Across from N 13th Street and running parallel with Royal Gorge Boulevard you can find some dilapidated trains in Cañon City, Colorado.
These trains are bordering near the Arkansas River, you can smell the heavy metal and thick dust immediately upon entering. Creaking, broken and dilapidated, these trains have a story to tell.
It seems as if there are multiple types including 3 of the Pacific Starlight cars (anything with a red interior) , at least 2 Cariboo Prospectors (the green ones), 1 black British Columbia Railway car, a pilot car, several silver and red striped double-decker cars and some others. Many seem to be the BUDD type. Meaning a Budd Rail Diesel Car, a self propelled multiple unit diesel rail car. These types were primarily used for passenger services.
With a population of less than 20,000, this little city is continuously changing but the railroad tracks remain same. Many of these train cars were built in the 1940’s and 1950’s having various uses and made for different companies.
The BC Rail Pacific Starlight Train ran from 1997 through 2002. Before this, it was part of the rolling stock for the Texan Southern Dinner Train. All 10 cars were sold to Ontario North Railway to be part of the Polar Bear Express in 2003. The price they sold for was almost 1 Million USD. However, 4 cars most certainly did not meet those renovations and remained Starlights until they met there grave here.
Of the 10 rail cars there was Stardust, Moonglow, Twilight, Rainbow, Apollo, Continental, Manhattan, Savoy, Indigo and Borealis. Stardust was the Super Dome Lounge. Moonglow and Twilight were domes. Rainbow, Apollo, Continental and Manhattan were diners. Savoy was a kitchen. Indigo was a diner – observation car. Borealis was the Auxiliary Power Unit.
Stardust, Indigo, Rainbow and Twilight were all known to have become apart of the Polar Bear Express. Borealis, the Auxiliry Power Unit was left behind as it B.O.’d when it encountered a wheel problem. So it seems clear that these diners left from Pacific Starlight must be Apollo, Continental and Manhattan. It also seems as if we have the kitchen as well at this location being Savoy.
Many of these older rail cars will get planned for refurbishment until it is realized they are laden with asbestos. That is what happened with some of the remaining Starlight cars and what it seems happened with this entire grouping.
The reason for the closure of the Starlight Dinner Train was due to it not being profitable. According to the numbers it lot $420,000 USD annually. It only traveled between May 1st and October 18th.
The Pacific Starlight Dinner Train was even mentioned in the book, Murder, She Wrote : Destination Murder. Cañon City is also part of the the “Neutral Zone” in the book and show, The Man in the High Castle.
Where is the forgotten Searchlight Cafe and other trains located? You can find it with these coordinates. 38.443561, -105.228838.