Railroading Returns to Como

Article and photos by Laura Van Dusen It’s been 80 years since the last train left the Como depot. Eighty years, a lifetime ago, since a train whistle gave a last shout pulling away from the station, and a narrow-gauge engine, steam belching from its stack, pulled rail cars across South Park.

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Touring (and Arguing) The Great Railroad War

By Forrest Whitman Lots of the railroad history around Central Colorado is fun to discuss and argue about. The great railroad war (1878-1890) was a fierce fight. The contenders were General William Jackson Palmer’s Denver and Rio Grande Railroad versus the Santa Fe Railroad led by William Barstow Strong and Thomas Nickerson. The reader is […]

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All Aboard the Southwest Chief from Pueblo?

By Forrest Whitman “A review by BNSF Railway of needed infrastructure improvements to support that service would be complete before Christmas,” said Ray Lang of AMTRAK. He gave that quote at a Southwest Chief Commission meeting to the Colorado Association of Railroad Passengers. The folks in Pueblo have worked for several years to make passenger trains […]

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The Caboose

by Forrest Whitman I recently took a lovely walk up the old Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad grade to the Orient mine in the northern San Luis Valley. It’s a spot anyone can visit on their own. Just stop at the Valley View Hot Springs office and sign in. Graded in 1881, this narrow […]

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The Caboose

by Forrest Whitman Salida’s Magic Caboose Saturday, June 21 was dedication day for Denver and Rio Grande Railroad caboose 0576. It’s a magic caboose chock full of symbolism. It would take an author as sensitive as, say, Gabriel Garcia Marquez to write up all of that. A caboose speaks to the kid in us all. […]

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A Love Affair with Model Trains

by Judith Reese, Photos by Mike Rosso “Fabulous! Colorado’s Best Secret Attraction,” declares an entry in the Buena Vista Model Railroad guestbook. It’s in the hand of well-known history professor Tom Noel, and now the secret is out. The delightful diorama, housed on the top floor of the BV Heritage Museum, depicts in miniature the […]

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The caboose

by Forrest Whitman This column is dedicated to two Colorado Central readers I ran into in a Salida coffee house. They tell me they are planning to go hoboin’ this fall. This column might prove useful to them. I love hearing hobos spin yarns, at least when they are fairly sober. I had an uncle […]

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The Alpine Tunnel (and how to get there)

by Kenneth Jessen In 1879, the Denver, South Park & Pacific railroad constructed a narrow gauge railroad from Denver up the South Platte Canyon, over Kenosha Pass and across South Park. It was a grand scheme to tap shipments to and from the mining areas, pick up agricultural products, and carry passengers on one of […]

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New Railroad to Colorado Central Country

(It’s Probably Coming To Leadville) by Forrest Whitman Every time I stroll along the out-of-service Union Pacific (U.P.) tracks near Cleora I get nostalgic for passenger trains. Why can’t I board a train in Salida? I know my black lab Gus and his buddy Bodie would hate to have trains honking along their favorite stretch […]

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Remnants of the Narrow-Gauge Circle

Sidebar by Ed Quillen C&TS RR – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine The C&TS locomotives are now confined to the tracks between Antonito, Colo., and Chama, N.M., but when they were put into service decades ago, they pulled freight and passengers across vast stretches of Colorado and northern New Mexico. In the 1920s, the […]

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Getting a ticket to history

Sidebar by Steve Voynick C&TS RR – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine A TICKET TO HISTORY The Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad is a Registered National Historic Site and a New Mexico Registered Cultural Site. Recently, the Society of International Railway Travelers named the C&TSRR to its list of the world’s top 20 railway […]

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Steam: Still whistling after all these years

Article by Steve Voynick C&TS RR – September 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine I ADMIT THAT I ENVY Tom Atkinson’s job. He begins work by climbing into the cab of No. 497, a huge, black, 96-year-old Baldwin steam locomotive. Coupled to a six-car train, the K-37 Mikado-type locomotive has been building steam for two hours. […]

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