The Scenic Limited

Trains 19 & 20 (5), 1 & 2

Last Update: 6/20/08


The Scenic Limited (trains 1 & 2) was another train that operated in conjunction with the MP and WP operating between Denver and Salt Lake City (on the D&RGW), but with through cars not as a through train. The train began operations 1906, and was on and off the time table though 1915. It was discontinued on June 1, 1946. The D&RGW portion became the Royal Gorge, the MP portion became the Colorado Eagle.

The Scenic Limited was introduced on June 3rd, 1906 as trains 19 & 20. This was literally an all-Pullman train, as all five cars involved were built and provided by Pullman. Due to the inflexibility of a static five car consist, and the requirement for any through passengers to detrain and reboard connecting trains, this first iteration wasn't really successful and it was shut down by the end of summer, 1906. Note that the Western Pacific wasn't completed until 1910.

It was the Panama-Pacific Exposition that reintroduced the Scenic Limited, this time it would have components transferred to the Western Pacific from Salt Lake City to Ogden, and on the Missouri Pacific from Pueblo to St. Louis (irony here - the ideological successor, The Exposition Flyer, would also be put in place due to a San Francisco exposition, but would depart from Chicago, not St. Louis and it would be, in essence, a through train. The St. Louis to Denver portion was run by the CB&Q). The 2nd edition of the Scenic Limited was introduced on April 12, 1915, this time as an "all-steel" train, run in daylight hours for maximum scenic viewing. Train 20 was the Scenic Limited, but in a twist, train 19 was named the Pueblo Express. Instead, train 5 from Denver was given the name Scenic Limited, though it ran from Denver to Pueblo only (this in an attempt to capitalize on the name). For the time, the arrangement was train 5 from Denver to Pueblo would be called the Scenic Limited, and from Pueblo to Ogden, the Chicago-San Francisco Express. Train 19 from Ogden to Pueblo would be the Pueblo Express, and from Pueblo to Denver, the Scenic Limited. Again, the Scenic Limited would be off the timetable at the end of summer (of 1915).

The D&RG decided the name had too much cache to abandon, and renamed trains 1 & 2 (Pacific Coast and Atlantic Coast Limited) to the Scenic Limited. The operating department continued with the old names for another eight years in the employee timetables. After the 1934 opening of the Moffat Tunnel and the Dotsero Cutoff, the main route between Denver and Salt Lake City went via the Moffat. Fewer trains, and fewer customers went via the Royal Gorge route. However, the train still retained through cars from the MoPac.

In 1941, a new train was introduced on the MP - the Colorado Eagle. It handled the traffic previously handled by the MP's version of the Scenic Limited. On June 2, 1946, the Scenic Limited was renamed the Royal Gorge - or at least, trains 1 & 2 were renamed. The new service held some of the traffic as the Scenic - there was a MP & WP version of the Royal Gorge. Neither of those versions lasted very long though, and the essence of the Scenic Limited was gone by 1947.


Images of the Scenic Limited:

Equipment Notes:

As with any passenger train, modeling the Scenic Limited is dependent upon the era and season being modeled. The Scenic Limited was a heavyweight train and at its inception, an all Pullman one. This was the "flagship" of the D&RG & D&RGW. This train rarely included a head-end portion. By its end, it had coaches and tourist Pullmans.

The Scenic Limited went from the age of wood cars, to the age of steel heavyweights. There are no real options for those cars from the 1906 version available in model form. The early version of the Scenic, from 1915 through about 1930 also is difficult to model, given that the cars would mostly have been the 25nn series of Pullman Plans -the 35nn Plans came into use about 1930 on the D&RGW. In 1938, there were six sleepers listed in the time tables - a 10-2-1 San Francisco to Chicago car; a 10-2-1 between San Francisco and St. Louis; a 10-1-2 between Salt Lake City and Denver; a 12-1 between Ogden and Denver; a 16 section Tourist sleeper between San Francisco and Chicago, and a 13 section tourist sleeper between Ogden and Denver. In addition, a dining car, coaches and a lounge observation were also listed.

The equipment list below is basically between 1932 and 1946.

Car Type Years Number / Name Description and Notes Modeling Notes (in HO)
Chair 1924 - 1946 900 - 950

70' Steel 1910 coaches - Note that there were other cars in the 960 -970; 971 - 975; 976 - 979; 980 - 985 series that were occasionally assigned as well (all 1910 rebuilds)

Not Available
Diner 1927 - 1946 CASTLE PEAK; PIKES PEAK, SOPRIS PEAK, TWIN PEAK  79' Steel Diner Not Available
Lounge Observation 1933 - 1946 CANON series cars 70' steel observation lounges Not Available
Diner Lounge 1936 - 1946 MT. ANTERO; JAMES PEAK; MT. HARVARD, MT. MASSIVE, MT. YALE; MT. PRINCETON; MT. TIMPANOGOS 80' Steel Diner-Lounge-Solarium Observation Not Available
10-1-2 Pullman 1936 - 1939 3585 10-Sections 2-Compartments 1-Drawing Room Branchline 5299, Walthers 932-10551 - Check air conditioning
12-1 1936 - 1946 3510 12 Sections, 1 Drawing room Walthers, Branchline
13 Section 1936 - 1946 Tourist Pullman 13 Sections - reconfigured 2410 12-1 Brass - The Coach Yard
(2) 16 Section 1938-1946 Tourist Pullman 16 Sections Coach Yard (brass - check A/C)

Note: This page is still under construction and will likely be continually updated as models and more information come forward.


Report problems to Webmaster
© 2008, Rio Grande Modeling & Historical Society. All rights reserved. World rights reserved.