Railroads in the West

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Railroads in the West

All photos included here are in the Public Domain in the United States of America unless noted otherwise. Western photographers are noted in the Players (if I have a workable date for them) [LOC = Library of Congress]. Nothing in the way of enhancement has been done to these photographs they are as originally produced.

The Meeting of the Rails! [1869]Promontory Summit, UT
Photo: U.S. PD LOC

see also:
Wk. 44, 11/02/1863 – Theodore D. Judah
Wk. 26, 07/01/1862 – The Pacific Railway Act
Wk. 19, 05/10/1869 – Promontory Summit, UT
Wk. 01, 01/05/1904 – George Francis Train
Wk. 26, 06/30/1942 – William Henry Jackson


Elk Canyon
Photo: U.S. PD, – Grabill, LOC


Passenger Train
Photo: U.S. PD, Grabill, LOC


This well preserved standard gauge railroad car is part of a mated group of three, in Nederland, CO, placed by Jimmy and Charlotte Kieth sometime in the late 1960’s or early 70’s. The Keith’s were buyers, sellers and traders of all sorts of railroad memorabilia at the time. Last time I went by, two of the cars were occupied by businesses; the Cody car is gutted and has always been empty. I have no idea who owns them today. At one time, the Keith’s also owned the Pullman built custom business car which had belonged to Baby Doe Tabor and was used in the Paramount Pictures 1965 movie Cat Ballou.   If I can find my photos of that car I will post them here as well. Photos and Collage © 2010 & 2011 OWDR & R.W. “Doc” Boyle.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Performer PhotosBuffalo Bill
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West
Rodeos and Wild West ShowsBuffalo Bill


1873 – The Kansas Pacific Railroad
tells the populace that there are “Free Homes”
in the the West where the buffalo roam.
Photo: U.S. PD 2007


Colorado Midland Railway: 1883 – 1918

OWDR Colorado Midland Railway POcd c 1900 Web

Aspen Daily Chronicle 09/29/1890

“A.E. Bull is one of our busy citizens. He runs a barber shop on Sundays
and loads the product of McMurry’s sawmill on the cars week day.
– The Lime Creek Quarry Co. has orders ahead for 5000 bushels of burnt lime.
It keeps the wood contractor (M.D. Waldo) rustling to keep the yawning
furnaces supplied with fuel. – The Frying Pan Valley furnishes an immense amount
of timber. In the aggregate during the year, with eight sawmills manufacturing
a hundred thousand feet of lumber daily, Large quantities of logs are shipped out
for mining timers, besides over six hundred cords of wood used monthly in burning
lime and charcoal. – The lime, lime rock, charcoal, lumber, logs, and building stone
shipped from this section of the country average several hundred cars per month and
forms no small item in freight traffic of the Colorado Midland road. – There will be a
house warming at Galusha’s new boarding house next Friday evening. The Colorado
Midland will make a special rate of one full fare each way from Aspen, Leadville
and New York to parties of one or more who wish to attend the celebration. Prof.
Boyer will lead the string band and Professor Clemmons will furnish the brass.”

w/ thanks to: Colorado Midland Yahoo internet Group via The Roaring Fork Foamer

OWDR Colorado Midlland Railway Wild Flower excursion 1917 WebvPhoto: U.S. PD, 1917, a postcard via Wikipedia


OWDR Sears, Robuck letterhead 1907 Web
OWDR Alvah Curtis Roebuck WebOWDR Richard Warren Sears WebGood mail service and dependable railroads for delivery made for a revolution in the marketing of goods. These fellows were the pioneers. Richard Warren Sears on the left and Alvah Curtis Roebuck on the right; both Photos: U.S. PD. Artwork: Sears, Roebuck Letterhead c. 1907, courtesy The Cooper Collections.  {003 & 001}

Wk. 04, 01/25/1993 – Sears, Roebuck and Company


Water Tank at Sargent, CO (standard gauge)

