D&RGW Passenger Notes

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This page was last updated on April 2, 2024.

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Passenger Paint Schemes

"They were probably red although the Pullmans may have been brown until Pullman switched to  green in 1900. The  passenger cars were changed from red (not all - some narrow gauge chair cars stayed red thru the 30s) to green by the Grande engineering department in 1918 because green lasted six weeks longer before requiring repainting." (Dennis OBerry, citing a conversation with Jack Thode in 1995)

Three C&O Cars

D&RGW 1248, 1249, 1250

All three cars were built by Budd in August 1948 for C&O, but never entered service; all three were sold to D&RGW in 1949.

The following comes from comments recorded at an informal D&RGW Car Department brunch held on March 7, 2019. Among the attendees were three retired employees, including the former Passenger Car Shop Foreman, all of whom were present when the three "ex-C&O" cars arrived on the property.

The three "ex-C&O" were modified and repainted by the shops forces at Burnham. After the three "ex-C&O" cars arrived on the property still in C&O colors, and they were immediately moved to the Burnham Shops. Because of intense interest by Management, various employees from the Car, Tin, Pipe and Electrical Shops went to work on them immediately modifying the observation ends and the roof line. The sheet metal / tin shop employees manufactured the new raised portions for the roof which were a slip-fit while the structure for the standard diaphragm was added to the end. Once completed, the interior ceiling, walls, etc. were refinished.

The cars were then sent to the paint shop where they were cleaned and prepped, and the new orange, silver, black 4-stripe scheme was applied by the D&RGW painters.

D&RGW 1248 was retired by D&RGW in 1970. Sold to Auto-Liner Corp. in 1970, resold soon after to Root Co. and named "Silver Holly"; as of 2023, displayed at Museum of Science and Technology in Daytona, Florida. (mid-train adapter, with its mounted diaphram removed)

D&RGW 1249 was retired by D&RGW in 1970. Sold to Auto-Liner Corp. in 1970, resold soon after to Bill Butterworth (Butterworth Tours), named "Big Ben." (mid-train adapter, with its mounted diaphram removed)

D&RGW 1250 was retired by D&RGW in 1970. Sold to Auto-Liner Corp. in 1970, named "Linoma" (AUT 200). Used in charter service; leased to Amtrak; sold to Amtrak in 1974 (stored); retired by Amtrak in 1976.

All three cars were purchased in 1970 by Bill Kratville (Auto-Liner Corp.) from the D&RGW for a reported $10,000.00 each. Auto-Liner re-sold two of the cars (ex D&RGW 1248 and 1249), and kept ex D&RGW 1250, which was named "Linoma."

The former D&RGW 1250, as AUT 200 "Linoma," was used for various charters, including the Auto-Liner special trains from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska, for University of Nebraska football games in the early 1970s. The name "Linoma" is a combination of LINcoln and OMAha, and the car was specifically named for a man-made recreational lake adjacent to the Platte River, midway between the two cities. It was leased to Amtrak for a short time and eventually sold, in 1974, to Amtrak, with a planned number of AMTK 9384. Shown in full Amtrak colors in a photo taken on September 1, 1972, the car retained its AUT reporting mark, at least until after a photo taken on March 1, 1976. Retired by Amtrak in August 1976. There is a photo of the car in Chattanooga in May 1978, in full Amtrak paint, with both its AUT number and its Amtrak number.

There have been reports that the former D&RGW 1250 was one of 48 rail passenger cars sold to the Chattanooga Choo Choo Co. in 1970, for use in its Choo Choo Hilton Inn, the converted Southern Railway Terminal in downtown Chattanooga, reportedly as one of 48 cars to be converted to hotel rooms, including former L&N and Penn Central cars. The railroad cars were each divided into two separate suites, plus the hotel included 103 "luxury" rooms in the four-story tower portion of the former railroad depot. The hotel held its grand opening on May 30, 1973.

Although not one of the original 48 cars obtained in 1970, the hotel did acquire the former D&RGW 1250 at some time in 1978, five years after the hotel opened. Initial plans were to convert it to an additional hotel room, with a bed in the dome, but plans changed and the car was instead stripped for usage as the hotel's arcade, with pin-ball machines inside, a role that it served until it was moved to the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in 1994.

In 1996 the former D&RGW 1250 was traded by the museum to a private owner for several Budd Rail Diesel Cars. The car was sold at various times to other owners, including Les Kasten of Illinois Transit Assembly Corp. (ITAC).

The car's private owner returned the former D&RGW 1250 to TVRM in 2015, where restoration to its original C&O appearance was started. The restoration continued until completion in late 2023, with plans to lease thcar to TVRM for operation. As part of the restoration, the mid-train adapter, with its mounted diaphram, has been removed in order to restore the original as-built round-end, as it was prior to its service on D&RGW after 1949.

As for the 48 rail passenger cars at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel (with the former D&RGW 1250 *not* being one of them), by the time of a renovation of the hotel in 2002, then operated by Holiday Inn, there were still 24 cars on site, but only ten were to be renovated. The hotel had 361 rooms available, and 230,000 guests had been accommodated the previous year. As late as 2014, there were still 48 suites, in 24 rail cars, available for hotel guests. A renovation of the entire hotel in 2022 noted that there were still 24 rail cars on the property, but all cars had not been in use for a number of years. Seventeen cars were to be relocated on the property, with eight to be managed by Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum; six were to be donated outright to TVRM, and one was to be scrapped due to its condition.

(The single and oldest reference to D&RGW 1250/AUT 200/AMTK 9384 being sold to the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel comes from David Randall's Streamliner Cars, Volume 2, Budd, page 65, published in 1981, "Amtrak 9384-Linoma sold to Choo Choo Hilton, Chattanooga Tenn.")

Car Changes

The major issue with D&RGW steel heavyweight cars is that they changed early and often.  The coaches aren't as much of an issue, because the sides remained basically the same (with the change in size and/or removal of transoms) and many changes were internal. The diner-lounges though and the other lounges were modified often. That isn't a huge problem with most people interested in the late 40s for steam-powered trains, as opposed to the earlier, non-air conditioned variants prior to the mid-1930s. Those interested in the post-steam era have less worries, but still a lot of changes. (Bob Webber, email dated September 9, 2014)