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D&RGW Work Car 04914

This car, a former narrow gauge box car converted to a work car, arrived at the Museum on Thursday September 9, 2004. It was obtained from the Durango and Silverton Railroad silent auction held during that year's Railfest.


            According to Silverton resident Fritz Klinke, our new work car 04914 has quite a history.  Writing in the November, 2004 issue of the Colorado Time Table (copy in the museum files), Mr. Klinke reveals that the car once sat on a short piece of track at Gato/Pagosa Junction and was scheduled to be burned in place in the early 1960s to salvage the scrap iron.  Before this it may have served as a temporary station. 

            According to Klinke, “Conductor Punk Blackstone heard of this (plans to burn the car) and purchased the car from the railroad for $50, which was the going disposal price for car bodies.  Punk then arranged for the car to get back on the siding, and on one of his trips through with a freight train, they chained the car to the tail end of the caboose and pulled it into Durango.”

            Klinke provides several other stories of ownership transfers and attempts to move the car, finishing with “the car has a continuous draft gear and wheels cast at the Fort Dodge Iowa something or other.  It may be the sole surviving example of the continuous draft gear car around – that I’m not sure about.”

A picture of our work car taken in the summer of 1967 in Durango is shown below. (Photo courtesy of Fritz Klinke)

Thanks to Fritz for his fascinating summary of the car's history between the early 1960s and our acquisition in 2004. We have replaced all of the windows and doors and applied a new roof. We have restored one end of the car to its original straight air and link-and-pin coupler configuration. Waffle board has been installed on the inside walls on the eastern end followed by a coat of primer. We will paint the interior walls and ceiling the original blue-gray-green color. An inspection window was left so visitors can see the original walls. We will replace some of the bead board style interior roofing boards. The inside of the car will house a display of how the car was used in servicing water tanks.

The work car was restored as a water service car in 2007. Inside the car there is a photo exhibit of all RGS and D&RGW narrow Gauge water tanks as well as interpretive information about water service on the Colorado Narrow Gauge Railroads. The spout from the RGS Valley Tank on the RGS is also displayed inside the car. This tank was located on the climb up the east side of Dallas Divide.

Several pictures of the work car are shown below. The first photo shows the work car loaded on the trailer in Durango and the second photo shows its arrival in Ridgway. The third photo shows the car after new doors had been constructed in June of 2005. The next photo, taken on June 28, 2006, shows the car after new windows had been added and painting and stenciling completed. Note the new roof walk supports lined up on the ground. The fourth picture, taken 11/25/06, shows the link and pin coupler on the west end. The final picture shows the inside of the car as a restored water service car complete with stove and curtains.

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