The trains of Colorado (Part B)
The tour of Colorado train museums continues
The Marcia car was named after David Moffat's daughter. — Photo courtesy Moffat Railroad Museum
We have now taken you to the railroad museums and railways in the central part of the centennial state, travelling from Greeley in the north to Antonio all the way in the south. Now it is time to take your RV and follow us to the western part of the state to see what is on offer. All aboard!
Our first stop is in Craig on US 40 at the Museum of Northwest Colorado. On display is the Moffat Road collection, originally assembled by an individual collector and now owned by the museum. David Moffat and others began construction of the Denver & Northwest Railroad in 1903 but the railroad went bankrupt in 1913. The line only went from Denver to Craig.
On display in the city park is Mr. Moffat’s private business car, fully restored to its original splendor. This car, called The Marcia, is named after his daughter and tours are available. Also on display are many pieces of railroad memorabilia.
Heading south on CO13 brings us to I-70 and Glenwood Springs, the home of the Glenwood Railroad Museum. Here, in the east wing of the historic railroad station, is a large scale model railroad with Rio Grande steam and diesel powered trains. A 7.5-inch gauge live steam locomotive, a Rio Grande rail motor car and various types of signaling apparatus are displayed in an adjacent wing. The museum also contains 100 books and over 60 videos on railroading.
Traveling south to Gunnison on CO133 and then east on US50 brings us to Gunnison and the Gunnison Pioneer and Train Museum. The museum contains the Denver & Rio Grande narrow gauge Cinderella of the Rockies train, along with 72 antique cars. The railroad originally came over Marshall Pass to Gunnison in 1881.
The museum’s narrow gauge train consists of Durango & Rio Grande Engine # 268, a flanger, gondola car, boxcar, livestock car and a caboose, along with a historic railroad depot and water tower. The engine is in mint condition and the remainder of the rolling stock is on display in the rail yard under the water tower.
Heading west on US50 and then south on US550 takes us to Ridgeway and the Ridgeway Railroad Museum. Ridgeway is known as the birthplace of the Rio Grande & Southern Railroad and the museum is dedicated to preserving the history of railroading in Ouray County. On display here is the Galloping Ghost # 4n Motor # 1 and Durango & Rio Grande Western Caboose # 0575 along with other pieces of rolling stock.
The last stop
Our last stop is reached by going south on US550 to Durango and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum. The museum contains many pieces of rolling stock and an 800-square-foot HO and HOn3 scale model railroad. Durango was founded in 1879 and the railroad arrived two years later.
Construction of the line to Silverton began later that year also, with the aim to haul gold and silver from the San Juan Mountains. Over the years, passengers soon realized that the views were even more precious than the cargo. The line has now been in operation for 130 years, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock. A train ride here is a restful and enjoyable way to end your journey. The ride takes seven hours to make a round trip in the winter and nine hours in the summertime.
This concludes our journey through the western part of Colorado. We hope you have enjoyed the trip. Our next article will cover railroad museums in western Canada.
Museum of Northwest Colorado
590 Yampa Avenue
Craig, CO 81625
Open Mon-Fri 9am to 5pm
Open Sat 10am to 4pm
Free to all visitors
Gunnison Pioneer & Train Museum
803 East Tomichi Avenue
Gunnison, CO 81230
Open May 30-Sept 30
$3 Children ages 6-12
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum
479 Main Avenue
Durango, CO 81301
Durango Open Winter 1pm-4pm
Durango Open 7am-7pm
Silverton Open 10:30am til last train
No charge to visit the museum; call museum for train ride fares.
Glenwood Railroad Museum
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
Open Fri/Sat/Sun 12noon-4pm
Children under 12 Free
Ridgeway Railroad Museum
150 Racecourse Road
Ridgeway, CO 81432
Open Jan1-Sept 30 9am-4pm
Open Oct 1-May 31 10am-3pm Mon-Fri
Free to all visitors
We have always considered ourselves sojourners. Webster defines the word as “one who travels from place to place, staying only for a short time.” That definition fits us to a T, for as full-time RVers who serve as volunteers at state parks and national wildlife refuges, we never stay in one place for more than a few months. We started our volunteer lifestyle in mid-2000 and we have served at several parks and refuges throughout the U.S. The following articles are based on our adventures.» View all RV Sojourners columns