Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937 (CB&Q 537)

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Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937 (CB&Q 537)

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
Another 1937 C&S photo for sale on eBay:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/7E995-RP-1937-COLORADO-SOUTHERN-RAILROAD-NG-ENGINE-537-DICKEY-CO-WATER-TANK/401362878862?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649



Photographer not cited.

I'd love to know the back story as to how the 537 ended up as the power for the Denver passenger train on this winter day.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

South Park
  The mail contract required the C&S keep a hot loco on standby at
Como.  Could this be a case of a breakdown and 537 being that standby
power ?  I have never had much interest in 537.  I find it an unattractive
steamer.  As a result, never paid much attention to its assignments.  Seems
it as always assigned to the Denver-Leadville freight run, but what do I
know ?  Were it assigned to Leadville for a stretch, this could be the call-
back run for it to get back to Denver for service, or ???  
"Duty above all else except Honor"
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Mike Trent
Administrator
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Hol Wagner referenced #537 on the passenger train from the Breckenridge train register doubleheaded with #8 in January 1936. They were two hours and 25 minutes late, with train No 70 Westbound. This appeared in his article about #537 in the "Burlington Bulletin" published several years ago. This photo is Train No 71, Eastbound, and could well be 1937 as it is Winter and has no plow. In the Winter of 1936 it had a plow.

Wagner says consolidations were occasionally used at times in passenger service, so it may not have been unheard of for this to happen. That it does not have a plow would lead me to believe this was an unscheduled event, as on the West End, the passenger train ran opposite the Extra freights which would have required this train to leave Leadville to wherever it would meet the Westbound freight with no plow to clear drifts over Fremont Pass.

Very rare and interesting photo!
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Chris Walker
This post was updated on .
The picture was published on pg185 Mineral Belt Vol-II, Digerness stating that it was "ca. 1930" note the different tender bunker, no handrail on the pilot beam either, as seen in Otto Perry's 1931 picture.   Digerness also had another picture of #537 at Breckenridge dated "late 1930's" that shows variations in the tender handrails/piping with the same pilot handrail visible.

Was Otto's recording of dates to be trusted as verbatim ?  There seems to be too many errors in the works of Digerness.



http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/45812/rv/singleitem/rec/26

UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Robert McFarland
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Why is the RPO section on the wrong end?
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Jimmy Blouch
In reply to this post by Chris Walker
 

Was Otto's recording of dates to be trusted as verbatim ?  There seems to be too many errors in the works of Digerness.

Yes, Otto's dates would be pretty exact.
Jimmy



http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll22/id/45812/rv/singleitem/rec/26

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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Jim Courtney
In reply to this post by Chris Walker
Interesting, Chris.

Looking back at Otto's dated photos, there is an obvious evolution of number 537's appearance on the C&S:


http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll22/id/68932/rec/7



The earliest Otto photo of 537 is dated May 20, 1930 in Denver. It has the hand rail on the pilot and the tall tender coal bunker, like in the photo that you posted on the Highline. The tender also rides on Bettendorf trucks.



http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll22/id/68954/rec/8



Two years later, dated December 4, 1932. Resting in Denver, number 537 has a plow, so one can't tell if the pilot handrail is there, but the tender has been swapped or modified, having a shorter coal bunker, as in the Dickey photo. The tender now rides on Cooke style arch bar trucks.



http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15330coll22/id/68977/rec/13



On the clean-up freight, April 11, 1937 at Baileys, the locomotive seems identical to its appearance in the Dickey photo. So, the Dickey passenger assignment may well have been just a bit earlier, in the winter of 1936-37.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Jim Courtney
In reply to this post by Mike Trent
I'm a bit disappointed, Mike.

Here I give you the perfect "art imitates history" opportunity, and you fail to take the hint.

How about posting a photo of your 537, hauling the same eastbound passenger consist, making the station stop at the Dickey depot, so the conductor can sign the train register? Snow is not required . . .
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Jim Courtney
In reply to this post by Robert McFarland
Robert,

The photo suggests that the passenger train was switched in Leadville, prior to departure, to get the RPO/baggage number 13 on the correct end of the train, without having turned the RPO.

This suggests to me that the passenger train couldn't be turned on the wye on its prior day arrival at Leadville. Perhaps the wye was covered in snow, and hadn't been plowed.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Mike Trent
Administrator
We've talked about this thing with the RPO direction before, but that's OK because it's interesting.

