is today known as the Georgetown Loop Railroad (reporting marks, GLRX) was initially
constructed as a subsidiary of the Union Pacific and dated back to the
Colorado & Clear Creek Railroad of February, 1865. Meant to serve
the region's silver mining industry (much like the Denver & Rio
Grande Western's lines to the south), this narrow-gauge line was renamed
the Colorado Central Railway in January, 1868 and by August, 1877 it
had opened its main line between Denver and Georgetown. However, after
Union Pacific fell into bankruptcy in 1893 its mine branches were picked up by the Colorado & Southern Railway’s subsidiary, the Colorado Central Railroad.
While the railroad continued to operate as a functioning freight
railroad under the C&S, by the 1930s all of the mines and freight
traffic between Georgetown and Silver Plume had dried up in 1938 most
were abandoned and scrapped (during peak operations before the Sherman
Act of 1893 the C&S operated narrow-gauge mine branches reaching
Como, Leadville, and Gunnison). However, the railroad proved to be a
scrappy survivor and in the late 1950s efforts were in place to restore
the entire railroad and its engineering marvels.
|An interior view of a beautifully restored parlor car at the Georgetown Loop Railroad, one of two the line owns.|
Despite the fact that the narrow gauge lines in the region had long
since been torn up, in 1959 the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining &
Railroad Park was created by the Colorado Historical Society with the
hopes of eventually returning trains to part of the original
right-of-way. After successfully receiving donations
of land, old mining claims, and buildings along with used ties and
tracks provide by Union Pacific the society began reconstruction of part
of the line east of Georgetown in 1973. The Georgetown Loop Railroad
opened to the public on March 10, 1984, after three miles of line had
been rebuilt including the famed loop and High Bridge. For power the Georgetown Loop Railroad currently employs two
diesels and one steam locomotive. More information about their
locomotives can be found below:
· #12 – An ex-Kahului Railroad Baldwin Locomotive Works 2-6-2 Prairie steam locomotive.
· #21 – An ex-Rocky Mountain Steel Mills General Electric 44-ton diesel switcher.
· #1203 - A 75-ton Porter diesel locomotive, newly acquired in the spring of 2008.
Today, the railroad operates in a very similar fashion to the famed Durango & Silverton and Cumbres & Toltec Scenic excursion trains
located to the south on the Rio Grande's former mining branches. It
truly is amazing how many historic and breathtaking tourist trains
operate in the state of Colorado today as you have your choice of
several to ride. While the Georgetown Loop does not offer as many miles
to ride as either the D&SNG or the C&TS it includes everything
else, outstanding views and historic steam locomotives. Today, they
host a season that runs between late May through October as well as
several dinner trains, holiday specials, and charters.
Along with the Georgetown Loop Railroad’s motive power they also have several cars (from coaches
to open gondolas) either in use or on display (several of which are
either of Denver & Rio Grande Western or Colorado & Southern
lineage). All in all, a trip aboard the railroad to see the beautiful
scenery and magnificent engineering feats of this little 4-mile railroad
is well worth the time and drive to Georgetown, Colorado.
Thanks to Shane Schabow for help with the information this page.
|Another view of 2-6-2 #12 as it leads an excursion over the famous Devil's Gate High Bridge on May 26, 2012. This narrow-gauge Prairie was built for the Kahului Railroad in 1928 by Baldwin and now operates on the Midwest Central Railroad in Iowa.|
If you are perhaps interested in riding aboard the Georgetown Loop Railroad or would like to learn more about it please click here to visit their website. There you can learn more about everything they currently offer as well as information about pricing and what you do around the area. If you would like to learn a little more history about the Colorado & Southern please click here. For more information about excursion trains like the Georgetown Loop Railroad you might want to consider the book Tourist Trains Guidebook, which is put together by the editors of Kalmbach Publishing's Trains