A typical steam-era, mountain railroad water tank [It’s a big one!] at Sargent. CO. It was on the standard gauge of the D&RGW RR. Among the many problems of mountain railroading is water; in the winter as snow, it blocks the tracks and avalanches take tracks, trains and people away in seconds; in the spring, floods take out roadbeds and bridges. Yet, year round, steam engines demand water, and the harder they work, the more water they need; sometimes in just tens of miles. How much water at eight pounds to the gallon does the locomotive need in the tender to haul up a given grade to the next tank. In the mountains, engineers [both railroad and locomotive] had to think that way. Photo: © 2000 Doc Boyle  {001}

Denver and Rio Grande Narrow Gauge

Here we see narrow gauge K-28 locomotives 473 and 478 {built 1923} leading an excursion at the Hermosa water tank on the Silverton Branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Narrow gauge RR in 1963. Both of these locomotive still operate today on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge RR pulling daily tourist trains on the forty seven mile trip from Durango, CO at 6,512 feet above sea level to Silverton, CO at 9, 305 feet above sea level and return. While not the largest engines on the line, they a certainly larger than those in use in the 1880’s. Photo U.S. PD 06/30/1963 Bill Bogle.   {001}
Wk. 31, 08/05/1881 – Denver and Rio Grande Railway
Wk. 28, 07/10/1882 – Silverton, CO


The Galloping Geese

As the mines were failing for the last time and the railroads were shutting down unprofitable service wherever possible, a number of innovations were tried to maintain service. This unique machine and others following the same idea, made it possible to retain passenger, freight and mail service to mining camps that had become mining towns and some of which were starting the transition to tourist towns. This is Rio Grande Galloping Goose #5, originally built on a 1928 Pierce-Arrow limousine, entering service 06/08/1933 and ran with a 1947 re-build, into the current configuration, until 1953 when it went on static display in Dolores, CO. Nicely re-built in 1998, it occasionally runs as a guest on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Photo: © 2000 Doc Boyle  {001}


Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge RR

The smallest of the Colorado mountain tourist railroads, this is the two foot gauge,
Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad at Cripple Creek, CO [1967 to present].
Today it runs a four mile round trip to near the abandoned Anaconda mining camp.
The locomotive in the photo is #2,  a 0-4-0 Henschel built in 1936 {in Germany}.
Photo: © 2000 Doc Boyle


 Crush, TX – 1896

This is #999 [green], facing off # 1001 [red] at “Crush”, TX; each with six cars in tow,
just before they were each backed off a mile and then brought together at a combined speed of 90 MPH.

Wk. 37, 09/15/1896 – Crush TX


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb<br /> /a/a9/1894_Rock_Island_railroad_wreck_crash_site%2C_Mar_2012.jpg/640px-1894_Rock_Island_railroad_wreck_crash_site%2C_Mar_2012.jpg Here is another intentional wreck.
But this time the crowd didn’t gather in advance and the cost was much higher.

Wk. 32, 08/09/1894 – The Wreck


Some Western Railroads

Atchinson, Topeka & Santa Fe RR (AT&SF)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
Doc Holliday rode these trains.
PLAYERS -numerous entries

Borate and Daggett Railroad (B&DR)  (CA 1897 – 1907)
narrow gauge – 3′ ft. (914 mm)
Approximately 11 miles from Daggett, CA to the mining camp of Borate three miles to the east of Calico, CA.
Borax, some lumber and tourism.
When it dissolved, pieces, parts went to the Tonopah & Tidewater RR, the Death Valley RR, the Nevada Short Line and others.

Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway (BBB&C) (TX – 1853 – 1868)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
In the early days, also called the Harrisburg Railroad. The line failed during the financial collapse of Texas during Reconstruction. Owners changed (1868), and it became the Galveston, Harrisburg, & San Antonio Railroad (GHSA). This early line became the oldest component of the Southern Pacific system.
Wk. 06, 02/11/1850

Bullfrog Goldfield RR (BG) (NV 1905 – 1918)

Central Pacific RR (CP)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy (CB&Q)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)


Colorado Midland RR (CM) CO – 1883 to 1918)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
The Colorado Midland Railway operated between It ran from Colorado Springs to Leadville to Hagerman Pass to Aspen and Grand Junction and west of Glenwood Springs to New Castle. 1st std gauge RR over the Continental Divide in Colorado.

