Time Machine Tuesday: Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Sheer cliffs, deep chasms, and dark shadows make the 2,000-foot-deep Black Canyon of the Gunnison one of Colorado’s most spectacular natural wonders, and twenty years ago, it was officially designated a National Park. Yet for centuries, this sublime canyon has challenged those who wished to conquer it. Ute Indians were the first to explore and […]

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Looking for a fun activity this summer? The Georgetown Loop Historic Mining & Railroad Park® is located just 45 minutes from Denver and provides a great way to enjoy some great mountain scenery as well as learn about railroads and mining, two of our state’s most important industries in the nineteenth century. Originally constructed in […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The Dotsero Train Wreck

110 years ago today occurred one of the state’s worst train disasters. On January 15, 1909 at 9:47p.m., a westbound Denver & Rio Grande passenger train collided with an eastbound freight train just outside of Dotsero, in Eagle County. Apparently the engineer of the passenger train had been confused about the time his train was […]

How Geology Helped Build the Moffat Road

Our library recently received a fascinating new document for our collection that will be of interest to historians researching Colorado’s railroads as well as to those interested in our state’s geology and mineral resources. Exactly one hundred years ago, in 1918, a special committee of the Denver Civic and Commercial Association asked State Geologist Russell […]

Time Machine Tuesday: The Moffat Tunnel

Getting trains through the Rocky Mountains has always been a challenge — steep grades, rocky cliffs, and tall snowdrifts are among the many obstacles that early Colorado railroad officials and designers had to contend with.  However one man had a vision for a tunnel that would ease travel through the Continental Divide.  Although he did […]

Time Machine Tuesday: Colorado Railroads

In 1885, there were 2,840.51 miles of railroad track in Colorado.  That year, W.B. Felker, the State Railroad Commissioner, issued his first annual report to the Governor.  This report is a treasure trove of information for anyone researching early Colorado railroads.  It includes statistics on mileage, passengers, freight, bridges, personnel, accidents, and more.  The report […]

Colorado’s Engineering Marvels

From bridges to dams to tunnels and beyond, Colorado has some fine examples of structural engineering.  Awe-inspiring bridges such as the Georgetown Loop, the Royal Gorge, and my personal favorite, the Red Cliff Arch Bridge, conquer the mountainous terrain to allow trains, pedestrians, and motor vehicles to cross wide canyons — get a spectacular view […]

Railroad Crossing Safety

A recent news story offered a history of recent incidents of rail crashes resulting in death, citing 29 deaths in Colorado in the last 5 years, including both heavy rail and light rail incidents.  Last week the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) issued a press release to bring awareness to this issue and provide safety […]

Proposed High-Speed Rail System

The Colorado Department of Transportation is taking public comments on its new Front Range high-speed rail study (see the newspaper article).  CDOT says no official proposals have come forward yet, but the idea for a rail line is being discussed.  You can find more about rail transit in several CDOT publications available from our library, […]

Union Station

Denver’s Union Station has been in the news lately as a plan for the old train station’s redevelopment as a hotel and multi-modal transit hub has been in the works. Union Station was originally built in 1881 but was destroyed by fire in 1894. It was rebuilt soon after with a large stone clocktower. In […]

Colorado Rail Relocation Implementation Study

The State Publications Library has just received a major publication by the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Rail Relocation and Implementation Study. This publication studies the impact of moving the state’s rail lines for the development of more passenger rail, and has important information regarding potential eminent domain, etc. The study may be checked […]