SOUTH PARK & Pacific Railroad
This page contains a brief history
route map. Other pages contain rolling stock rosters and histories,
plans and drawings, and representative photos of prototype
and model locomotives and rolling stock. See "Site Navigation" at
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Twenty seven more passenger
cars (including baggage, mail, and combines) and six Pullman
sleepers arrived between 1879 and 1884. Several hundred freight
cars, mostly 26 to 27 foot, 10 to 14 ton capacity, were delivered
between 1880 and 1884. Some 1883 and 1884 cars had a
During 1883 and 1884, a
large group of Brooks and Cooke 2-6-0 Moguls and 2-8-0
Consolidations joined the fleet, bringing the locomotive roster to
74 at the time of the UP takeover in 1885. Many of these survived
to become C&S locomotives in 1899. Only one of the Mason Bogies
made it into the C&S era.
In 1885, the Union
Pacific Railroad purchased a majority interest in the DSP&P,
resulting in a re-numbering of all locomotives and rolling stock to
match the UP family system. The DSP&P was reorganized
in 1889 by UP as the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Railroad.
1894, the DL&G went into receivership and successfully emerged in
1899 as a profitable enterprise. The Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railroad,
previously the Colorado Central, running over the Georgetown Loop to
Silver Plume, also came out of receivership in late 1898. The DL&G and UPD&G were then merged to
become the Colorado and Southern Railway.
The UP mismanagement was
now gone and the C&S was profitable, at least for a while. The
C&S re-numbered all locomotives and rolling stock in 1899 and again
in 1911 -- some cars carried four different road
numbers in their relatively short lifespans.
Today, that section of the old DSP&P Highline between Leadville and Climax is operated as a standard gauge tourist railroad, called the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad.
From Como, the mainline traversed South Park to Garos, where a spur went northward to Fairplay and Alma (also known as London Mills).
The mainline continued
south from Garos, over Trout Creek Pass to Schwanders where a small spur connected to Buena Vista.
Back at Como, the principal branch line,
known as the Highline,
went north over Boreas Pass to Breckenridge, Dillon,
and Keystone, then turned south to Frisco, Climax, and finally Leadville at milepost 151.3.
It crossed the Continental Divide twice, once northbound over Boreas
Pass en route to Breckenridge and again southbound on Freemont Pass
en route to Climax and Leadville.
From 1874 until 1878, the company progressed slowly on its mainline, using a series of different construction companies as it struggled to remain solvent. The tracks finally reached the mouth of the Platte Canyon on 04 May 1878, 20 miles from Denver, and by 02 June 1878, the tracks reached 12 miles up the canyon. The tracks reached Buffalo Creek on 17 June 1878. The following year, on 19 May 1879, the tracks reached to the summit of Kenosha Pass and on 27 June 1879 they reached Como.
In November 1879, with the tracks only as far as South Park, the company contracted for the initial construction of the Alpine Tunnel, with an expected completion date of 01 July 1880. The following month, the tracks reached to the summit of Trout Creek Pass. That same year, work began on the branch line, the "High Line", to Leadville, and on 02 July 1880, the first train arrived in Leadville.
The Alpine Tunnel broke through on 26 July 1881, a full year later than planned. The mainline reached Gunnison the following year in 1882.
The Colorado and Southern started dismantling in 1910, with the closure of the Alpine Tunnel. In 1930, the C&S attempted to shut down the mainline through the Platte Canyon, due to a decrease in revenue and traffic. The last freight and passenger trains between Denver and Leadville operated in April 1937, and on 10 April 1937, the South Park Line officially closed. The last regular freight train operated between Denver and Como on 25 April 1937.
The last narrow gauge section, between Leadville and Climax, was converted to standard gauge on 25 August 1943, connecting a number of mines to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, the then owners of the C&S.