Historic Trains of Clear Creek
The Narrow Gauge Railroad played an important role in the development of the Colorado Rockies throughout the latter part of the Nineteenth Century. Prior to the coming of the Iron Horse, the only mode of travel was by horse, wagon, or stagecoach, all of which were slow and could transport only relatively small amounts of goods, people, or minerals. Every mining camp of its day was hopeful that a railroad would determine that its resources were valuable enough to warrant the expense and prestige of rail service to its community. Because of its rich mineral deposits and mining operations, the Clear Creek mining area did hold that attraction for several railroads.
The Narrow Gauge Steam Locomotive and Passenger Car shown here may be seen in Idaho Springs, Colorado located behind Idaho Springs City Hall just South of Miner Street.
Engine No. 60 was built by the Rhode Island Locomotive Works in 1886. Number 60 began her career on the Union Pacific-owned narrow-gauge Utah and Northern Railroad as No. 263. In 1890, the Union Pacific transferred U&N Engines No. 260-265 to its Colorado-based Denver, Leadville, and Gunnison Railroad, where the original engine number was retained until the Colorado and Southern assumed operation of all Colorado-based Union Pacific narrow gauge lines. This included the Clear Creek branch. At this time, the C&S renumbered all of its narrow gauge engines and No. 263 became No. 60.
Clear Creek County is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Located just west of Denver along Interstate 70, Clear Creek has 396 square miles of public lands to explore, as well as four mountain peaks above 14,000 feet. Clear Creek is comprised of charming mountains towns Idaho Springs, Downieville, Lawson, Empire, Georgetown, and Silver Plume, which are all along the I-70 corridor. Learn more about Clear Creek County here.