Riding the Rails

Are you kicking yourself because summer is ending and you never found the time to ride the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad? Well, it’s definitely not too late! The season goes through December 30, 2011, and the following are special events just for fall.

Be sure and check out the Beer and Brats train in September and October. The railroad will have a free Colorado micro brew beer tasting for all adult riders coupled with appetizers, brats & sauerkraut, and dessert. 

The Pumpkin Festival Trains are back again for your enjoyment the first two weekends of October. These excursions are a great favorite of children, their parents, and grandparents. The hay bale maze is set up outside the Lebanon Silver Mine for the little ones’ enjoyment. There are free pumpkins to take home for all the little ones. There will be games, a treasure hunt for nuggets, face painting and all of the railroad’s wonderful holiday characters returning. 

The Oktoberfest Trains are returning the last three weekends of October which utilize enclosed heated coaches. They will have a free Colorado micro brew beer tasting for all adult riders and free bratwurst or hot dogs for all riders. Come enjoy the crispness of fall days while taking your ride on the Georgetown Loop Railroad®.

Check here for schedules and prices.

The Train to “George’s Town”

In the summer of 1859,  following the great gold rush, the Griffith brothers from Kentucky (George and David) traveled to Central City. Wanting a little more elbow room, they continued on following the south fork of Clear Creek toward present day Idaho Springs. Within two days, on June 17, George Griffith struck gold! News traveled quickly and a small and growing settlement began, known as “George’s Town.” After gold-mining collapsed, silver was discovered and Georgetown experienced another boom.

By the end of 1866, Georgetown was growing faster than any other Colorado community. Small hotels started opening up for tourists but the town still lacked a railroad to get them there! In addition, the system for transporting the millions of dollars of ore coming out of the region was inefficient, at best. It took several years, but in October, 1871, representatives from Georgetown met with officials of the Colorado Central Railroad to discuss the building of a railroad line to Georgetown.

In December, 1872, the first railroad line through Clear Creek Canyon reached Black Hawk. Five years later, in June, 1877, the railroad reached Idaho Springs and two months later the route made it to Georgetown. The completion of this railroad line was due to financier Jay Gould, the head of the Union Pacific Railroad, who supplied the necessary funds to get the train to these towns. The railroad could now take ore down the mountain. It could also bring people up. The Rocky Mountains were finally open for tourism.

The advent of car travel greatly reduced excursion train trips. In 1938, the last of the trains ran from Denver to Silver Plume. The line from Idaho Springs to Silver Plume was abandoned and the Georgetown Loop dismantled, ending a colorful era of railroad history. For many years, the gorgeous sights seen from the Georgetown Loop were only a memory. Then, in 1973, construction on the rail line began after the Union Pacific donated the track and ties for the reconstruction of the Georgetown Loop. 

1975 was the first operating season of the new Georgetown Loop which ran on a small portion of completed track. Today, the Georgetown Loop Railroad provides a historic, fun-filled outing for the family. The trains run through December. Check here for information to plan your day.

 

Georgetown Loop Railroad

The Georgetown Loop Railroad brings Colorado history to life in a fun that will thrill the entire family. The beauty of the rugged Rocky Mountains surrounds you as an old-time steam locomotive or one of our powerful diesel locomotives winds up the Clear Creek canyon, hauling your train past the remains of several gold and silver mines. Our fully enclosed as well as our open cars allow a breath tak adventure ing view of everything along the line. Departures are available from the Silver Plume Depot or Devil’s Gate Station in Georgetown during the regular season. Trains operating after Columbus Day only operate from the Devil’s Gate Station in Georgetown. Be sure to visit the Georgetown-Silver Plume National Historic Landmark District, established in 1966. The two towns have one of the largest concentrations of Victorian buildings in the country, with many unique shops and restaurants.

The Railroad is just another fun and fulfilling way to spend the day in Clear Creek County. Visit Georgetown Loop Railroad for more information.