I think what the normal routine was, after looking at any number of photographs taken randomly, was that the train was probably almost never turned at Leadville. They just switched the coach behind the Baggage & Mail and flipped over the seats.

But there's more to it than that, because the RPO end appears in both directions going both East and West. Could be random as they switched the train in Denver, or, it could be that they had some purposeful reason for doing it, possibly to try to lessen the strain on the RPO end drawbar as the aging train limped toward retirement. The #13 was clearly used at least almost always in the last years, so it would have to have been very important to keep it out of the shop. Rick didn't really agree with that, so maybe random is the answer. But to me it appears that the car ran in both directions about half and half.

This would have had to have required an exemption on the Mail Contract, as the practice of running the car backwards was not either allowed or in any way standard practice without. Lack of facilities to turn the train would have to have qualified.      
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Chris Walker
In reply to this post by Jim Courtney
Jim,

the wood tender frame with Bettendorf trucks definitely went behind #70 for the oil conversion, but I haven't studied the tank/bunker differences to note the differences.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Chris Walker
In reply to this post by Mike Trent
Mike Trent wrote
We've talked about this thing with the RPO direction before, but that's OK because it's interesting.

I think what the normal routine was, after looking at any number of photographs taken randomly, was that the train was probably almost never turned at Leadville. They just switched the coach behind the Baggage & Mail and flipped over the seats.

But there's more to it than that, because the RPO end appears in both directions going both East and West. Could be random as they switched the train in Denver, or, it could be that they had some purposeful reason for doing it, possibly to try to lessen the strain on the RPO end drawbar as the aging train limped toward retirement. The #13 was clearly used at least almost always in the last years, so it would have to have been very important to keep it out of the shop. Rick didn't really agree with that, so maybe random is the answer. But to me it appears that the car ran in both directions about half and half.

This would have had to have required an exemption on the Mail Contract, as the practice of running the car backwards was not either allowed or in any way standard practice without. Lack of facilities to turn the train would have to have qualified.
Mike, Robert,

Amen : http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Which-Way-is-Most-Common-tp2568p2573.html

and as for lessening the strain on the drawbar, given the short consist I doubt very much that be the case, perhaps with a thousand tons trailing in mixed use maybe.  A possible scenario would be laziness knowing railwaymen supplemented with whatever excuse came to mind the time.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Mike Trent
Administrator
Thanks, Chris, I had a feeling you'd bring that back!

I'm still not sure I'm in agreement about the randomness of how that car appeared in the consist being due to laziness on the part of slackers. But you could be right. But I might be right, too.

When the D&RGW was rebuilding the remaining wood coaches in the Silverton fleet in the 70's to steel, the last two cars to go were Coach #319 and #350, the latter being the old Parlor Car "Alamosa". These were the last two cars in the first section (train), with only a single rider gon trailing #350, or, a Private Car was sometimes attached. The wood was so far gone in those two cars, they had to open the doors and windows at 5AM every day to get fresh air in them so passengers would actually go in them. The crews were so worried about pulling the drawbars out, it seemed to be a miracle every time they made it back to Durango. Those safety chains could have been the only coupling at any time that year. The old #13 was actually a car that dated all the way back to the DSP&P. There are photos in the early 30's that show #13 with a very bad sag in the roof, I'd guess those pictures with the old UP Baggage and Mail were taken while the old #13 was out of service getting fixed up for the home stretch, but the shop may have suggested a few things to prolong it's life. The old UP cars were shot and so was #13. At least that's how I still see it.

In the end, there's a lot of stuff we'll never know the why of, but we know it "was" there, and that leads us to what we do. BTW, what I do is switch the direction of my #13 every month. Guess what? Pictures show a 50-50 ratio of direction. So, who cares, really? As we might  say, "It is what it was!" And it is. Or can be. Sort of.

Jim, look for your post on Friday! #537 is in helper service this week through Thursday. Insane? Sure, I don't deny it!          
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Chris Walker
Mike,

I'll defer to your knowledge here since I never had to deal with wooden underframes, NZR went to steel around 1890.  However since we had centre buffer/hook couplers on the majority of our rolling stock except Passenger, I can attest to dealing with far more slack action than any US narrow gauge train.

