Colorado Midland Coke Car

Bob Chaparro <thecitrusbelt@...>

Here is a link to a Colorado Midland coke car from the University of
Washington Library Digital Archives. Tom VanWormer of Monument, CO,
provided some background.

Bob Chaparro

Hemet, CA



This car was built during one of the Colorado Midland major re-equipping
efforts in 1901 by the American Car & Foundry Co (AC&F) for the Midland
with higher capacity air brake systems, metal underframes in an effort
to present a new fleet to service the customers. This was one of the
7000 series cars and a 60,000 pound capacity whereas all of the early
coal cars were 50,000 pound capacity. One of the major products the
Colorado Midland was able to service were the various coke ovens in the
area southwest of Glenwood Springs. The racks on this car provided
sufficient containment for carrying a maximum load of coke, which was
much less dense than coal. The coke was used in both the smelting
industry and in the iron and steel mills of CF&I in Pueblo CO; one of
the few major steel mills in the Western United States.

When the US Railroad Administration embargoed all traffic from other US
railroads after August 8, 1918 because of the undue number of derailment
incidents, no other railroads in the US were allowed to exchange any
traffic with the Midland. As a part of management's attempts to keep
the Midland operating the management which had only purchased control of
the Midland in Spring of 1916 when the previous owners, George Gould of
the MoPac, D&RG and Western Pacific fame planned on scrapping the Colo
Midland and use the funds earned in the scrapping sale to pay off a lot
of outstanding debt. Carlton, paid basically a million over the rigged
bid and had himself a very worn-out railroad. While Carlton had the new
rails and ties on order, the World War I priorities moved his purchases
to the rear of the priority lists.

Long story short, while the material needed to rebuild the road was
enroute, the Wilson Administration choose to shut the Midland down.
Carlton in an effort to maintain a cash flow during the embargo and
Federal Court cases sold off his better cars to shortlines and other
purchasers through out the country. Many of the cars and locomotives
were sold to lumber lines and companies in the Pacific Northwest. This
particular car was never repainted by its new owner and continued in use
into the late 1930s when the depression caused the traction company to
shut down.

Tom VanWormer

Monument CO

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