Valley RR History - Timeline

Glenwood Railroad Museum

Selected Railroads in Colorado
prepared for the Glenwood Railroad Museum by Oscar McCollum
1867: Colorado's railroad network consisted of one operating railroad.
1869: Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads meet at Promontory,

Utah; completion of the first trans-continental railroad.
1870: General William Jackson Palmer started building the

narrow-gauge Denver & Rio Grande railroad south from Denver.
-------- Oct 27: Gen.Palmer filed Articles of Incorporation on behalf

of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway Co.
1871: D&RG started installing Westinghouse air brakes on freight

trains, first in the nation.
1878: D&RG started building westward from Canyon City, Colorado.
1880: Nov., D&RG reached.Fremont Pass near Leadville.
1881: D&RGW Railway Co organized by Gen. Palmer.
1883: Colorado Midland Railway incorporated.
1886: William S. Jackson became president of D&RG
-----    Colorado Midland Railway, standard-gauge, began construction

through the Colorado Rockies.
1887 David Moffat became president of D&RG.
------  D&RG completed construction of narrow-gauge track to Glenwood

Springs, then continued toward Aspen.
-----    Hagerman Tunnel (Saguache County) completed through

Continental Divide, 2,064 feet long, at 12,110 feet altitude, by James John Hagerman, for the Colorado Midland Railway.
1888: Jay Gould extended his Missouri Pacific railroad into Colorado.
------   D&RG converted line into Glenwood Springs to standard-gauge
-----    Colorado Midland completed standard-gauge tracks to Aspen.
-----    Colorado Midland tracks reached New Castle.
-----    D&RG and Colorado Midland joined forces to build track from

New Castle to Grand Junction.
1889: Rio Grande Southern Railroad Co. organized by Otto Mears..
1892-93: Silver boom died in the silver panic; railroads changed from

hauling silver ore to coal, farm products and lumber; many railroads failed

1893: Colorado had 50 operating railroad companies, with 6000 miles of track.
1893: Crystal River Railway started building from Carbondale up the

Crystal River Valley by Colorado Coal Co.

-----    Elk Mountain Railroad starting grading from Carbondale up

the Crystal River valley, by Colorado Fuel Co. No track was ever laid.
-----    Busk-Ivanhoe tunnel completed at a lower elevation than

Hagerman tunnel, 9,400 feet long.
1898: Colorado & Southern Railway organized.
1899: D&RG and Colorado & Southern bought Colorado Midland railroad.
------  Crystal River Railroad completed from Carbondale to Redstone,

by Colorado Fuel & Iron Co.
------   Narrow-gauge "High Line" built from Redstone to Coal Basin
by John C. Osgood
1900: Crystal River Railroad extended from Redstone to Placita
-----    Hagerman Pass over Continental Divide, "High Line" dismantled.
1904: New (present) D&RG Depot constructed in Glenwood Springs
1905: Yule Creek Railway incorporated.
------  Crystal River & San Juan Railroad organized by Channing F.

Meek; line from Placita to Marble, completed Nov. 23, 1906.
1908: D&RG and Rio Grande Western merged as D&RG Railroad.
1910: Crystal River Marble Co. built standard-gauge Yule Creek

Railway (Treasury Mountain line) Funicular railroad built from Treasury Mountain line end of track to Strauss marble quarry.
------   Electric tramway (standard-gauge) completed from Marble to
Yule marble quarry.
1918: Colorado Midland Railway failed for lack of traffic.
------    U.S. Railroad Administration took over operation of Rio
Grande Southern RR.
1920: D&RG released from Federal control after end of World War I.
1921: D&RG sold to Western Pacific Railroad Corporation.

------   D&RG Railroad Co. re-organized and took over D&RG Railway Co.
-----    Busk-Ivanhoe tunnel closed and track removed, renamed Carlton tunnel..
1922: Colorado Midland tracks removed from Glenwood Springs to Spring

Gulch coal mines.
1928: Moffat tunnel opened to traffic under the continental divide.
1934: Dotsero Cutoff on Rio Grande Western opened, reducing distance

from Denver to Glenwood Springs by 175 miles.
1941: D&RGW acquired first diesel-electric locomotives.
1942: Treasury Mountain RR line dismantled.
1943: Crystal River RR & Crystal River & San Juan RR dismantled,

Marble to Carbondale.
1949:  A new deluxe train, the "California Flyer" replaced the

"Exposition Flyer" on the D&RGW.
1952: Rio Grande Southern sold by D&RGW, and dismantled.
1956: Narrow-gauge steam operations ended on D&RGW.
1969: Passenger traffic ended over Tennessee Pass on the D&RGW.
1983: April 24, D&RGW's "Rio Grande Zephyr" made its last run through

Glenwood; in July, Amtrak's "California Zephyr" began running through Glenwood..

1984: Rio Grande (D&RGW) sold to Philip F. Anschutz of Denver.
1988: Rio Grande combined with Southern Pacific.
1995: Anschutz sold Southern Pacific to Union Pacific.
2003: Glenwood Railroad Museum opened.

2004: Glenwood Springs Railroad Depot celebrates its 100th birthday.

Below is an event timeline of the seven railroads operated in this area and Colorado.

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