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The Colorado Railroad Museum, 17 June 2006

(Click on the pictures below to obtain larger images, which take longer to download.) Photographs George P. Landow may be copied without written permission for any noncommercial use — for hobbies, education, and so on. If you have any additional information on the locomotives or rolling stock in these pictures, please feel free to send it along to me at george@landow.com; pictures are welcome, too. GPL)

We set off for the Colorado Railroad Museum, which lies about 12 miles from Denver and just outside of Golden, where the Coors Brewery is located. This visit was George's second railroad-related treat this trip, since Ruth had taken him to Caboose Hobbies, which bills itself as the world's largest model railroad store, and they might be right. There he spent two hours in model railroad heaven. Today was railfan heaven — the chance to see the real thing. This museum has an amazing collection of the picturesque narrow gauge locomotives and rolling stock that once criss-cross the mining towns of Colorado, and George found one delightful thing after another.

Left two: The main building of the museum, which houses the ticket office, store, displays of railroad history, and an HO model railroad in the basement. It faces a much sturdier brick structure constructed to look like a railroad station that contains a research library open to all. Right: The setting of the museum, which is overlooked by a very modern house on the hill.

Left: Rio Grande Southern no. 20, a 4-6-0 (like George's model of the Dixie-Belle) that is awaiting restoration so it can run again. Right two: The Class C Shay, which pulled today's tourist train three times around a small loop of track, lets off steam for the railfans and then pumps out some smoke. George has a model of this kind of weird, quirky locomotive — maybe this very one — but he had never before actually seen a real Shay, much less seen one moving, and observing these Rube Goldberg machines in action is quite a sight. Unlike usual steam locomotives, this kind not only has an off-center boiler (so there's room for the steam cylinders) it also has three odd-looking upright cylinders that connect to an open drive shaft running the length of the locomotive and tender — sort of like a bizarre truck, except the crankshaft and its many joints are exposed; to make things stranger, counterweights stick out here and there on the shaft, and when the whole shebang moves (slowly, for they never go much above 5 miles an hour) the locomotive looks as if it's wobbling and about to come apart, sort of like watching a toddler stagger down a hallway.

The Museum's G-Scale Garden Railroad

the magnificent G-scale garden railroad next to the main museum building. We stopped to watch one of the women volunteers — another was part of the train crew — operate a short train led by a model of one of the museum's own locomotives. The model not only gave off smoke but also had digital sound of escaping steam, whistles, and the chuff-chuff as it started.

A Ride around the Loop behind the Shay

Left two: After we heard someone call out that the last train of the day was about to leave, we made our way to the observation car. Middle right: The garden railroad from the observation car. Right: A view of the front of the train from the open observation car.

Next the locomotives and rolling stock of the Colorado Railroad Museum . . .


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