Jim Courtney posited:
The C&S connection to the D&RG dual gauge (to allow C&S trains to access Leadville when the Trout Creek line was washed out), was actually two connections, forming a "wye". I'd wondered how the C&S locomotives were turned at Buena Vista, thinking that surely they didn't run all the way back to Macune to turn. Do you think that when C&S locomotives turned at Buena Vista, that they actually used the D&RG 3-rail main as one leg of the wye?
Unfortunately, 1912 C&S Blue Book blueprint map Jim referenced misleads in two respects:
1. The D&RG and C&S did not actually connect with each other IN Buena Vista proper.
2. The D&RG and C&S did have an interchange track connection south of town, which the blueprint map represents, albeit incorrectly.
The 1918 ICC Valuation map shows the D&RG and C&S paralleling each other a few blocks apart in Buena Vista but not connecting. It also shows the D&RG-C&S interchange track south of town, but note how the track connects the lines differently from the the way 1912 "Official Mileage" Bluebook configures it.
The interchange track south of town can be seen in the overview and closeup pictures following, both of which record set outs at the D&RG end of the connection.
Attribution - DPL Digital Collection Until the October 1910 Alpine Tunnel cave-in, Buena Vista sat at the end of a branch line stub off the main line that ran between Como and Gunnison. After Trout Creek flooded and washed out considerable lengths of track between Bath and Macune in October1910, the C&S embargoed the entire mainline between Garos and Macune, and, Buena Vista became the base of operations for the Chalk Creek run. In either case, if the accompanying (unfortunate) double-exposure (courtesy, Randy Rieck) is any indication, crews wyed at Macune first and then backed into Buena Vista.
On the valuation map, doesn't the C&S track labeled "No 7" curve back to form a (south) leg of a wye, as the "Bluebook" map implies.
The tight curve, forming the base of a very acute triangle, is solid on the C&S side where it connects, dashed where it connects to the D&RG. Does this imply that the track connecting to the D&RG has been taken up, creating a short curved spur labeled "No, 7"? Or does it represent ownership of an existing connected track, solid for C&S halfway around the curve, becoming dashed on the D&RG?
If the track labeled No 7 is completely in place, then the two connections on the valuation map pretty much match the "Blue Book" diagram.
Really? From 1910 to the end of operations on Chalk Creek in the mid 1920s, the Buena Vista based branch locomotive used the wye at Macune to turn? Who knew . . .
Thanks for the map, clears up some things for me in BV.
D&RG RR map dated 1889 for Buena Vista does show the DSP&&P making a connection with the D&RG at the east end of town, at the location marked "1" on the blue print. The "arc" track at mark "2" belonged to the D&RG and connected with both lines. This could have been used as a wye.
I can't address what the valuation map might show as I do not have a copy at hand.
And while we're on the subject of the Buena Vista branch, maybe John and Rick can clear up a few things that I've never understood.
From 1899, the first year of C&S operation, until the August 1908 Box Canon flood, Buena Vista was at the end of a short branch line, connecting to the Como-Gunnison main at Schwanders. After most of Schwanders was covered in silt, Buena Vista connected to the re-routed Como-Gunnison main at Macune. And as John says, after the Trout Creek line was embargoed in the fall of 1910, Buena Vista was the operating terminal of the Chalk Creek branch, trains going no further than Hancock after the tunnel was abandoned.
When the Como-Gunnison mainline was intact, how was business on the short Buena Vista branch handled? Was Buena Vista served by occasional freights, running extra out of Schwanders, later Macune? This is the way the branch from Dickey to Dillon and Keystone was operated.
Or was a Buena Vista branch job, with an assigned locomotive working out of Buena Vista, in place? Was there passenger or mixed service on this short branch, connecting with the mixed trains 93 and 94 from Gunnison to Como? Buena Vista was the county seat, the only large town between Como and Gunnison.
And anyone have any idea how much narrow gauge freight was interchanged with the D&RG 3-rail main, destined north to Leadville or south to Pueblo?
I seem to recall in the CRA 12 that, for several years, while the C&S was a co-owner of the Colorado Midland, quite a bit of Baldwin coal and hay from the Parlins region, consigned to Leadville, were hauled over Alpine and up Trout Creek to Newett, where the commodities were transferred by hand to standard gauge CM cars, then hauled the rest of the way to Leadville. This seems ridiculous in an age of expensive labor; it would have been simpler to interchange the C&S coal cars and boxcars of hay with the D&RG at Buena Vista, and allow the D&RG to move them up the 3-rail main to Leadville. But I guess President Trumbull wanted to keep all the business in the "family".
