Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Georgetown Loop Railroad


I hope everyone had a very happy Easter or Passover holiday! We had beautiful weather and I cooked a big holiday meal, as usual. I have also been very busy with Spring time gardening. My husband and I planted many iris flower bulbs and multiple perennial rhizome roots in our front garden, in hope that in a couple months we will be rewarded with beautiful flowers.  I still have not had time to edit my recent vacation photos in New Orleans, and when l looked at my photo files I realized I never showed a trip we made to the town of Georgetown, Colorado, where we rode for an hour and fifteen minutes on the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad. As you can see by the photo above, the train ride is a very scenic ride through an area of Clear Creek Canyon and over Clear Creek.  Clear Creek brings down melting snow from the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains for sixty six miles, where eventually it joins the South Platte River. (All photos in this post will enlarge when clicked on)


Clear Creek was the location of the most intense early mining activity during the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859.  I took the photograph above, of a vintage photograph on display at the Georgetown Loop Railroad Visitors Center. I thought it showed both the ardor and the harsh conditions with which these early miners worked to fulfill their dreams of striking it rich in a gold or silver discovery. Georgetown earned the nickname "Silver Queen of the Rockies"


As soon as we drove closer to the railroad park we could see the famous 600 feet high Devil's Gate High Bridge that spans Clear Creek Canyon. Completed in 1884, the three foot narrow gauge Georgetown Loop Railroad was considered an engineering marvel for its time, and was one of Colorado's first visitor attractions. In 1973, the Colorado Historical Society began restoring the railroad as part of its 978 acre park.


Click on this photo of a placard in the park of the Georgetown Loop Railroad, to see a diagram that shows how it was built in circular loops, as it rises in height, to reduce a 6 percent grade to a 3 1/2 percent grade.


The beginning of the train ride is fairly level, but soon we would be turning in many loops running over the over the creek and slowly climbing higher.


We chose to sit in the open rail car to get the maximum views.


At one point we passed under the Devil's Gate Bridge, knowing that soon we would be on top of it! You can see a video of us going under the trestle on my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page on this link. As you can hear on the video, the train ride is narrated, and we heard the history and many interesting facts about the area and the railroad.


Climbing higher, we could see a good view of the creek and some of the ubiquitous bicycle riders that are on many Colorado roads.


We also had a good view of this section of Interstate 70 that runs parallel to some of the train track. You can see the slow increase or decrease of the grade ,depending on whether you are traveling west or east.


About midway through the train ride we passed by the Lebanon Silver Mine entrance. You can buy tickets to take an hour long guided tour inside this 1870 sliver mine, where you will travel 500 feet through the mine hsaft to see the veins. of silver and learn about how the mountain was mined.


Many areas along the ride became narrow in width....


...I almost felt like I could reach out and touch the canyon's rocks!


We had a brief stop at the Silver Plume Station. Silver Plume was once another mining town


We finally reached the highest trestle called the Devil's Gate Bridge


We had a good view looking down at Clear Creek.  I took these photos in autumn, but in June the creek will swell to four times this size with the spring snow melt.


The train passes over the bridge slowly for safety sake. You can see a YouTube someone took from a distance of the train going over this bridge.at this link


A photo from 1855 of the original Devil's Gate Bridge taken by Louis Charles McClure. and now in the public domain.  The train narrator told us that the original bridge used to sway quite a bit when the train passed over it!  Thankfully the new bridge, rebuilt in 1984, is much safer and sturdier.


Looking down through the tracks!


In the distance is historic Georgetown.


We are approaching the end of the train ride and the engineer blows the "right of way" pattern on the vintage steam engine train whistle.  To hear it, click on this link for my Mille Fiori Favoriti facebook page.


A good view of the steam engine as we pull in to the station. You can see the Devil's Gate Bridge  bridge in the distance.


On the day of our visit their was a complimentary wiener and brat roast at the visitor's center. It was so nice to sit by the creek and eat our food and try one of the local micro beer brews.  My husband and I really enjoyed our ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad and look forward to taking another ride, and maybe a mine tour, when it re-opens for the season.

Colorado has many historic and scenic trains to ride and we look forward to doing all of them. I also look forward to taking you along, on my blog, the next time!

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44 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Hello Pat, this train ride and the scenery is beautiful. I like seeing the old vintage photos. The men in my family who are trains fanatics would love to go on this ride. Wonderful post and photos. Have a happy week!

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What an amazing post with such beautiful scenery!!
I did not know that you moved from New York....
Thanks so much for stopping by!

Hugs,
Debbie

The Furry Gnome said...

That looping railroad reminds me of the spiral tunnels where the Canadian Pacific Railway goes over Kicking Horse Pass and down the west side of the Rockies.

Felicia said...

Looks like a great scenic ride. I would love this.

Lorrie said...

Gold rush history is so fascinating, as is the railway. I am always amazed at those high trestles, built without a lot of machinery. What a great trip to take!

Daniela said...

I can only imagine how fascinating and emotional this trip of your was, I do always love to come along with you in this sensational State you live in !
Thank you for what you always make me feeel, my sweet Pat, one day or another I HAVE TO COME AND VISIT COLORADO .... and meet you, of course, it would be truly a dream !
Have a joy-filled new week
Sending much love
xoxox
Dany

Ola said...

the views are just amazing!
It must have been a good adventure to remember:)

Gracie said...

I felt like I was in the old wild west....thanks for bringing me along...

Nancy's Notes said...

Pat, what a trip! Your photographs are just amazing, thank you for taking us along on your magnificent trip!

Have a glorious week!
Nancy

Cheryl @ TFD said...

