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Going to Denver Part 2 7/6/2016

by Chris Guenzler

Robin and I arrived at the Royal Gorge Park and parked the car.

The Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. It spans 1,260 feet from rim to rim of the Royal Gorge, suspending 956 above the Arkansas River. A team of about 80 hardy men braved the heights and built the Royal Gorge Bridge, beginning June 5th, 1929. In just seven months, the men finished this engineering feat. The Royal Gorge Bridge opened to visitors for the first time on December 8th, 1929.

The story of building the Royal Gorge Bridge is one of American ingenuity, hard work and solid engineering. The vision of a bridge spanning rim to rim over the Royal Gorge was dreamed by Lon Piper, a businessman and bridge builder from San Antonio, Texas, when he visited the Royal Gorge in 1928. Lon Piper imagined the bridge to give anyone who crosses it the chance to see the stunning scenery of the Royal Gorge Region.

Engineer George E. Cole worked many times with Lon Piper and became Chief Engineer and General Superintendent for what would be the world’s highest suspension bridge for more than seven decades. As of 2022, the Royal Gorge Bridge remains the highest suspension bridge in the United States and among the 25 highest bridges in the world. It is dubbed as "America's Bridge" to recognize the spirited band of American workers and the timeless enjoyment millions of people experience while standing on the wooden deck suspended high above the ground.

Above the Royal Gorge is where a steam engine is on display.

Rio Grande K-37 499 built by Baldwin in 1930. It was retired in the 1960's then spent over ten years on the deadline at the Alamosa roundhouse. In 1981, the steam engine was sold to the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and was moved for display at Durango in 1985. In 1999, it was traded to the Royal Gorge Park for their K-36 486. It was damaged in a 2013 fire.

We walked to the Information Desk, picked up our tickets and walked out onto the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge.

Here are the views from the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. Now you know me well enough that I would time my visit with the passing of a Royal Gorge Railroad train running through the gorge. Sit back and enjoy the pictures of the train running west through the Royal Gorge.

There you have it, a Royal Gorge Railroad train running through the Royal Gorge from the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge.

Here is Robin Bowers making his first trip onto the Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge. We walked back to the car and drove to Canon City.

The Royal Gorge Railroad display in Canon City.

Royal Gorge Railroad F7A 402, nee Chicago and North Western 4075A built by Electro-Motive Division in 1949.

West Side Lumber 3 truck shay 8 built by Lima in 1922 as Hetch-Hetchy & Yosemite Valley Railway Company 8 at Tuolumne, California. In a 1925 corporate sale, it became Pickering Lumber Company 8, then in a 1934 corporate sale, West Side Lumber Company 8. Yet another corporate sale in 1958 made it Pickering Lumber Corporation (WSL 8). It was then sold in 1966 to Malarkey Wall at Banks, Oregon, was moved to Gales Creek, Oregon and in 1977, was leased to the Colorado Central Narrow Gauge Railroad in Silver Plume, Colorado and operated on the Georgetown Loop. In 2004, it moved to Georgetown for display and four years later, was relocated to the Royal Gorge Route Railroad. It had recently been sold to the Moffat Road Railroad Museum in Granby.

The Santa Fe station in Canon City built in 1914.

One last view of Canon City. We next drove to Pueblo and went to the Pueblo Railroad Museum.

Pueblo Railroad Museum 7/6/2016

Department of Transportation U30C 001, built by General Electric in 1971. I went looking for someone.

Santa Fe 4-8-4 2912, built by Baldwin in 1929. This was one of the last Santa Fe 4-8-4s shopped at the company's Albuquerque Shops before they were closed in March 1954. The locomotive hauled the last Santa Fe steam freight into Clovis, New Mexico from Slaton, New Mexico on the morning of August 4, 1954.

BNSF freight train in the BNSF Pueblo Yard.

Colorado Fuel and Iron 44 ton switcher 11 built by General Electric in 1947 is owned by the Canon City & Royal George Scenic Railway. Colorado Fuel & Iron, later part of Oregon Steel Mills had its main steel mill on the south side of Pueblo and was the city's main industry for much of its history.

I called the person I had spoken to and he told me how to get to the shop. The bad news was that the locomotive they were going to use had dead batteries. My bad luck here strikes again but it did not bother me.

United States Department of Transportation Urban Tracked Air Cushion Vehicle built by Rohr in 1974.

Federal Railroad Administration Tracked Air Cushion Research Vehicle built by Grumann in 1972.

Trackmobile. From here we went into the shop building.

Colorado & Wyoming Railroad GP9 102 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951.

Colorado & Southern caboose 10538 built by the railroad in 1910.

Steel Town Trolley 1245 built by Atelliers Metallurgiques de Nivelles in 1938, as Societe des Transports Intercommunaux de Burxelles 1611. It was sold as GCR 1245 in 1984 and later sold to the Pueblo Railway Foundation.

Freshly painted steam engine parts.

Freshly painted drivers.

Missouri Pacific caboose 123-4 built by the railroad in 1951 as 1234.

United States Department of Transportation Linear Induction Motor Research Vehicle built by Garrett Research in 1972.

Denver and Rio Grande Western caboose 01432 built by the railroad in 1944.

Colorado & Wyoming Railroad GP9 104 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951.

BN tool car 950749 converted from a 40 foot box car.

Colorado & Wyoming Railroad GP9 103 built by Electro-Motive Division in 1951.

Signal parts.

Crossing signals.

Shop view.

Morrison Knudsen 44 ton switcher 84 built by General Electric in 1947, as Fibreboard Corporation 1. It was sold as Morrison Knudsen 84 and resold as Broderick Wood Products Corporation with no number then sold as Koppers Corporation, no number, in 1983.

From here we headed north towards Denver, catching up to an empty BNSF coal train and once we got ahead of it, exited at Pinon.

BNSF 6009 West which was Robin's first Joint Line train. We made our way to Colorado Springs.

Santa Fe/Colorado Southern freight house built in 1918.

The Santa Fe Colorado Springs station built in 1918.

EAS box cars. We drove to our next station.

The Rio Grande Colorado Springs station built in 1877.

Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway 0-4-2 cog 5 built by Baldwin in 1901. The 8.9 mile standard gauge line to Pike's Peak was built as a tourist-only line beginning in 1889, with a limited service to the Halfway House Hotel completed by 1890, and the 14,110 foot summit was reached the following year. The Manitou Incline was built in 1907 to construct city water lines and a hydro-electric plant, after which, the M&PP took it over as a funicular incline.

From here we drove to Denver via Palmer Lake, fought the traffic into Denver and finally reached the Clarion Inn for this night.