Freight cars are as varied and unique as the types of equipment and goods they carry. From oil tankers to hoppers, stock cars to refrigerated boxcars, you can find a car designed to carry anything and everything.
In the following descriptions, (N) indicates narrow gauge and (S) indicates standard gauge.
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Coors Refrigerator Car No. 5400 (S)
This Western Fruit Express insulated refrigerator car or “reefer’” was repainted by Coors Brewing Company to replicate the ones used in the 1930s to ship beer from its Golden brewery. Painting billboards on the side of boxcars was banned by the U.S. government in 1937.
Denver & Rio Grande Western Stock Car No. 5666 (N)
A stock car is a modified boxcar with open slatted sides to provide cattle and sheep with ventilation as they are transported from summer pasture to market. D&RGW No. 5666(N) was a double-deck stock car that accommodated sheep on two levels. Cattle were transported in single level cars. Livestock is no longer carried by rail. Semi-trailer trucks are now used.
Florence & Cripple Creek Box Car No. 588 (N)
This boxcar had a capacity of 25 tons. Newer cars are built of steel rather than wood and have capacities of two or three times this 1898 wooden boxcar.
Union Tank Line Company Tank Car No. 11058 (N)
This tank car carried crude oil from the oil fields of Farmington and Chama, New Mexico to refineries in Alamosa, Colorado during the 1940s and 1950s. Bulk liquids were first transported in barrels in open flat and gondola cars. The barrels were small, leaky and required considerable handling. Later, tank cars were made from metal tanks which carried larger volumes and were safer to operate.
Denver & Rio Grande Western Gondola No. 1217 (N)
Gondolas have been called the “Do Anything, Load Anything” freight car. By adding sides to a flat car, the open box of a gondola can be used to haul all sorts of loose unconsolidated material such as lumber, metal, rocks, ore and scrap. Higher sides and a sloping chute on the bottom of a gondola makes it a hopper car.
Denver & Rio Grande Western Flat Car No. 6209 (N)
The most basic type of freight car, a flat car is a large flat horizontal surface on wheels and axles that can carry many types of cargo able to withstand exposure to weather during long journeys. This flat car was used to haul long sections of pipe to oil fields near Farmington, New Mexico in the 1950s and 1960s.
Rio Grande Southern Bunk Car No. 01789 (N)
Built in 1887, No. 01789 is the oldest freight car in Colorado. It was converted to a bunk and kitchen car to provide sleeping and eating space for railroad crews providing maintenance on water tanks so they did not have to return home each evening after work. The vertical pipe stored at one end of the car held a long rod used to clear lines that fed water tanks along the railroad.