I'd love to see more information on Buena Vista operations in the first decade of the C&S.
which gives the impression that this arc track is disconnected
but in this earlier picture, wasn't. Looking at all the zig-zaging back and forth to "turn" on this Wye arrangement and getting permission from the D&RG Dispatcher, well I'd just wye out at Macune and back into B.V.
While the connecting track to the D&RG might have at one time included a curved track to the south that actually formed a functioning wye, it appears that it wasn't used as such by the C&S.
If locomotives were commonly wyed at Macune and the train backed across the river to tie up at the BV depot, it would explain why every photo of the BV station area with a train has a locomotive pointed to the south.
The photo with the 4 freight cars on the C&S - D&RG "interchange track" is fascinating. The coal car on the left end has too many stakes for a C&S coal car, looks more like a not-yet high side gon of the D&RG. And the middle boxcar seems to have lettering to suggest a St Charles boxcar of 1898, still in its delivery lettering scheme.
Finally, the two SUF reefers near the court house, with black block lettering, is a great find. But were they painted orange or deep yellow?
In South Park's Gunnison Division book I note from A.A. Anderson's time book that he ran from Como to Alpine Tunnel as late as 11/7/10 with a run to Pitkin as late as 11/13/10. This adds to the rest of the story at Buena Vista, Trout Creek wash out and the close of the tunnel. Anderson's run of 11/7/10 was noted as taking 16 hours and 20min. In that time he had to cross Trout Creek Pass and could not have run around to Leadville and used the DRG to Buena Vista.
Keep digging at Buena Vista and Nathrop! There has got to be more to the story.
Keep digging at Buena Vista and Nathrop! There has got to be more to the story.
I agree, this is (to me) one of the least understood parts of the C&S, especially the different ways this segment was operated over the years.
I'd also like to learn more about Schwanders, before it was covered with mud. It seem like operationally it was a mini-division point between Como and Gunnison, quite a bit like Pitkin on the other side of Alpine. Why wouldn't there have been as many various locomotives hanging out between trains at Schwanders, helpers and such, like the well photographed yards at Pitkin?
BTW, Tom, I noticed a review in RMC of your new book with Denise on the Clear Creek lines. An address was listed for orders, but could you confirm the cost + S&H. If you could forward a photo of the cover of the new book to Darel, perhaps he could feature it on the main C&Sn3 blog page, like Ken Martin's Passenger Car book. I'll bet most of us would like a copy.
I can't speak for the early part of the century, but I've just finished transcribing lists of cars moved in hill jobs to Marshall Pass from September, 1923 to August, 1924.
Among the destinations were Alma, Breckenridge, Climax, Dillon, Fairplay, and Leadville. No idea of the number of Leadville cars destined for interchange with the C&S. I have not done any analysis of number of cars to various destinations so far, but Leadville and Breckenridge appeared quite frequently.
Also 10 C&S boxcars showed on the lists and as I remember, they all were destined to on-line D&RGW points.
With mention of interchange here is a photo used on P 140 in Speas "Going Railroading" of 57 on the Romley branch with a D&RG gondola in the consist.
Sam Speas right, Ben Thomas fireman left. Scan of postcard my collection.
John, the logic of DSP&P track layouts sometimes evades. The Como wye was east of the depot opposite the drainage. Once the line to Leadville was constructed over Boreas, the westbound passenger had to wye before entering town and back into the station. I guess the eastbound backed toward Denver and wyed prior to proceeding.
Pat, I am interested to hear more about your analysis, if there is more to hear. As of the date of your study the third rail was still in place between Salida and Leadville. Somewhere I read that Baldwin coal was favored widely, so that may account for the consignments from the D&RG beyond Leadville. It is interesting to see the D&RG gons in the C&S trains.
In Sloan's Compendium of D&RG freight cars, Sloan cites a John Maxwell statement that, before the 3rd rail was removed, quite a bit of Baldwin and Crested Butte coal was hauled by the D&RG from the Gunnison area to Leadville, via Marshall Pass and Salida. Per Maxwell, several not-yet-highside gons were equipped with 3-way couplers on one end of the car.
This allowed "unit consists" of coal to be hauled over Marshall Pass behind narrow gauge power. Between Salida and Leadville, the consist would be hauled by standard gauged power, or in standard gauge freight trains, a gon with 3-way coupler on either end of the narrow gauge coal consist, within the train.
I've often wondered how much of that coal ended up on C&S points in the Blue River area and points east. Perhaps the gon in Ken's photo is one of those cars.
