Where were the Conoco tank cars unloaded in Leadville?Now that I have a car, I need to know where it should be spotted for unloading. I have seen what looks like a Conoco plant past the D&RG facilities on the north end of the yard.
Here is everything I know about oil delivery in Leadville.
Rocky Mountain Oil Co. Operations 1894
Taken from A Documentary History of the South Park Line: Vol. 2 by Daniel Edwards pg 158
A Memo to Superintendent Touhy from District Engineer Ashton dated 6 March 1893:
I return herewith papers relative to laying of third rain at Leadville from the D&RG transfer through our yard to the spur between Fifth and Sixth streets on our California Gulch extension. To lay this rail will require about 2400 feet of rail, five three rail switches and one pair draw-over points. This will simply give us a straight three rail through the yard with a three-rail switch from the bank of the Star Ditch between Fifth and Sixth Streets upon which to set broad gauge cars. In switching, what cannot be done on this sort spur will have to be done on D&RG tracks unless we provide more trackage for this purpose.
I have estimated the cost of putting in this third rail as follows:
Labor on switches & laying third rail including
Placing of 600 broad gauge ties $400.00
16 ton – 40 lb. steel rail @ $25 $400.00
Fittings, spikes, etc. $ 50.00
Five No. 10 Frogs, 40 lb. steel @$24 $120.00
Five double point Frogs 40 lb. rail @$28 $140.00
600 broad gauge ties @40 cents $240.00
One pair draw-over points $ 32.00
Five set B.G. switch Ties @$70 $350.00 Total: $1732.00
It seems to me this matter should be carefully considered before we go ahead with this work. In the first place, is it for our interest, outside of the matter now under consideration, to lay a third rail in the Leadville yard? As you well know, our yard is favorably situated for loading all ore that comes from Carbonate and Fryer Hill, and if we put a third rail in our yard, is it not probable that we would have to accept cars from both the D&RG and Colorado Midland for the purpose of standing them upon our track to be loaded with ore? We would have to turn them back to the D&RG and Midland, receiving only a switching charge for so doing. Our yard at Leadville is already crowded and too small for our business. Do we want to place ourselves in a position to be forced to accept broad gauge cars from other roads, thus crowding our already crowding yard and excluding and interfering with our own business simply in order to obtain the switching charges on foreign cars?: I do not see anything in this for us.
As to the business of the Rocky Mountain Oil Company, I would say that I understand the freight department has a deal under consideration by which we take cars from Overton and turn them over to the Midland at Colorado Springs, thus by the Midland to Leadville, where if we put in this third rail we will receive them from the D&RG and set them upon the track now used for oil cars by the Rocky Mountain Oil Co. on the bank of Star Ditch between Fifth and Sixth streets. It would take a large amount of business handled in this manner to bring us in much revenue, and I doubt if an arrangement of this sort would hold good (very) long, as the D&RG as well as our company would have to get a switching charge out of each car at Leadville, the Midland having no connection with us except by the way of the D&RG tracks. The oil which it is proposed to ship is crude petroleum used as fuel in the 6th St. shaft. This shaft is some 400 or 500 hundred feet above the Star Ditch spur, the oil Company having laid a pipe line (to) pump the oil from the cars to the shaft. Of course if this business was to be kept up and we could get freight enough between Overton and Colorado Springs to make it an object, it might pay us to arrange to handle this business, but there is nothing in it for the switching charges we would get at Leadville. (This memo is in the files of the Colorado Railroad Museum.)
For those of you interested in the C&S (South Park) and the CM at Leadville, I would recommend you contact Dan Edwards and arrange to get your own copy of his book. I basically only get to read the book at the Palmer Lake Museum when no guest shows up during a docent tour or when I am waiting at a doctor’s office.
I have debated posting this, but after giving it some thought, here goes.
My Dad was extremely enthusiastic over the last days of steam along the Front Range, and the C&S in particular. As an active member of the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club, he knew just about everybody, and was fast friends with a lot of those guys. One of the guys I saw a lot of in my young years and actually well beyond, was a photographer and rabid railfan named Neal Miller.
Neal was a member of the Boulder Model RR Club back in the days that I was most active in the 80's, and put on numerous programs for us, drawing from his extensive collection of 8mm movies. One that we saw several times was a film that had footage of the C&S narrow gauge. Some of the runbys in that film showed quite prominately, a CONOCO tank car in the consist. Every time I saw that film, Neal would add some comments, as was always his habit, and every time, he made the comment that the C&S ran those CONOCO tank cars because the Continental Oil Company paid to run them over the line empty, for advertising purposes only.
That Neal always made that claim is irrefutable. Neal would have been too young and not have had the means to have been railfanning up on the C&S narrow gauge, as he was about my Dad's age. So it's unlikely that he would have known this from anything he knew personally. But Neal told me numerous times that his source was Dick Kindig.
Neal claimed that Kindig told him there was no way tank cars were needed on the C&S in the late 30's as gas was being hauled by trucks as soon as the highways were improved sufficiently to allow it. And that when petroleum and oil was shipped by rail to Leadville, it would have been over the D&RGW in Standard Gauge cars. So if they were used in Revenue service they would have been loaded in Leadville. Or possibly in Denver for somewhere on the East End.
So there it is. Have at it. I have no idea if this is true, but it could be. At least occasionally true. Or not. It certainly is possible that they would have kept an empty in Leadville in case there was a need at Climax.
I've always been skeptical of this, but who knows? One thing for sure is, Derrell is right, it was just about money. And the cars do appear, so it would be a good idea to have at least one on hand!