Ehhhhhh.... I donno, Mike. Something about that primus doesn't quite add up. I'm not saying they didn't do all the switching eastbound - truly I don't know. And maybe initially Evans pushed to get his traffic to Leadville quicker but just how much of a race was that? Wasn't the D&RG route something like 3 times longer?
The C&S in particular was a very pragmatic operation; if they continued to insist on an "ancient" practice not to switch westbound trains there was probably a good reason for it - it worked; more economically. (Key word there = money!) It could have been as simple as westbound grades were often far longer than eastbound grades. Westbound trains involved more "loco miles" since they usually tied up multiple helpers for greater distances than eastbound trains. More engines while shuttling cars at numerous stops along the way meant more cost in terms of fuel and labor.
Money! Money, money, money! Whenever you need an answer to something default to money. Old Railroaders were great sources of stories and I have great respect for Margaret Coel and appreciate the heck out of Sam's narrative but the records have trumped his memories on more than one occasion.
Derrell, perhaps there were a couple reasons for this.
The Westbound would have hit Climax very late in day. Seems like the potential for the crew to run out of time and be stuck in Climax would be high. In contrast the Eastbound crew would be fresh, with the prospect of little eastbound switching in Kokomo, Dickey or Breck.
It does seem peculiar to me that the train would not be blocked in Como (at least) so the crew could simply drop a block of cars at the top of the pass and then make a run for Leadville. That at least would make for an easier run first thing the next morning.
Perhaps the risk of cold temperatures offset the issue of running all the way into the Cloud City for the night?
(we should really start another thread on operations?)
Mike and Rick, do you have a folio of Climax you can post? I have wondered how many spots there are to switch there.
I had already told them about this forum before they started that subject. They are welcome to post here too.
To answer your question about my other avatar, you should read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
The Ancient Mariner preaches closeness to God through prayer and the willingness to show respect to all of God's creatures.
Does this mean that if a load was going to Waterton that they would haul it all the way to Leadville and then back to Waterton?This seems to be a tremendous waste of coal and water,time,and mens lives.Plus hellaciously unnessessary wear and tear on equipment.
Keith, I guess the reason I have trouble with this idea is that the RR was always more concerned about profit than anything else; including convenience to crews. Crews operated in the dead of winter at elevations of Artic proportions and at night and whenever the RR called. They were not "socialist minded" like we are today. The reason for running thru to Leadville was for one reason and only one; money! Whatever details about this, that was the purpose. The crews were not people when it came to the bottom line and the unions and laws were an inconvenience to making money - or at least avoid loosing anymore than absolutely necessary.
So you know that you're going to hear a railroad tale here.
It seems that the majority of the engine crews lived in Como. Since the freight operation on the South Park at the end was three days a week, pickings were pretty slim for the crews. I was told that most of the switching was done on the westbound run, That is that the pulling of loads and spotting of empties was done on the way IN to Leadville.
Since most of the loads were bound for Denver (East Bound), they were spotted for easy pickup on the next day's eastbound trip.
This allowed the crews to get their full 16 hours on the way into Leadville, at their away from home terminal. On the way home, they would run with empties to Climax, spot them and then go picking up all the loads that they had all ready switched out do that the run home was between 8-10 hours.
There was one exception to this rule and that was Charlie Williamson. "Hardboiled" Williamson lived in Leadville with his wife Hazel and their son Howard. Charlie would deadhead to Como to make his call and he would run like hell from Como to Leadville. Of course he would then take his time going back from Leadville to Como. I understand that the freight crews just hated getting called with him because of this.
It came to an end in 1936 any way when Charlie was killed when the 75 rolled over on him.
According to what I've read, the 75 and 76 ended up being sold to Cerro de Pasco Copper in Lima, Peru. According to George Sebastian-Coleman's RRobb book, they were used on the Huancayo Y Huancavelica.
Other authors have said that the remnants of them were around until the late 60's or early 70's when they were both scrapped.
If you take a look at the 74 at the CRRM, you will see that these were BIG 2-8-0's for 3' gauge. It's no wonder that they had a reputation for being top heavy, especially being inside-framed locomotives.If you look at their histories on the C&S they didn't have any more than their normal share of derailments. The 75 did get the "Jonah" monicker, but I've met people who seem to attract more than their fair share of trouble, Why not a machine?
With the spool valves rather than that Brooks slanted D-Block the 75 and 76 would probably be easier to maintain and more universal in their repair parts. 75 and 76 still had their original Stephenson Valve gear when sold if I remember correctly and the photos don't lie.
Just a thought here. The fourth locomotive in this original group, the C&N/DB&W 33 never made it to the C&S. It was supposed to be even bigger than the 74-76. It was, according to photographic evidence, shipped to Louisiana and converted to broad gauge. That must have been one helluva boiler on an inside framed 3' gauge locomotive...
Yes, the Brooks engine that went to Louisiana was C&N #33, and was somewhat bigger than #'s 30-32. #33 must have been just enough heavier that the C&S had no interest in it, although according to Todd Hackett, it really wasn't that much bigger than the others. After it's conversion to Broad Gauge, it went from Louisiana to Birmingham, and then was sold and used on the Alabama Central, which was/is seven mile short line out of Jasper, AL, which is about 70 miles from where I now live. According to a website that has information on the Alabama Central, including a roster, the engine retained it's #33 it's entire life, and was apparently scrapped in the 40's. I'd hoped for a photo, but have not found one yet.
There were all manner of stories about the other two, and what became of them in Peru. These included assertions that they had been converted to standard gauge and/or meter gauge. Bob Richardson gave us a photo that somebody had sent into the Colorado Railroad Museum that shows one of the engines being scrapped. That photo is included in the article I wrote on #74 for Bill White's RGS Technical Page which can be found at
The photographer's name has long since been lost, and may never have been sent with the mysterious photo. But it clearly shows what is most likely #32/#76 from the rear. The cab and all jacketing have been stripped from the boiler, but the original Brooks steam dome lid, which was last seen on #76, is laying upside down on the ground. The gauge appears to have been unaltered, as it sure looks like 36" gauge to me. I believe Crossen's "Switzerland Trail of America" indicates that one of the engines had possibly gone over the side of a mountain and never recovered. If so, any C&S hand would be able to guess which that might have been. I'll include that photo here. For more information, feel free to read the article.
The boiler and dome, cylinders and spool valve look right for either 75 or 76. Do you remember that in one of his Western Yesterday's books, Forrest Crossen wrote about a C&S fireman making a trip down Fremont Pass with Charlie Williamson on the 74?
By the time that we're through discussing these three locomotives, people will be ready to pull their hair out with all of the useless information that we've bombarded them with.