Railroad Glory Days Social Media

Quick Table of Contents

The formative years

Villa Park, my home town

Doctor Geno E. Beery,Villa Park's pioneering woman physician

How I became a lifelong railfan

Father was a man of the automobile age

Grandfather's Watch

Railroad Time

Remembering the Chicago Great Western

Remembering the 'Ror'n' Elgin

Wabash Philo Station Destroyed

Pursuing Remains of the Glory Days

Riding the Electroliner

My first fan-trip

To a locomotive in winter

The boy who would buy a steam locomotive

In search of the eponymous Brewer, Illinois

The last all steam powered mixed train in America

Iron horses put out to pasture

Some thoughts on public travel then and now

Narrow Gauge Mania

D&RGW narrow gauge in the twilight years -- Part I

D&RGW narrow gauge in the twilight years -- Part II

Steam up the Rotary!

A rotary under the sun

Bob Richardson and the founding of the Colorado Railroad Museum

Is this any way to run a railroad museum? Part 1
Colorado Railroad Museum

Is this any way to run a railroad museum? Part 2
Colorado Railroad Museum

The Return of Colorado & Southern Number 9

Was the Georgetown Loop a poor design?

Riding the Sumpter Valley
Three-foot gauge steam in Eastern Oregon

Gold Rush Narrow Gauge
White Pass & Yukon Route

Rio Grande Southern narrow gauge
The spirit of this much loved, southwestern Colorado railway isn't dead, it just retired and moved to Southern California

Steaming Up
Looking on as Denver & Rio Grande Western Number 491 is readied for an evening on the Polar Express.

Narrow Gauge Steam Railways in the Land of their Origin

The Welsh Connection
The Ffestiniog Railway, Robert Fairlie and the origins of narrow gauge railroading in America

The Welsh Highland Railway
The newest and longest narrow gauge in Wales

The Talyllyn Railway
The world's first "preserved railway"

Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway

Standard Gauge Diversions

Royal Gorge Route

Steam Conquers La Veta Pass

Rio Grande Scenic Railroad

Fun while they lasted

Boxcar Camping -- Wilderness Stay by Steam Train

End of an Eastside tradition
Spirit of Washington dinner train

The Engine is Royal; the Scenery is Magnificent
The Royal Hudson and the Caraboo Prospector


Corkscrew Gulch Turntable

The curse of Alpine

Thoughts on the Glory Days of architecture and interior design

Denver's Ghost Buildings

Denver Union Station Renewal

Who were those nabobs, the ones San Francisco's Nob Hill was named for?

Is there grammar to interior design?

The Return of Colorado & Southern Number 9

Historic engine runs again on the Georgetown Loop

Story and all photographs © Glen Brewer

Georgetown, Colorado - For the first time in many years, the canyons west of here echo to the sounds of a genuine Colorado & Southern steam engine. C&S Number 9, a diminutive mogul built by Cooke in 1884, was primarily used in passenger service. It hauled the last passenger train from Leadville to Denver on April 10, 1937. The locomotive was saved to participate in the World's Fair of 1939 and later operated at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948-1949. It then went to the Black Hills Central in South Dakota where it languished until being purchased by the Colorado Historical Society in 1988. Uhrich Locomotive of Strasburg, Colorado restored the engine in time for the 2006 operating season.

Just beyond Georgetown loading area.


It now operates on the Georgetown Loop - also lovingly restored as it was under C&S ownership. Here, above Georgetown, narrow gauge tracks twist and loop along and between mountainsides in an extraordinary effort to carry trains up to Silver Plume.

Number 9 with train on the Devil's Gate Viaduct.


The problem facing construction engineers in 1880 was that while only about two miles apart, Silver Plume is 638 feet higher up in the mountains. To allow trains to run at all, the distances had to be stretched so that the grades could be limited. Union Pacific engineer John Blickensderfer (the line was then under Union Pacific control) laid out two sweeping curves and a loop over the lower track (technically two loops and a spiral). The grade was thus reduced to a barely manageable 3.5% while track miles were increased to 4.5 miles.

Backing to the other end for the trip to Georgetown.


Union Pacific lost control; the tracks became part of the Colorado & Southern narrow gauge. The loop became a huge tourist draw, for a time, with trains operating out of Denver's Union Station where three-rail tracks were once commonplace. But, with the advent of the automobile and good roads as well as the Great Depression, passenger and freight business nearly disappeared.

Not much room in the cab.


All seemed lost, some thought forever, when the tracks were removed in 1939. Even the Devil's Gate Viaduct, the high, iron structure which carried the upper track of the loop 75 feet above the lower track and spanned the canyon from one side to the other, was dismantled for scrap -- but not forever. In 1984, the tracks were back, the iron bridge was restored to operation and steam locomotives were once again pulling tourists over the line.

Looking down from the I-70 scenic overlook -- from here the train is visible for nearly the whole route.


Now for the first time an authentic locomotive is being operated over the restored Loop.

All steamed up and ready to go.


The Loop High Bridge and train in the autum.


More Information

See the Georgetown Loop Railroad's webpage: Georgetown Loop Railroad