Summit County’s Narrow-Gauge Railroads (2016) is a new book that looks at the late 19th and early 20th century rivalry between two rail lines that reached that high-mountain region in central Colorado. Authors Bob Schoppe and Sandra F. Mather, PhD, have drawn upon never-before-published photographs, archives, and local collections to tell the story of the dramatic contest between the Denver & Rio Grande (D&RG) and the Denver, South Park & Pacific railroads.

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Stimulated by the late 19th century mining boom, which included gold and silver, and the subsequent service needs of residents and business in the region, the D&RG and the Denver South Park and Pacific entered into a construction race across the difficult Rocky Mountain terrain – Leadville was reached in 1880.

The two railroads had to contend not only with each other but with altitudes over 10,000 feet and severe winter weather. Economics, however, would prove the final and insurmountable challenge. As the 20th century moved along, and the mining boom ended, a number of the company lines ceased.

Bob Schoppe is president of the Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society, and this new release marks his second book on Colorado railroad history. Dr. Sandra Mather, is a professor emerita at West Chester University (Pennsylvania), having taught geology and meteorology prior to retirement. Dr. Mather is president of the Summit Historical Society. Here is a promo video for their collaboration:

Released by Arcadia Publishing in early November, official information about Summit County’s Narrow-Gauge Railroads (2016) can be found at Summit County RRs.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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