Cripple Creek & Victor RR (CC&V)
narrow gauge – 2′ ft. – mining – today, tourists
(see: – Railroads, above)

Cumbres & Toltec Scenic RR (C&TS)
narrow gauge – 3′ ft. (914 mm)
Rio Grande Narrow Gauge
Railroads – above

Death Valley RR (DVR) (CA 1914-15 – 1931)
narrow gauge – 3′ ft – Borax
Ryan, CA & Death Valley Junction, CA


Photo: U.S. PD 2014 Doc Boyle

Denver & Rio Grande Western RR (D&RGW)
narrow gauge – 3′ ft. (914 mm)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
PLAYERS -numerous entries
Railroads, above

Great Northern RR (GN)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
A “colonial car” provider for the emigrants.*
References – Dictionarycolonial car
PLAYERS -numerous entries

Missouri-Kansas-Texas RR (MKT) but always called “The KATY”
standard gauge
Doc Holliday rode these trains.


Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad (LV&T) (NV c. 1906)

OWDR Salt Lake Route LogoLos Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad ( CA to UT 1905 – 1921)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
absorbed by UP


Nevada Short Line Railway (Silver Belt Railroad) (NV 1913 – 1918)
Silver mining

Los Angeles Terminal Railway (CA – end 1900)

Missouri Pacific RR (MP)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)


Oregon Short Line RR (a UP subsidiary)

Rock Island RR (RI)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)


San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad: (see: Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad)

Sierra Valley & Mohawk Railway (CA – 1895 – 1916)
narrow gauge – 3′ ft.
The Originals – Landmarks and RegistersBeckwourth Pass

Southern Pacific RR (SP)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
PLAYERSSouthern Pacific RR – numerous entries
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Chris Evans Gang Timeline

Texas & Pacific RR
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)


Tonopah & Tidewater RR  (T&T) (NV 1906 – 1940)
Borax mining


Photo: U.S. PD 2014
Doc Boyle

Union Pacific RR (UP)
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
PLAYERS -numerous entries

United States Potash Railroad (CA 1931 – 1967)

Utah Southern Railroad Extension (a UP subsidiary)

Virginia & Truckee RR
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)?


Western Pacific Railroad
standard gauge – 4′ 8 1/2″ (1,435 mm)
Feather River Route, CA
The Originals – Landmarks and RegistersBeckwourth Pass

Wyoming Railway and Iron Company (1890) founded by Charles A. Guernsey (Guernsey, WY )
Founded the to exploit iron mining in the area.
By 1898, the Colorado Fuel and Iron company (CF&I) had began leasing mining rights in the area, to improve its iron supply. In 1904, they purchased the entire Sunrise Mine. CF&I hoped to make Sunrise a model company town. Company-owned houses, boarding houses, depots, a school, churches, shops, and other structures were built during the early 1900’s. 1910 into the 1920’s, partly in response to the Ludlow Massacre, further improvements came in the form of brick housing, better utility systems, a hospital, a YMCA building, a playground, parks and other improvements. The mine employed 547 people by 1928.
Initially, Sunrise was a originally strip mine, then a glory hole. In 1930, the mine began underground block caving, but by World War II, all mining was underground. Ore was partially processed on site and then sent CF &I mills in Pueblo, CO.

Yard Men at Smithville, TX (1910) Railroad Hijinks - Railroads in the West

Yard Men at Smithville, TX (1910)


I’m a bit of a foamer myself so I work on this section now and then.
Always glad to have your old time RR photos!
Please tell me as much as you know about what you send. – Doc

barbed wire divider - Railroads in the WestEnd: Railroads in the West

{001} E 00/00: F 00/00; P 00/00

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