Georgetown Loop Railroad

admin November 1, 2010 0

This is a narrow gauge heritage railroad located in Clear Creek, Colorado.  The train operates in the summer time for tourists.  The tourists are taken between Georgetown and Silver Plume, which is a distance of two miles.  The railroad route is four point five miles long and ascends an elevation of six hundred forty feet.  It goes through a mountainous terrain along with cuts, fills, trestles, and switchback loops.

Colorado’s first visitor attraction is the Georgetown Loop Railroad.  In 1884, this spectacular stretch of narrow gauge of railroad was completed.  It was considered an engineering marvel for its time.  The thriving mining towns of Silver Plume and Georgetown were two miles apart.  They were in the steep, narrow Clear Creek west of Denver.  The engineers decided to design a corkscrew route that would travel nearly twice that distance to connect them.  By doing this, they gained more than six hundred feet in elevation.

This route included horseshoe curves, grades up to four percent and four bridges across Clear Creek.  One of the bridges was called the Devil’s Gate High Bridge.  The Colorado and Southern Railroad operated the railroad from 1893-1938, and used it for passengers and freight.  The Georgetown Loop was originally part of the larger line of the Colorado Central Railroad, which was constructed in the 1880’s and 1870’s.  The railroad train and track was dismantled.  In the 1980, it was restored as a tourist railroad.  To pull the train, they use historic narrow-gauge steam locomotives.

The Colorado Historical Society formed the Georgetown Loop Historic Mining and Railroad Park in 1959.  It was the centennial year of the discovery of gold in Georgetown.  The chair of the Colorado Historical Society negotiated a donation of mining claims, mills, and nearly one hundred acres of land.  In 1973, the reconstruction of the rail line began with ties and tracks donated by the Union Pacific Railroad.

An optional walking tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine, located at the halfway point on the railroad trip, is offered when you take the train ride.  You can walk five hundred feet into a mine tunnel.  This mine tunnel was bored in 1870 during the silver boom.  The guide will relate the history of the mine and point out rich veins of silver.  The passengers will board the train at the depots located in Silver Plume and Georgetown.  You will not forget this trip.

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