Rio Grande Prospector

In November, 1941, the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad inaugurated the Prospector, a pair of Budd-built two-car trains that went overnight between Denver and Salt Lake City via the Moffat Tunnel. Unfortunately, the trains proved inadequate for the job: with only 44 seats and 18 beds, demand exceeded capacity; while the little 192-HP Hercules Diesels were insufficient for getting the trains over the mountains. Within eight months the Rio Grande returned the trains to Budd and they were scrapped.

Click image to see a larger view.

After the war, the Rio Grande reintroduced the Prospector name using General Motors Diesel locomotives pulling heavyweight passenger cars painted yellow with four black pinstripes. In 1950, the train was fully streamlined, though photos of the train show that heavyweights were still used from time to time.

Click image to download a PDF of the front and back of this postcard.

Demand for postwar railcars was intense and Pullman and the other carbuilders had several years of back orders. The Rio Grande was able to accelerate the streamlining of the Prospector and its other trains when the Chesapeake & Ohio cancelled its Washington-Cincinnati Chessie train. At the time, only some of the Chessie cars had been delivered, and the Rio Grande bought a few of those cars as well as the rights to buy cars from Pullman that had been ordered by the C&O.

Click image to download a PDF of the front and back of this postcard.


Leave a Reply