As for digging up bones then your primary thread should be reviewed.... http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/CB-Q-537-tp550.html

UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Turning things at Leadville

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Mike Trent
This is interesting, Mike.

I've always been lead to believe that the arriving Leadville passenger train always stopped and turned the train at the wye just north of the roundhouse, then backed the passenger train south through the C&S yards to the depot, so the train would be pointed in the correct direction for the return trip.

I think that's what is going on in this c1902 photo:


Ronfor Collection, in Grandt's Narrow Gauge Pictorial VI


Number 22 has pulled the passenger train out onto the tail track of the Leadville wye, on a high fill, prior to backing to the depot.

Can anyone post a photo of a passenger train at the Leadville depot, with locomotive pointed South? If the RPO 13 was turned periodically to even the draw bar wear, perhaps such turning was done on the Denver end.

And how about locomotives? Were they only turned on the roundhouse turntable, or were all those arriving 2 or 3 helpers wyed (individually or as a group) before the engine crews spotted them on the roundhouse lead? Was there even a hostler at the Leadville roundhouse in the last few years?

And Chris pointed out:

A possible scenario would be laziness knowing railwaymen supplemented with whatever excuse came to mind the time.

I found that to be very true of Rock Island train crews.
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: Turning things at Leadville

Chris Walker
Jim,

the premise that they turned and backed in has merit, can't say, other than a switching move running through the Leadville Depot on the city side towards the Coronado Mine, that I recall a picture showing other than facing Fremont Pass....

However the Ronfor photo of #22 is captioned "entering Leadville", seeing that the wye was not on a fill but flat sloping ground...http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Buena-Vista-had-No-Wye-Know-Why-tp5971p7759.html
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Mike Trent
Administrator
In reply to this post by Mike Trent
Here's a bit I found in Wagner's Q537 article, which contains the photograph available on ebay.

Wagner points out that #537 is carrying green flags, indicating that this is the first of two sections. The date is April 6, 1937, four days before the last run. He also includes a photograph of the same train earlier that morning before leaving Leadville.

The picture of the odd tender in 1931 is #537's original tender having been modified for coal.

The C&S had decided to convert #70 to burn oil, and had intended using the oil bunker from #537's tender. Due to it's particular size, they decided to swap #70's tender to #537, and put the oil bunker back into #537's original tender, since that bunker was made for it. #70's tender was split, and widened by 20", which increased both water and coal capacity.
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Mike Trent
Administrator
Jim, you may be completely correct, and Chris may be too, in that the switching crew was just lazy.

Not anything I'm going to worry much about for now. I'm standing pat on that "It is what it was" line. Has a nice ring to it, and I'm more than happy to let you and Keith figure out that what happens in Leadville stays in Leadville thing. I just watch them go by in Dickey, and sometimes the RPO is one way and sometimes it's the other.

A possible scenario would be laziness knowing railwaymen supplemented with whatever excuse came to mind the time.

Sounds good to me, too!
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Chris Walker
Since you both have related that, please let me re-phrase that:

A possible scenario, knowing railwaymen, would be laziness supplemented with whatever excuse that came to mind at the time. 

As for the Green Flags, noticing that was a hard call.

I'm in the middle of changing computers and OS, this keyboard is totally different and therefore frustrating.  Don't ask how the win10 is working out either!
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: Unusual Passenger Consist at Dickey, 1937

Keith Hayes
In reply to this post by Mike Trent
I think the crew pulled into Leadville after a long day, unloaded passengers, backed out, ran around the train, pushed it back to the depot and headed for the roundhouse.

The next day, I believe they switched the two cars to place the mail and express car next to the locomotive and headed for Denver.

If you check the photos, the express end often appears forward in the consist in both directions. I think the train was only turned in Denver, though how this occured, I do not know. As Chris opines, what happens in Leadville stays in Leadville!

Also...regarding the wye. My initial thought is that the tail is rather short. However consulting the folio Rick transcribed, the tail appears to be of adequate length to wye the entire train. It has been a couple years since I visited Leadville, but the current wye tail is on a high fill, and studying the map, appears to have moved south, closer to the roundhouse. It seems odd to me that the wye would move south, but then one photo Chris shared of the wye and 'end of 3rd rail' shows the wye to be on reasonably flat terrain.

Anyone?
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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