THE South  ParK  LINE (DSP&P RR)


South Park Index   |  Search

DSP&P Pullman Palace Sleeping Cars

Pullman Palace sleeping cars South Park, Bonanza, Leadville, and San Juan were built according to Pullman’s plan 73. They were assembled at DSP&P Shops in Denver in October 1879. Pullman cars Hortense and Kenosha were assigned to the DSP&P in September 1882. These were built to a modified plan 73A. DSP&P coach #5, built in 1878 by Barney and Smith, also carried the name "Leadville" for a short time.

These cars were not owned by the railway, but were operated under contract with Pullman. As a result, they carried no DSP&P road numbers and did not suffer from the numerous renumbering schemes that afflicted all other rolling stock on the DSP&P.

Both plans had 10 pairs of facing seats, five down each side. Each pair made up into a lower berth, and had an upper berth that swung down from the ceiling. Since they were “open” Pullmans, there was no permanent wall between the sections. At night, heavy curtains closed off each section from the aisle and adjacent sections. At one end was a ladies’ restroom, linen closet and heater, and at the other was a men’s restroom and lavatory.

On Plan 73 cars, each sleeping section had two pairs of windows, and each end section had a pair of windows. From the outside, the cars thus had seven evenly-spaced pairs of windows. On plan 73A cars, there was only one window in the end sections, centered where the pair was located on the Plan 73 cars. The exterior of the cars was described as "maroon" or "dark plum" in colour.

The car body was eighteen inches narrower than those built for standard gauge, and the aisle and seats in proportion. The berths were also smaller, and were intended to hold one person.

Sources: MidContinent Museum DSP&P Passenger Car Pages

DSP&P U.P. 1885 DL&G 1889 C&S 1899 C&S 1906
Pullman South Park South Park Coach #176 Business #B-1 #910
Pullman Bonanza Bonanza Coach #177 Coach #146 / Coach-RPO #116 #41
Pullman Leadville Leadville Coach #179 Coach #148 /Coach-RPO #118 #43
Pullman San Juan Burned 1891 Gone Gone Gone
Pullman Hortense Hortense Sold - Mexico Gone Gone
Pullman Kenosha Kenosha Sold - Mexico Gone Gone


Car Type Pullman Palace Sleeper
Built by Pullman
Date Assigned October 1879
Cost $8,500
Length Over Endsills (1916) 42'-5"
Length Over Buffers (1916) 50'-5"
Truck Centers (1916) 30'-5"
Truck Wheelbase (1916) N.G. 6'-0"
S.G. 7'-0"
Width 1885 8'-4"
1916 8'-2"
Weight ca. 1885 15 tons as sleeper
1912 27 tons as business car
1916 53,300 lbs.
Wheel Size 1885 30" “paper”
1916 N.G. 30"
1916 S.G. 36"
Heating Baker Heater
Lighting 1885 Oil lamps
1916 Pintsch Gas
Interior Finish Sleeper (1879) Mahogany, burl, prima vera (white wood), amaranth, ebony, and rosewood
Business Car (1916) Mahogany with green plush upholstery
Platform Roof Bullnose
Termination Date 1929 -- 1939

Pullman Palace car "South Park" was the first of four cars built in late 1879. The other cars were "Bonanza", "Leadville", and "San Juan". The arrival of the Pulllmans predated the beginning of sleeper service to Leadville in June 1881.

Just before sleeper service was begun between Denver and Gunnison in October 1882, two more sleepers were assigned, "Hortense" and "Kenosha". 

"South Park" in Pullman green on the Rocky Mountain House, Leaverite and Northern, built from a Bachmann kit.

In July 1887, sleeper service to Gunnison was discontinued, with the sleeper going only as far as St. Elmo. By November 1887, sleeper service on the Gunnison Division was completely discontinued.

In January 1889, the two newer sleepers were withdrawn to be rebuilt by Pullman for service in Mexico. By 1890, the other 4 cars were idle except for excursion trains. Sleeping car "San Juan" burned in 1891, leaving 3 Pullmans idle on DSP&P tracks. In March 1892, the 3 Pullmans  were sold to the Union Pacific and were converted to coaches UPD&G #176, 177, and 178.

Around 1892--94, UPD&G #176 (South Park) became Business Car #1, and later C&S #B-1, then #910. In 1899, UPD&G #177 became C&S coach #146 and #179 became C&S #148.

In May 1906, C&S #146 (former Bonanza), #147 (former Utah & Northern Rambler) and #148 (former Leadville) were delivered to the Pullman shops at Denver to be rebuilt as combination coach-RPO cars. On July 14, they were returned as #116 -- 118, and almost immediately renumbered #41 -- 43.


Unidentified "Plan 73" Pullman Palace Sleeping car (far left) with baggage car #40, #41 or #45, on bridge over Arkansas River near Buena Vista, early 1880s.

Hortense or Kenosha in 1885. Note fancy paneling and single window at each end.

The car on the left is the "South Park" during its short (1892-1894) stint as UPD&G coach #176. It has the characteristic twin “stacks” evident in the 1895 photo of it as UPD&G business car #1. The car second from left must be one of the other two plan 73 Pullmans, Bonanza or Leadville, during their short careers as coaches #177 and #179. 

Similar to Hortense or Kenosha, D&RG "Española" was reassigned to the Mexican Interoceanic RR in 1900, and may represent how they looked in their new livery.

C&S coach-mail #118 (ex Pullman Leadville) at Buffalo, probably between 1906 and 1910.

Union Pacific, Denver & Gulf Business car #1 (left) and Denver, Leadville & Gunnison Business car #2 (right)

Right side of C&S Business Car #910 in its last year, 1929.

Left side of same special train consisting of C&S business cars #911 and #910. 



Pullman Palace Sleeping Car "South Park" as delivered to DSP&P in 1879

Illustration of paneling on sides of South Park and other plan 73 Pullman Palace sleeping cars. Paneling would generally be ½" to ¾" thick with decorative “battens” 3/8" to ½" thick. It was prone to warping no matter how many coats of varnish it got. In a relatively short time, it was overlain with the more utilitarian tongue-and-groove.

DSP&P Pullman Sleepers "Bonanza", "San Juan", "Leadville"

DSP&P Pullman Palace Sleepers after conversion to C&S 40 -- 43 Combine-RPO (1906)


Copyright © 2022  E. R. (Ross) Crain, P.Eng.  email