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The Alamosa Trash Gon
This model was the subject for a article for the Lone Star Region's quarterly paper - The Marker Lamp.  Below is the history of the prototype car.

click on the pictures for a larger image


Photos by Charlie Kirk

Currently at the Colorado Railroad Museum is D&RGW gondola #06229 more commonly known as the Alamosa Trash Gondola.  Gondola 06299 is truly unique.  It was originally the flat car under CONX tank #15 and was operated on the Colorado & Southern.  The flat car portion of CONX #15 was replaced with a steel underframe by the D&RGW in 1925 in the car shop in Alamosa.    The original underframe emerged as a flat car but later had its 33” inch tall, 4 board sides added.  The sides are bolted directly to the side sills instead of using stake pockets like most gondolas.  The boards of the sides were just nailed to the stakes as there are no bolts visible.  Originally, the car had American Car & Foundry 4’ 6” arch bar trucks that were common to the CONX and TCX tank car fleets.  It is possible that these came from the ex-Crystal River Railroad’s Ingoldsby dump gondolas but I have not been able to confirm this.

There are several things that truly make this car unique.  It has a mix of C&S and D&RGW hardware that is like no other.  The end beam plate style washers and the brake rigging are all part of its C&S heritage.  The brake chain, for example, hangs outside the truck which was a common C&S practice and wasn’t changed by the D&RGW rebuild crew.  It had Westinghouse K-1 brakes, tower couplers, Miner draft gear and plate bolsters.  D&RGW AFE # 4745 shows that it entered service 10-24-30 and that they spent $288.78 to rebuild the car.  The AFE talks of “Constructing a flat car from new and second hand parts, underframe and trucks from CONX #15 donated to carrier by Pond Bros. of Dulce, NM.”  AFE # 7575 shows that it was retired in November of 1970.

The 06229 also features a door on the A end of the car.  The door uses hinges like those found on D&RGW or C&S reefers.  The door was installed to allow a person with a wheelbarrow load to have access to the car and the inside was lined with sheet metal to protect the wood.  It was used to haul off trash from the shops, station, offices and freight house.  It was spotted on a stub end spur across from the Station and Office next to the Freight House.  The car, when full, would then be hauled to the dump but Bob Richardson said that he never saw it move while he lived in Alamosa.

After the scrapping of the narrow gauge the car ended up in the possession of the Sundown & Southern.  The Sundown & Southern was a privately owned venture north of Denver.  They had purchased track, rolling stock and at least one steam locomotive and it was hoped for it to be a place where people could come and learn how to operate a real steam locomotive.  After the owner passed away the equipment of the Sundown & Southern was sold at auction.  The NRHS (National Railway Historical Society) purchased the car for $750 and it was planned to use the car for parts to restore Uintah caboose #3.  The Colorado Railroad Museum traded the parts needed for the caboose to keep the gondola from being destroyed. 

Even though most of the lining has rusted away now from years of being exposed to the elements, the rest of the car has been cosmetically restored by the Colorado Railroad Museum.  She is painted the standard D&RGW MOW gray with black lettering and is on display at the museum.

I thought that this would be a great project to build.  With all the mix of C&S and D&RGW parts it would be a challenging project.  I started gathering various pictures from my books and off the Internet.  The one that clinched the project for me was Micro-Trains release of their HOn3 Reefers.  These cars run very well and the floor for the reefer is the same size as the CONX flat.  It also has the side mounted hand brake chain roller.  I used the floor from one of these cars and the brake details to begin working on this car.  I removed the steel center sill and cut the bolsters off.  After gluing the bolsters back on the car I built a new center sill out of wood.  I added needle beams, queen posts and truss rods.  I also ran a brake line through the car bottom as well.  I scratchbuilt a new wood floor and sides for the car out of wood.  For the sheet metal lining I used foil tape that was later painted and weathered.  I used my PC to create the artwork for the decals, which were printed on my ALPS printer.  It was a fun project to do and will make a fun operating situation for the yard operator on the P&DR. 

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