THE South  ParK  LINE (DSP&P RR)


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the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad
The South Park In Living Colour

The interpretation of colour from grey-scale photographs is an art-form controlled by historical documents that suggest actual colours in use in a particular era. It is far from an exact science. The photos on this page are some of the best available to indicate what the South Park Line prohably looked like in the 1880s.

South Park Locomotives In Colour
There are, of course, no colour photos of the DSP&P in action in the 1880s. So here is the next best thing - good quality models of DSP&P locomotives, as rendered by various model railway manufacturers. The colours used are somewhat speculative. This should not detract from your appreciation of the beauty of these wonderful machines. Sadly, the pretty paint jobs didn't last very long. Most were "Plain Jane" black with gold lettering even before the UP renumbering in 1885.


A rare gem, DSP&P #2 "Platte Canyon", the South Park's only 4-4-0. This model is a custom detailed HO gauge loco, approximately correct size for Sn3 gauge. Lettering is "what might have been" around 1884-85. (Author's collection)


DSP&P 2-6-6T and 2-8-6T Mason Bogie Locomotives

Accucraft 1:20 Scale DSP&P
2-6-6T Mason Bogie #4 "San Juan" (Author's Collection)

Accucraft 1:20 Scale DSP&P
2-6-6T Mason Bogie #6 "Tenmile" (Author's Collection)

Delton Locomotive Works 1:24 Scale DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge" (Author's Collection)

Scratchbuilt 1:20 Scale DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge"

 Berlyn Locomotive Works Sn3 (1:64 scale) DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #8 "Lake City", later DSP&P #44

Berlyn Locomotive Works Sn3 DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #6 "Tenmile", later DSP&P # 42      

Berlyn Locomotive Works Sn3 DSP&P #15 "Breckenridge" (Author's Collection)

Berlyn Locomotive Works HOn3 DSP&P #6 "Tenmile" (Author's Collection)

Headshot of BLW's DSP&P #15

Pacific Fast Mail HOn3 DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #15 "Breckenridge" (Author's Collection)

United Scale Models HOn3 DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #24 "Buena Vista" (Author's Collection)

Overland Models On3 DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #10 "Granite"

Pacific Fast Mail On3 DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #12 "Como"

Scratchbuilt 1:20 Scale DSP&P 2-6-6T Mason Bogie #22 "Crested Butte"

Scratchbuilt DSP&P 2-8-6T Mason Bogie #25 "Alpine"

DSP&P 2-8-6T Mason Bogie #241 in post-1885 black paint, formerly #26  "Rico" by NJ Custom Brass in HOn3  (Author's Collection)

LMB On3 DSP&P 2-8-6T Mason Bogie #28 "Denver"

DSP&P 2-6-0 Mogul Locomotives

LGB's 2-6-0 Mogul in 1:22.6 scale, dressed as DSP&P #71, with reasonably correct colours. DSP&P 69 - 74 were Cooke-built in 1884. DSP&P Cooke Moguls always used coal so the wood load in #71 is incorrect. (Author's Collection)

Custom detailed and painted Nn3 (1:160 scale) MicroTrains model of DSP&P 2-6-0 Mogul #113, formerly DSP&P #71, Nice Russia iron boiler and ornate domes. (Author's Collection)

DSP&P 2-6-0 Brooks Mogul #35 "Dillon" in N scale by Atlas. This is a wonderful paint job
on a locomotive that is only 3 1/2 inches long. (Author's Collection)

DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidation Locomotives

Accucraft DSP&P 2-8-0 Conso;idation #51 at 1:20 scale -- "As Built" colours (Author's Collection)

Accucraft DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidation #191 at 1:20 scale -- renumbered from #51 in 1885

South Park Finescale Sn3 Cooke-built DSP&P Consolidation #63

Aristocraft "Delton Classics" 1:24 Scale DSP&P 2-8-0 Consolidations #63 and #64 (Author's Collection)

Ray Bjerrum's beautiful scratch built Cooke Consolidation DSP&P #45 in 1:4.8 scale (2.5 imches = 1 foot) running on 7.5 imch gauge rails. The Tiffany reefer is actually the propane fuel car for the live steam loco.

