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?

Was the Georgetown Loop a poor design?

© Glen Brewer

UP chief engineer, Jacob Blickensderfer, faced with a tough job when he was assigned to extend the narrow gauge Colorado Central from Georgetown to Silver Plume. While the two towns are only about two miles apart, Silver Plume is 638 feet higher up in the Colorado mountains. (The extension was done under a subsidiary name, The Georgetown, Breckenridge and Leadville Railroad).

His answer was the Georgetown Loop. The loop was designed to ease the grade to a still daunting 3.5% (or is it 3% as shown in the figure). The line was completed in 1884. After the UP lost control of all its narrow gauge subsidiaries in Colorado, due to bankruptcy, a new company, the Colorado & Southern, operated the line until 1939.


The Economic Theory of Railway Location by A. M. Wellington, 1889, page 681.

But was the loop a poor choice of design? Arthur M. Wellington seemed to think so. Writing in his book, "The Economic Theory of the Location of Railways", copyright 1889, he wrote that "This is a particularly good example of a location where a judicious system of switchbacks, laid out as suggested in Appendix C, would have been preferable in every way; saving distance, nearly all the curvature, and fully two thirds the cost of construction while giving a decidedly better line to operate."

The Economic Theory of Railway Location by A. M. Wellington, 1889, page 682.

My own thoughts are that Wellington was wrong: The railroad at the time was actually planning to continue to the next big boom town of Leadville, as stated in the corporate name. The railroad might have become a main line. It never did, but it did become a major tourist draw in the days before automobile travel into the rugged mountains. Many excursion trains operated all the way from Denver's Union Station to Silver Plume where the C&S built a pavilion. From there, excursionists could ride up Gray's Peak to the 13,117 foot level on the shay operated Argentine Central Railway. My opinion is that switchbacks likely would have been far cheaper to build, but would have been far more costly and time effort to operate.

More Information

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