The final run of 71/72 to Leadville and Return

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The final run of 71/72 to Leadville and Return

Keith Hayes
This post was updated on .
One lesson learned from this Forum is that photos in many of our favorite references were juxtaposed for composition or other reasons and the images are rarely in chronological order. Images from South Park and Clear Creek are often co-mingled when the two lines were quite different operations with different crews and different equipment. Some overlap to be sure, but different.

I was looking at C&Sng the other day and with the erudite knowledge received here of Denver-Leadville passenger operations, the photos of the last train to Leadville strike me as odd. Mike alerted us to the fact that locomotive 60 was moved from its post as Leadville switcher back to Denver for boiler work in the mid-30s, and it appears to have been used to supplement the freight locomotive pool due to the shortage resulting from the unlucky wrecks shortly thereafter of 75, 72 and 73 in 1935 and 36. In any event, 60 got the assignment for the final Denver-Como train and is shown at DUT with a bunch of fellows in overcoats and snappy fedoras on April 9, 1937 in a Richard B. Jackson image. In the photo, the locomotive is coupled directly to the RPO.

There are also images of locomotive 60 with train 71 in Platte Canon and at Pine Grove with the same train, however a boxcar (8225?) is now in the consist.

Mal Ferrell's caption indicates train 71 arrived in Como, and locomotive 9 was coupled onto the lead with a flanger in tow. The train continued to Leadville with this consist.

The next morning, there are photos of the crew in front of the train before departure, again with 9 in the lead and no boxcar. On the facing page, the train is stopped at Climax and there is a boxcar (8300?) in the consist. The boxcar also appears in the photo at Dillon, but is not in the consist when the train arrives at Como or in photos east of Como.

These photos raise a number of questions in my mind--and perhaps they have been discussed elsewhere already:

     1. Where was the boxcar picked up on the westbound run and was it set out at Como? Perhaps it was picked up at Waterton? Why?
     2. What was in the boxcar? The door is always sealed. Too early for Bob Richardson to send a batch of "final run" postcards.
     3. The photo of 9 at Como has similar stains on the cab number and smokebox suggesting this was the last run of 71 with the flanger, but there are no other photos of the train west of here, as Dick must have been saving his film for the next day.
     4. The train left Leadville without a boxcar, yet one is in the consist at Climax. Where was boxcar picked up at and what was in it? The depot (or section house) at Climax was on the east side, correct (meaning this is definitely the eastbound train)?
     5. Where was 8300 set out, as it did not make it to Como? It 8300 on the siding in the photo taken at Breckenridge?
     6. We have noted before that it appears the RPO was not always turned--that is to say the mail section, which usually runs forward, does not always run forward on trains 71 and 72. Yet on the final train, the express end of 13 is behind the tender both ways. So, by golly, they actually turned the RPO on the final run!

On the westbound train, was the boxcar sent to Como for records? It was picked up at Waterton and set out at Como by 60 before being put in the engine house? On the eastbound, was the boxcar picked up at Climax and set out at Breck? The door does appear to be open at Dillon.

Mike, there is also a photo of the train stopped for water at Solitude. The image is of the rear of the train, and passenger car clearly shows two air hoses. One is connected to the "monkey tail." The other is chained up by the safety chain.

Mal also notes the final westbound freight train operated on April 8, 1937. This train featured 75 and 8 at the front end with 76 and 537 cut in four cars ahead of waycar 1008 and about 37 cars. Note the first car is an empty SUF flat, followed by 10 coals. One of the refers is also being moved to Leadville. 8 was moved to Dickey as it wintered there with 71 and 69 until the spring of 1938.
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: The final run of 70/71 to Leadville and Return

Mike Trent
Administrator
Hi, Keith.

First off, according to the 1910 timetable, the Daily Westbound train between Denver and Leadville was listed as Train No 72. The Daily Eastbound to Denver as Train No 71. The 1922 Timetable shows that the Westbound train to Leadville was listed as Train No 70. The Eastbound to Denver was still Train No 71. No idea why they changed that, but Mal must have missed it. See attachment.

My understanding of the boxcar(s?) in the consist was to pick up records from all the stations along the way, as after the last train they were closed and the records had to be recovered and stored. I've wondered about why the last Train No 70 behind #60 had a boxcar and the last official train would have been the returning Train No 71.

I think, although there is no real official explaination other than what we see in pictures, that #9 was taken off the previous No71 at Como, and #60 was put on for the return to Denver, as it was the "emergency" passenger engine at Como. Whether this was staged to set up #60 as having the last Narrow Gauge Passenger Train out of Union Station by design, or if there was some minor work that #9 required at Como is probably lost to history, but #9 took Train No 70 on to Leadville from Como.

I've never looked at the car numbers on the boxcars, but I believe what you have reported. They probably were at least delivered/set out along the way for the purpose of collecting station records, whatever the strategy was to do so.

I'm not sure Mal is correct about the date of the last Freights, but he may be. I seem to remember that the current header photo of that last run to Alma was on 4/10/37, and those would have been helpers #69 and #8, which ended up in Leadville. My memory probably isn't what it was. I also am pretty sure Doug Schnarbush was on the last run, and the call board at the Como Roundhouse has his name on it. There may have been some equipment transfers in the last days, and #74 would have had to be in Leadville when the dust settled.

The pigtail whistle on the air line probably is on the train air line, same as they were used on cabooses. I thought about that last week.

Interesting stuff, but as you say, not everything is clear yet. Thanks for the post!      






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Re: The final run of 70/71 to Leadville and Return

Keith Hayes
Sorry,  I consulted the time table in the CRA. I just figured "east is even," like on other roads. 😕
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: The final run of 70/71 to Leadville and Return

Mike Trent
Administrator
No problem, Keith. Nothing could be more confusing. You still raised interesting questions. The C&S had subdivisions in all four directions. North to Billings, South to Texline, East to Como, and West to Leadville. Makes perfect sense, right?

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Re: The final run of 71/72 to Leadville and Return

ComoDepot
In reply to this post by Keith Hayes
There is the film of the last train, been sometime since I looked at it but that my give a few more clues.

Did the C&S finish on the day, I had assumed it was sometime later that they handed everything over for scrapping. And there were still car movements, clearing up etc.

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Re: The final run of 70/71 to Leadville and Return

Mike Trent
Administrator
The date of abandonment of the mainline between Waterton and Climax was 4/10/37. After that, there was no more revenue traffic, either freight or passenger service.

Yes, there were a few trains after that, including, as Keith mentioned, #71, #69, and #8 from Leadville to Dickey for storage until the following spring or summer. There was also a day in July '38 that #74 and #76 made a run from Leadville to Dickey, Breckenridge, Dillon and Keystone and back to pick up wayward freight cars. There may have been other runs, but Brownie Anderson took pictures at Solitude that day which have been published.  

Abandoned freight cars in Como and along the East End were returned to Denver unless they were needed for scrapping operations. A lot of the coal gons were probably stripped of their sides to become flatcars for transporting rail to Denver.  The scrappers started East of Climax and worked East from there using engines #58 and #71.