Another view of Ray's DSP&P #45 showing more detail and the fancy scrollwork on the sand dome, plus "white-walls" on the driver rims and a nice Russia iron boiler jacket.

South Park Freight Cars In Colour

The following photos of models are intended to show the appearance of DSP&P freight equipment in the 1875 - 1885 era - the period before the Union Pacific takeover. Based on detailed research by the builders, these are probably the best photos of DSP&P rolllng stock available today. There will always be some disagreement about exact colours, especially about whether the reefers were white or yellow. I personally favour white, based on the photos of the original cars in use.


Cimarron Car Works Sn3 DSP&P Freight Cars c.1883 















DSP&P #1437, the prototype for the Cimmaron model (above), circa 1884.
Cimmaron products are available through Leadville Shops.

Hartford Products DSP&P 1:20 scale craftsman kits.

Above 5 photos: Hartford Products 1:20.3 scale DSP&P freight cars. These are beautifully
designed and accurate craftsman kits. Hartford kits are available throufg Ozark Miniatures.

The Leadville Shops.Freight Cars

Two accurate DSP&P laser-cut models (above) from The Leaadville Shops, available in S and O scales.

MicroTrains N Scale (Nn3 gauge), 1:120 scale Freight Cars
Fantastic factory applied lettering on a car that is only 2-1/4 inches long.

DSP&P models by noted modelers.

Two of Ron Rudnick's beautiful HOn3 models

A 1:20.3 model of a 31 foot DSP&P charcoal car by Peter Bunce

Peter's model of a conventional DSP&P boxcar

Comparative size of the charcoal boxcar and the normal car.

Source unknown.

 Source unknown. 

A nicely finished Labelle HOn3 kit, modeler unknown


Some people think the Tiffany reefers could be straw yellow. Here are two On3 models for comparison.

3D computer renderings by Bill Gould.






Andrew Dodge Scratch Built On3 Car Models.
See his railway story HERE.




Large Scale Freight Car Models
Only those with reasonably accurate appearance are included here.

The Accucraft model generally follows the dimensions of Charles Brommerís plans
 for DSP&P #73 in the Jan/Feb 1992 "Narrow Gauge and Short Line Gazette".

(Left) Dwlton 1:24 scale Tiffany reefer. (Right) Bachmann 1:24 scale UP reefer. Murphy metal roof must be replaced with double-board wood roof and roof hatches need to be removed.

Aristocraft "Delton Classics" boxcar (needs new road number) and Tiffany reefer. Both need double board roof.

1:22 scale Tiffany reefer, needs double board roof  and correct road number.

Some custom lettered cars purchased from eBay vendors

South Park Passenger Cars In Colour

There is no shortage of passenger equipment models in all scales for D&RG and other narrow gauge lines, but none of them represent those on the DSP&P, except for the Deerfield River O scale kit-basher car sides described below. The Mantua/Tyco/IHC HO scale combine and passenger car are generic cars that do not represent any particular DSP&P car, but the paint and lettering are good. LGB large scale cars can be described in similar terms.

 Mantua HO Combine with duckbill roof. The coach is similar. These cars are too short to represent any real DSP&P rolling stock. Also marketed with IHC, Tyco, and Roundhouse brands.

Deerfield River Laser Models On3 Quik-Kits
These are the most innovative passenger car kits to appear in a long time and the only accurate DSP&P passenger cars produced in any scale. The laser cut sides and ends are applied to Bachmann On30 passenger car underframes and roofs. A little kit bashing is needed for the longer cars, using four roof/underframe sets to make three cars. Some car lengths are a little off (not more than 3 feet) but this is a small trade-off for some fabulous models.

These cars sides are the first ever with panels instead of tongue and groove siding, as delivered to the DSP&P in the 1874 -1878 era. Even the plaque for the car name is included in the laser cut sidewalls.


