Friday, May 25, 2007

Three Foot to Paradise

Just west of Denver in the Clear Creek Canyon area that I-70 passes through is some of the neatest railroad history in the country. 125 years ago this rugged country was difficult to get to. It was the realm of mountain toll roads, busted wagon wheels, and days of travel. Then silver was discovered. Men did what men do best. They conquered, and some say ruined, the country. Using what was known as "narrow gauge" the railroad came to Clear Creek Country. Narrow gauge refers to the distance between the rails. On a standard railroad the gauge is 4 feet, eight and one half inches. (Roman chariot wheel spacing, I believe) In these mountains they used a gauge of 3 feet to reduce costs and time.

If you drive west of Denver on the old 40 highway through Golden most of this highway follows the path of the narrow gauge. In fact it was highway 40 that was the death of the narrow gauge and it was I-70 that erased most of the history of the area.

Today's pictures are of remnants of the Colorado and Southern narrow gauge. The top picture is C&S Number 60 and a coach on display at Idaho Springs. The bottom two pictures are of the Devil's Gate Bridge on the Georgetown Loop. This was rebuilt as a tourist railroad in the 1960's and is located between Georgetown and Silver Plume. Long after the minerals played out the C& S survived due to the popularity of this section of track. People from Denver would ride the narrow gauge to see this loop and then picnic in Silver Plume.

I hope you enjoyed today's history lesson. Have a great Friday.


Anna said...

Stunning. You know I love train and train related images as well Mike. These are great!

Stacy said...

Speaking of trains,

I just went on the new bullet train here in Taiwan. It made a two and a half hour trip to Taipei last only 1 hour, and that was with four stops! Great fun.

But you can't beat regular trains. There was a weekend touristy type passenger train that would run behind my house in the hill country in Texas. It had a red caboose and everything. I have pictures of my kids in the bluebonnets standing and waving at that train.

Great fun.

Sniderman said...

This is an awesome ride if you get the chance. And make it a priority. Every year, there's the threat of closing it down due to lack of funding... unless that's been secured somehow.

Then... head over to the Durango and Silverton. Not to be missed.

Here's the Georgetown Loop link:

Cris said...

Oh Denver... we used to live nearby... sweet memories... wish I could go back in time!

JAM said...

Great shots. What a great place to explore. Neat information too. I've never been to Colorado.

Moksha Gren said...

Freakishly beautiful part of the country. And an excellent job framing a small portion of that beauty

lv2scpbk said...

That sky in the background is surely a nice backdrop for the train. I will have to show my grandson.