The Abraham Lincoln's Sister Car, The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Car 102

Undated photograph and text by Jackson Thode


In the Spring of 1910, contemplating the opening of its new Western Pacific Railway as the latest transcontinental route to the Pacific, the Denver & Rio Grande ordered 51 new 78' 11" all-steel passenger coaches. Each with a seating capacity of 84, these cars were built by Pullman in July, August, and September of that year. Forty of the coaches, numbered 301-340, were added to the roster of the parent D. & R.G.W.

Within five years the Western Pacific began returning the coaches to the Rio Grande, and by the end of January, 1924, the latter road had regained possession of the entire lot. During the remainder of 1924 the coaches of both roads were integrated into a new series of D. & R.G.W. numbers running from 900 through 950, this fleet then constituting the major portion of the Rio Grande's passenger equipment during the halcyon days of the late twenties.

In 1929 two of the 19-year-old coaches (#924 and #926) were selected for rebuilding into railroad office cars; No. 924, originally D.&R.G.W. 893, was put through the Company's shops in Denver and emerged in March, 1930, as Business Car 102, fitted with six-wheel trucks, the interior tastefully arranged into two elegant staterooms, dining and observation rooms, all lined in natural-finish red gumwood. Air-conditioned in July, 1941, Business Car 102 was used principally by the Transportation and Engineering departments during the years of Trusteeship when the road was undergoing its remarkable rebuilding and transition into a heavy-duty, high-speed, transcontinental freight carrier.

Car 102 was retired by the railroad in December, 1964, being sold to a private owner in Tucson, Arizona. In the fall of 1965 the car again changed hands, and was moved by its new owner to Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it isbelieved to be currently located.