Colorado's rail operations have known mostly for three things; flat
plains, the Rocky Mountains, and narrow-gauge lines. All three still
hold true today although the services you can find amongst the state's
excursion trains vary quite a bit. While the D&SNG and C&TS
focus on their incredible scenery and historic steam locomotives used to
pull their trains other Colorado train rides like the Royal Gorge Route
and Rio Grande Scenic offer wonderful views as well as fine
accommodations and dining services. So, depending on what you may be
interested in and the budget you may have, the state definitely offers a
wide array of excursion train options.
Boardwalk Park Museum
This museum is part of the town of Windsor's historical exhibits related to the area's history. Part of their collection includes a preserved/restored Greeley, Salt Lake & Pacific (Colorado & Southern) wooden depot built in 1882, a caboose, and other railroad exhibits to view.
Castle Rock Museum
The Castle Rock Museum is operated by the Castle Rock Historical Society, utilizing the town's preserved and restored Denver & Rio Grande depot built in 1875. There are exhibits on display and admission is free of charge.
Colorado Railroad Museum
The Colorado Railroad Museum, based in Golden, houses a large collection of rolling stock and locomotives. They also host train rides during the weekends and other special events.
Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
The Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad, based in Cripple Creek, Colorado is another of the state's many narrow-gauge tourist railroads (it's gauge is two feet). The little railroad has been in operation since the summer of 1967 and since that time has become a popular operation, running trains on four miles of ex-mining trackage. Of course, the railroad is only one attraction in the town of Cripple Creek, which is itself a popular tourist attraction.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad
The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad is another famous narrow-gauge tourist railroad in southwest Colorado and northwest New Mexico, like the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad (except that it operates entirely in Colorado). The C&T is quite similar to the D&S in many ways, including the use of famous narrow-gauge steam locomotives that are native to the line (which were originally owned by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad). Also like the D&S, the C&T operates through the gorgeous canyons and mountains located in the region. So, if you are ever in southwest Colorado I would strongly consider stopping by to see this historic and super scenic tourist railroad! Even better, if you time, also stop by and see the nearby Durango & Silverton.
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
One of the premier tourist trains you will found anywhere in
the country, the Durango & Silverton operates on the fabled narrow
gauge lines of the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad in
the beautiful rugged regions of southern Colorado, still using the same
steam locomotives that operated under the D&RGW. The railroad also
hosts special events and trains throughout the operating season that
include lunches and barbecues.
Forney Museum Of Transportation
This organization is located along Brighton Boulevard in Denver with more than 600 transpiration-related artifacts in their collection. Their priced piece from the railroad industry is Union Pacific 4-8-8-4 "Big Boy" #4005 on display.
Fort Collins Municipal Railway
Based in Fort Collins, Colorado this tourist train operates on 1
1/2-mile stretch of former interurban trackage using a restored Birney
Safety Car #21. They normally operate on weekends and host special
excursions throughout the year.
Galloping Goose #5
This uniquely restored, historic rail car was returned to operating condition in 1998. It now offers rides on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and Durango & Silverton during different times of the year.
Georgetown Loop Railroad
The narrow-gauge Georgetown Loop Railroad is a short, but very
popular and scenic tourist railroad located in Georgetown, Colorado and
operated by the Colorado
Historical Society as the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining &
Railroad Park. The scenic line dates as far back as 1881 (as the
Georgetown, Breckenridge & Leadville Railroad, originally a Union
Pacific subsidiary) when it was chartered to serve thriving silver mines
near Georgetown and Silver Plume.
Hugo Roundhouse Preservation, Inc.
This group's goal is to preserve and restore the Union Pacific's former roundhouse in Hugo, Colorado. They eventually plan to open a museum on the grounds.
Limon Heritage Museum & Railroad Park
Located in the town of Limon this museum is housed within the preserved Rock Island and Union Pacific union depot built in 1910. They feature several displays along with a few pieces of original rolling stock.
Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad
The Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad is another of
many tourist railroads and just like the others operates through the
spectacular Rocky Mountain Range, departing each trip from the historic
mining town of Leadville at the former Colorado & Southern restored
depot. The railroad's primary power is a GP9 #1714 painted in LC&S
Manitou & Pike’s Peak Railway
This cog railway operates up Colorado's Pike's Peak, along a line that covers nearly nine miles and lasts over three hours. While this isn't a traditional tourist train it's tough to find one that affords such spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside.
Museum of Northwest Colorado
This museum is based in Craig and as its name suggests focuses on the history of northwest Colorado. Their railroad collection includes a small model layout of David Moffat's Denver & Salt Lake Railroad, which later became part of the Rio Grande, as well as his private business car, named after his daughter, Marcia. It has been beautifully restored and is available for tours.
Platte Valley Trolley
The Platte Valley Trolley operates from mid-April through the end of October every weekend using trolley cars along a route that allows for about a 25-minute ride.
Pueblo Railway Museum
The Pueblo Railway Museum is based in Pueblo, Colorado and one of the state's growing such facilities. Its home is next to the beautifully restored Pueblo Union Depot, a large three-story structure. The museum's primary displays are featured outdoors on its storage tracks and range from steam locomotives to historic freight and passenger cars.
Ridgway Railroad Museum
The Ridgway Railroad Museum based in Ridgway, Colorado has the main goal of preserving railroads which served Ouray County. Along with its large collection of mostly narrow-gauge equipment the museum also offers excursion train rides on its grounds.
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad
The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad is a new tourist railroad based in Alamosa, Colorado that has been operating only since 2006. The railroad operates exclusively over ex-Rio Grande trackage (as you may have guessed from the name) and connects with the popular narrow-gauge tourist line, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic at its southern terminus of Chama, New Mexico.
Royal Gorge Route Railroad
The Royal Gorge Route Railroad is another tourist railroad that
operates part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western’s super-scenic
trackage in Colorado. Also close to other very popular lines like the
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic, and Durango
& Silverton the Royal Gorge Route operates 24 miles of the Rio
Grande’s famous line, the "Royal George Route" (as you may have guessed,
this is where the railroad derives its name), departing daily from Canyon
City, Colorado (it should be noted that the railroad is one of the few
tourist lines to operate year-round).
Tiny Town Railroad
The Tiny Town is located in Morrison offering scale-train rides using authentic, miniature steam locomotives. Their excursions are offered daily between June, July, and August and run during the weekends from September through May.
Related Reading You May Enjoy
Tourist Train Information