I love seeing your wonderful Colorado trips, Pat! It's such beautiful country and such interesting history there, too. I can't imagine the back-breaking work it must have been to erect a bridge such as that in 1855 without all the modern equipment we have today. Or getting the railroad tracks laid. It's amazing the things that were done back then. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos and trip with us!

SmilingSally said...

Hi Pat,

You went on an adventure! In my opinion, that's the BEST thing about moving! Thanks for playing today.

Happy Blue Monday!

ladyfi said...

What a great tour with some amazing scenery.

jeannettestgermain said...

Very interesting, Pat. I live in the Californian gold rush area, which was 10 years earlier. It seems the gold rush brought us railroads! Here, I don't know if they still run a train...Love these pics.

Linda W. said...

What a fabulous way to enjoy the mountain scenery! Your photos are fantastic. Thanks for taking us along on your ride.

Annesphamily said...

I sure love my state! My oldest daughter once traveled 1,000 feet underground to visit the Molly Kathleen mine in Cripple Creek! Those mines have such a history. My mother lost her father and her older brother when she was just 13 in the gold mines of Cripple Creek/Victor, Colorado. There is a lot of great things to do with lots of outdoor activities here. Thanks for sharing and have a beautiful week. Hugs, Anne

Snap said...

Fun post, Pat. I love all the old trains in Colorado and New Mexico ... the chug, chug, chug! And the beautiful scenery!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

I've always been fascinated by the Gold Rush days. This must have been a spectacular ride.
Sam

carol l mckenna said...

Fascinating post and gorgeous photography! Great fun for you all!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Donna said...

Pat what a fascinating trip...I love these historic places. I took the Pike's Peak train once and had a ball...this looks like a great trip I might be able to try when i get to CO.

Photo Cache said...

That must have been a wonderful trip with that impressive scenery.

Worth a Thousand Words

Arija said...

Great post, great shots. I love mountain railways.

Amy Franks said...

oh wow! awesome photos! looks like my sort of place to visit

Al said...

I've driven by this many times but never ridden it. Your photos make me want to!

Al said...

And no, my winter dog doesn't like the summer heat :)

Valerie said...

What an adventure you had!

Fun60 said...

Those historic railways look amazing. So good that they have been preserved and renovated. Great photos really give a feel of being there with you.

John's Island said...

Hi Pat, Thank you for your comment on my blog which reminded me to take a look at your latest post. You may not have realized that I am a train nut, so I especially enjoyed this post. What a lot of great train photos up in the Colorado Rockies. This train is famous among railfans but I have not seen it yet in person. Great post and thank you for sharing!

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

Whew what a ride! I got a little dizzy there for a minute :)

Seriously what gorgeous scenery.

Sue/the view from great island said...

I am a sucker for the romance of trains, and your photos are so glorious!

Ann said...

You just cannot beat the scenery on a train in Colorado. I'm adding this to my list for next visit. You take some wonderful photos.
Ann

Judith @ Lavender Cottage said...

I was enjoying the train ride Pat until you said 'hey look down here between the tracks!'. I guess if you don't like heights, it's no different with photos. There were a couple others that made me queasy but what a scenic trip to take! I'm looking forward to more of the train rides you and your hubby take. Between your blog and FB, I am really liking Colorado and must think about visiting your state some time.
Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

You have the best adventures! We rode the Durango-Silverton RR and thoroughly enjoyed that trip -. Didn't even know about the one you show here. Onto my Colorado places to go list! The pictures are amazing.

La Petite Gallery said...

That photo of you is great. I took a train ride in Ireland, scared the hell out of me. Colo. mtn roads had me on the floorboard. Great post and Spring came to Maine.
yvonne
and a bug of some sort everyone is sick.

diane b said...

And I look forward to coming with you on your future rides. Bill and I love these historic train trips.This one looked fabulous and it sure climbed up high. It is so good that people restore these sites for us to enjoy and learn history in a first hand way.

Vee said...

An incredibly scenic journey! I love that photo of you. You're always having an adventure with a bridge!

Al said...

To answer your question on my blog, no I haven't done the Incline, that looks too much like work to me. The set of stairs on my blog was short (but very steep).

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

That is quite a ride. The old bridge looks pretty spindly to have a train going across it. Of course being an engineer I'll point out that the new bridge sways, just a whole lot less.

The Gathering Place said...

What a fun train ride with such beautiful scenery. That is a great way to discover new areas. (I would have been outside, too.)

orchid Miyako said...

Dearest Pat; What a fabulous and fun train ride☆☆☆ Loop Railroad♪ I LOVED to see you sitting in the open rail car enjoying maximum views♡♡♡ And for me, the picture of the miners really impressed me as I don't have much knowledge about mining. Their work must be hard but as you mentioned I can see the the ardor in their faces!
So sorry for my belated comment and I appreciate your kind visits.
Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

Betsy Adams said...

HI, Read this before--but didn't have time to comment. SO-I came back to say THANKS. I love trains like that --and would choose the open air car too... Reminded me of our trips on the steam train at Cass, West VA... LOVE it.

I've been to Georgetown --but the train wasn't running when I was there. Beautiful area of CO.

Thanks for sharing.
Hugs,
Betsy

Roz Corieri Paige said...

Oh how much fun this looks --- taking a train through beautiful scenery and historical sites! Something I've yet to do! Thanks for letting me tag along!

Pamela Gordon said...

What a fantastic tour, Pat! I would enjoy seeing all that except crossing that high bridge. I'm so scared of heights. It's fun to explore such great and historic places. Thanks for sharing.

Barb said...

I haven't ridden the train in years, but I know our youngest Grandson would love it. I imagine the rails are buried in snow at present from the storms we've been having. Still snowing here in Breckenridge!

Rue said...

I loved this post, Pat! I love trains, but I don't think I could have felt with the bridge LOL

xo,
rue