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Rio Grande Timetables (1940 and 1952)


Published: February 26, 2024

By: Adam Burns

Presented below is the Rio Grande's 1940 and 1952 public timetables; the former when the railroad still operated the Chili Line and the latter following the California Zephyr's launch.

The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW) was a pioneering train line established in 1870. It was pivotal in connecting Denver, Colorado with the Rio Grande River in New Mexico, thereby providing a major trade route.

Known for its unique track of narrow gauge, this railroad company has had significant historical impact. However, during the latter 19th century standard gauge began replacing the original 3-foot network, essential for extensive freight traffic.

The Rio Grande traversed through the challenging Rocky Mountain terrain, stimulating mining and settlement in those regions. It had crucial economic importance in transporting coal, minerals, food, and livestock. It eventually extended its line to Ogden, Utah, connecting it to the Pacific rail network.

The 1893 economic depression fundamentally altered D&RGW's fortunes, leading to its merging with the Rio Grande Western Railway in 1908. The 1980s and 90s saw D&RGW merging with larger rail companies, including Southern Pacific, finally becoming part of the Union Pacific in 1996.

Despite financial struggles and tough competition, the resilient D&RGW maintained its operations for over a century; its legacy now preserved in historic sites, museums, and operated heritage railways like the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad. Its dramatic mountain routes continue to draw tourists and historians, fascinated by this robust symbol of West American rail history.

Public Timetables (March, 1940)


Public Timetables (August, 1952)



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