CMoore of Colorado: Royal Gorge Railroad

CMoore of Colorado

CMoore of Colorado highlights a little-known hidden gem or a place we see or hear of all the time that has a historical significance you didn’t know about.  

CAÑON CITY — In 1878, two railroad crews both had the idea to begin grading for a railroad west of Cañon City in the mouth of the gorge, all this information is according to the Royal Gorge Route website.

Santa Fe began first and Denver & Rio Grande realized they were blocked.

It eventually became a two-year struggle between the two companies known as the Royal Gorge War.

It was eventually settled with a D&RG victory but they paid the Santa Fe $1.8 million for the railroad it had built in the gorge, the grading it had completed, materials on hand and interest. The Royal Gorge War was over.

The rails reached Leadville on July 20, 1880.

In 1882 the Royal Gorge Route became a transcontinental rail link between Denver and Salt Lake.

As you look at this landscape, I wondered what’s the difference between a gorge and canyon. The wonderful staff on board told me, “a gorge is deeper than it is wide and a canyon is wider than it is deep.”

The walls of the gorge at one point reaching 2,600 feet above the track.

It wasn’t until about 50 years later, that the royal gorge bridge was built.

It held the title “highest bridge in the world” from when it was built in 1929 until 2007.

The royal gorge route railroad has become a premier destination attraction carrying over 100,000 guests through the royal gorge each year.

You can take rides on the Royal Gorge Railroad daily leaving from Cañon City. The track climbs 500 feet in elevation to Parkdale, then goes back down the track.

It seems the only other way to see that view from inside the gorge is to raft down the class 4 or 5 waters.

To book a ride go to royalgorgeroute.com.

If you have an idea of a place that should be highlighted, email cmoore@kxrm.com and put “CMoore of Colorado” in the subject line.  

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