DSP&P 1 "Auraria" 1874 Combine 31 foot body

DSP&P 2 "Denver" 1874 Coach 31 foot body

DSP&P 3 and 5 "Geneva" and "Leadville" 1878 Coach 40 foot body

DSP&P 4 "Hall's Valley" Coach 1878 40 foot body

DSP&P Pullman "South Park" "Leadville" "Bonanza" "San Juan" 1879 40 foot body

DSP&P 051 Paycar 1880 31 foot body

DSP&P 40, 41, and 45 Baggage 1878 31 foot body

The beautiful On3 examples shown below were built by Dan Windolf. Note the wonderful arched windows, and car number / nane plaques on some cars. See  the story, with full- size images, in the Nov/Dec 2019 Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette.


DSP&P Coach #7

DSP&P Coach #9

DSP&P Coach #17

DSP&P Coach #17

DSP&P Coach #22

DSP&P Baggage Mail #??

DSP&P Parlour Car, image source unnown

Large Scale Passenger Cars
For more photos of Large Scale passenger cars, see
LGB Passenger Cars.

Here's what the LGB cars look like on my outdoor railway, after painting the roofs black. The Delton Mason Bogie on the lower level track looks more natural in daylight, too. It's the glare from the sun on the black car roofs that makes them look silver, on models as well as the originals in the old black and white photos, so don't paint the roof silver - nature will do it for you.

The LGB model of the single door baggage car is a close match to DSP&P #42. Note the new roof colour and the new road number (Author's Collection).

I purchased the above 3 cars from an eBay vendor. They are Bachmann kits painted and lettered for DSP&P. The three photos represent 1878 Barney and Smith combine #4 "Hall's Valley", coach #5 "Leadville", and Pullman-built parlour car "South Park". As for the LGB cars, they are a bit short and shy a few windows (Author's Collection).

Some people have managed to improve the stock available. Bob Baxter did a beautiful job of adding arch windows and reasonable lettering to a Bachmann passenger car. Some very early photos suggest that the roofs of passenger caes might have been painted with white lead, so the white roof on this model is probably correct. Later photos suggest sunshine on a black roof, which looks like light grey, not white and definitely not silver or alumunum colour.

Close but no cigar .. car numbers incprrect and too large. Photo credit unknown.

South Park Maintenance of Way Equipment In Colour

There is not much in the way of commercial MOW equipment on the market, so most is scratchbuilt or kitbashed. Below are sone examples.

SOme scratchbuilt Models IN On3
The beautiful On3 examples shown below were built by Dan Windolf based on folio drawings and photos. Note the level of detail and innovative construction techniques. See the stories, with full-size images, in the May/Jun 2018 through Jan/Feb 2019 issues of Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette.

DSP&P / DL&G FLANGER 08 (C&S 015)


DSP&P / DL&G ROTARY 011 / 064  (C&S 92000)



DSP&P WRECKER 0103 (C&S 099)


Kitbashed DSP&P maintenance of way equipment
My MOW equipment is based on kitbashed representatioons of "what could have been" on the DSP&P in the 1880's. Some bear a slight resemblence to folio drawings; most are products of the Chief Engineer's imagination. Colours and road numbers are definately not realistic.

My snow train consists of Rotary O2 and tender, water tanker W69, coal car O174, kitchen car O185, bunk car O183, and a well worn waycar #90. Wedge plow O3 and steam shovel O4 are also available for snow service.

DSP&P Consolidation #64 pushes Rotary O2 enroute to Climax

The original USA Trains rotary was freelanced into DSP&P  Rotary O2.. To improve visibility, a cupola has been added. A roof and backhead were added at the rear using Hartland parts, as were a bell and whistle on the roof.
 Side curatins are still at the laundry. The tender is from an LGB Mogul with sound added.  

The complete snow train: caboose, bunk / tool car, kitchen car, coal car, water car, 2-8-0 Consolidation #64, plow tender, rotary plow.

