any bridge being “rebuilt.”


C&S 75 in 1931-Otto Perry Photo
The “mudhens” have been seen infrequently the last ten years on [D&RGW]main line, and the 470s vanished from passenger service almost entirely after the government took seven of them to Alaska in 1942.  Took note of this because C&S 69 and 70 were also sent up to Alaska a year later.

“Mac” Poor has loaned a builder’s plate from Colorado & Southern engine No. 75.


A pair of C&S train registers of 1921 were acquired for the [CRRM] museum (in Ohio)