Pat, as Ron Rudnick has pointed out, there was a lot more narrow gauge interchange than we commonly assume, especially before 1925. Volume XII of The RGS Story, lists a large number of C&S cars that are recorded in the consists of RGS trains between 1907 and 1920, including coal cars, stock cars, boxcars and a flat car as late as February, 1920. Between 1903 and 1910 a large number of F&CC cars were in RGS trains as well. One wonders how often F&CC cars showed up on the C&S.
Finally, in Ken's photo of C&S 57, note the old Peninsular style 20 ton trucks under the tender. This must be about 1915, given the USSA grab irons on the coal car.
Don't forget the Como trackage was laid out with the original intent of trains to Gunnison, the Leadville destination was a kneejerk response to changing mining booms, the Boreas line was planned only as a branch to Breckenridge maybe beyond. Turning the train to Leadville on the Como wye became a matter of necessity, I often wonder but doubt they ever considered changing the location of it.
In other news, I wonder how the engine movements worked as trains were fueled. I guess engines were changed at Como. At Dickey, the tank was remote from the Coal dock, correct? Pine Grove was only coal--no water. (Why?)
D&RG 1541 and 1866 received 3-way coupler pockets on the A-end with a completion date of November 5, 1919.
I would not use the word "unit" in reference to the operations of these cars. Unit implies a train with all cars transporting the same commodity. As both coal and ore were moved on hill jobs with the ultimate destination of Leadville, even a pure standard gage train with these two commodities would not be "unit" train. I would say that they allowed a standard gage block operate in a broad gage train.
Coal production for Gunnison County in 1924 was 43,799 tons for mines on the Baldwin Brach and 227,748 tons for the Crested Butte Branch. Assuming a 6 day work week this would be approximately 6 cars per day for the Baldwin Branch and 30 for the Crested Butte. Most of the coal from Baldwin Branch mines was semi-bituminous, 35,713 tons, whereas coal from Crested Butte Branch was bituminous, semi-anthricite and anthracite. The story I've heard is that the coal from Baldwin Branch mines mostly went to the power plant at Alamosa.
The passage in Sloan's book suggested quite a few gons were converted to 3 way coupler cars, that's why I envisioned solid trains of Crested Butte coal moving back and forth between Gunnison and Leadville, having seen photos of solid coal trains on Marshall Pass. Of course, other types of freight cars with other ladings would have been handled the same way, inserted as you say, as "narrow gauge blocks" into broad gauge trains at Salida.
Your post suggests D&RG 1541 and 1866 weren't used in revenue service per se, but were retained at Salida for use as dual gauge idler cars, for the narrow gauge blocks of cars headed north to Leadville. Is this correct?
Were the idler cars used to the south as well, allowing blocks of narrow gauge cars to be moved to Pueblo? How was the limestone from Monarch moved, before the barrel transfer was installed at Salida? I am now beginning to imagine interchanged narrow gauge C&S cars moving down the Royal Gorge, and over the "hanging bridge", in a dual gauge train of mixed consists!
The dual gauge up the Arkansas was in use for over 3 decades, but I've never seen a photo of a train with narrow narrow gauge consists on the 3-rail. Do any exist?
And, Pat, welcome to Roper's Doghouse! You seem to be a very,very knowledgeable person when it comes to that part of Colorado in which we all share a common interest.
I suspect that the 1541 and 1866 were used in 3-day a week operation between Salida - Buena Vista - Leadville. This is based on the number of C&S destined cars showing on the hill jobs. Also, if the cars were sent to Gunnison for distribution to the mines, they could be loaded to a destination that would take them out of their intended use.
My memory says that the center rail was removed between Pueblo and Salida prior to 1920 and maybe as early as 1908, so they didn't run east.
Coal, limestone and ore destined to broad gage points was shoveled by hand to broad gage cars, paying $0.75 per day. This is why there was only one class of solid bottom gondolas, 26 cars - 1900 -1925, that had 50" sides prior to the installation of the mechanical transfer at Barrel in late 1924. The rest had 30", 36" or 40" sides. The cars with 40" sides were rebuilt in the mid 20's with 50" sides and the smaller cars retired.
I have not found any photos of these cars in operation or any photos of trains Salida - Gunnison in the 20's.
One of the thing I forgot to mention in one of my earlier posts is that besides coal ore was destined to Leadville mostly in boxcars and a few gondolas. No idea of what ore or origin.
The wye was laid out in I guess 1880 to serve the Lower Como coal mines, seems to be much later it was used for the Leadville service. My assumption by then is that is was the simplest solution to a limited need.
Without major earth works the only other option would have been perhaps well to the south or by the spur to the original mines, distance probably similar but why incur the cost?
Seems that there may have been a coal dump on the leg between the lower Como mines and Denver, traces on the ground, never seen a photo of that area or any mention.