Wedge plow O3 sitting in the yard during a summer respite. It was kitbashed from an Aristocraft plow, shortened by 3 inches, with a Hartland headlamp added to backdate the original modern headlight.

Headshot of DSP&P wedge plow O3 showing rusting plow blade before it gets scoured clean and shiny by the icy snow next winter.

DSP&P 2-6-0 Mogul #17 is shown here in the reflected light of the engine house, with its pilot-mounted snow plow, ready for its early morning run to Glacier and Leaverite.

When the snow and rock falls from avalanches are too dangerous for the rotary plow, Steam Shovel O4 can be brought forward to clear the line. The enclosed cab is a real comfort to the crew in the minus 40 temperatures of the North. This is kitbashed from an LGB flatcar and a JS Woodcrafts steam shovel with the track assembly removed.

Snow train auxillary cars: Coal car O174 and Water car W69.

Snow train auxillary cars: Bunk/Tool Car O183 and Kitchen car O185

Snow train auxillary cars: Work Caboose O187 and well-worn spare Waycar #90

Starting with steam shovel parts and some Ozark Miniatures pulley blocks,
a wrecking crane appears, loosely following a DSP&P folio drawing.

The wrecking crane tender/boom car includes lots of tools, parts,
rope, chains, junk, and a guard goat.

The pile driver uses the same steam hoist with a free lanced mast holding
the pile driver's hammer.

The derrick car was backdated by shortening the flat car
and adding a truss rod underframe.

The USA Trains rail and tie car was also shortned and loaded
with .... rails and ties.

Also shortened, the work caboose has tools and equipment storage.

      The truck and wheel cars are less interesting but are an essential part of any
      wrecking consist.

Outfit cars just need to look used and dirty.The railroad name has long since worn off. These are the bunk and kitchen cars for both the work and snow trains, and have been modified to include the simulated wood roof of the era.



South Park Depots, Roundhouse, And Water Tanks In Colour
The paint scheme for
DSP&P structures in the 1875 - 1885 era, the period before the Union Pacific takeover, was light grey with olive green trim, as used today on the restorations of the Como and Buena Vista CO depots, and the Alpine Tunnel telegraph office. The colours were confirmed by the Denver, South Park and Pacific Historical Society during their research for the restoration work.

Thanks to Grant Law, a fellow large scale model railroader and DSP&P fan, for suggesting this page.

For more information on the restoration of DSP&P facilities, see
DSP&P Historical Society and South Park Rail Society.  


DSP&P telegraph office at Alpine Tunnel CO, as restored, with light grey and olive green trim. The bright sunshine makes the grey look almost white - compare to the white background on the station sign on the roof. Photo from Wikipedia

DSP&P Como depot, in 2015 at restoration dedication ceremony. Compare the light grey to the white clothing and Como station sign. Photos from the DSP&PHS website.

DSP&P Buena Vista CO depot restoration photos don't show the green trim - maybe it was applied later

Photos from the DSP&PHS website.

DSP&P Buena Vista Depot before the restoration and new paint job

Buena Vista Depot, end view

DSP&P Jefferson CO depot 1957, from a Google search

DSP&P Gunnison stone depot - O sale Model Masterpieces kit


DSP&P Leadville brick depot in 1994.

Mount Princeton CO Depot                                                Pitkin CO Depot                

DSP&P Como Roundhouse was built in 1881, seen here in late 1950's - photo enhanced to show door details.
The wooden engine stalls added in 1885 are long gone.

Como Roundhouse late 1950's - photo enhanced to show stonework details. Note the finely cut column stones between each arch, the keystone shape of the arch stones, and the random shape and size of all the other stones. used to make the rest of the wall.

Portion of a side wall with a window and a doorway. The only finely finished stones are those above and along the sides of the window and door; the rest are random size and shape.

Arial views of front and rear of Como Roundhouse showing overall shape of the stone building.

DSP&P Leadville Roundhouse late 1950's

Both sides of Baker Tank, morth of Leadville on the High Line to Climax CO. This DSP&P  tank has been maintained on the route by the LC&S tourist train

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