Train Division




History of the Dilapidated, Slow Poke & Poor (DSP&P)

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Way back around the beginning of the 20th Century, one of my ancestors, Uncle Mortimer, was a tycoon wanabe.  He felt the only way to become filthy rich was if he owned a railroad.  He realized that the town of Mine was in need of rail service.  He sold everything he owned to raise enough money to get started.  With his money and some funds from a few investors, construction was started.  This was a real shoestring operation, but the rails did finally get completed.

Uncle Mortimer purchased an old, worn out engine and a couple of old, worn out passenger cars from the Denver South Park & Pacific.  They were not in very good shape.  Funds were in such short supply that repainting them was not an option.  The engine lettering said DSP&P.  Traffic on the railroad was much less than anticipated, so revenue was low.  Maintenance was wishful thinking.  The equipment was dilapidated and getting worse.  But the trains kept running.  Uncle Mortimer even cut trees himself to supply wood to burn in the engine.  Sometimes he couldn’t keep up, so to save on fuel, the trains ran slow; so slow that sometimes walkers passed the train.  He barely made enough money to eat.  The owner of this railroad, Uncle Mortimer, lived in a tent.  He was poor, but he owned a railroad.

The passengers and the town folk who were served by the train, knew the equipment was dilapidated.  They called the train the "slow poke".  And everyone knew Uncle Mortimer was poor.  And that’s how Uncle Mortimer’s railroad became known as the Dilapidated, Slow Poke & Poor.  The name stuck.

But that’s not the end of the story.  As luck would have it, the mine in the town of Mine struck silver.  The big railroads wanted to serve Mine.  But the only way to get a railroad to Mine was along the right-of-way owned by Uncle Mortimer and the Dilapidated Slow Poke & Poor.  So he sold to another railroad.  Uncle Mortimer was old and tired by now, but he was no fool.  He knew he would not be able to enjoy a bunch of money.  So instead of a huge price for the railroad, he sold it for a nominal sum and a provision for future track rights.  The amount of money was almost meaningless to the purchaser.  But it was plenty to keep Uncle Mortimer's family comfortable.  The future track rights provision was that he and his family could forever run their trains on the complete right-of-way of the purchasing railroad regardless of future sales, bankruptcies, mergers, or whatever.

As luck would have it, the phenomena of riding nostalgic old railroads caught on.  The descendents of Uncle Mortimer started carrying passengers in their old train.  Money started rolling in.  They fixed thing up.  And they started running all over the right-of-way that Uncle Mortimer negotiated.

That is why, you can still see, in this day and age, modern Diesel locomotives running alongside old Steam locomotives on the same right-of-way.

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