Located in Clear Creek County, the historic Georgetown Loop Railroad provides visitors with a wonderful dine and ride experience in Colorado's Front Range. The railroad -- which rises 640 feet over its 4.5 mile length -- cuts through unbroken aspen and pine forest as it ascends from the Devil's Gate Station via the old Lebanon Mine en route to the former mining terminus at Silver Plume. The Georgetown Loop (albeit completely rebuilt) is the only remaining section of The Colorado Central Railroad which once linked Silver Plume and Golden.
The railroad offers riders a number of differing trip and fare options, from the standard one hour fifteen minute round trip to a two hour thirty minute trip that includes a tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine.
Address: Georgetown Loop Railroad, Georgetown, CO 80444. Tel: 1-888-456-6777 Admission: Adult ticket prices start at $25.95 and Children's ticket prices start at $18.95. Prices vary depending on the type of train excursion.
The Georgetown Loop Railroad utilizes 3 locomotives;
- Engine #9 - a three truck Shay type locomotive built by Lima Locomotive Works, Lima, Ohio, in 1923,
- Engine #21 - a 1940s-era, 44-ton General Electric diesel/electric locomotive,
- Engine #1203 (pictured) - a diesel locomotive built in 1947 by the Porter Locomotive Works of Pittsburgh, PA for the United States Gypsum Company in Plaster City, California.
Completed in 1884 as part of the Georgetown, Breckenridge & Leadville Railroad and restored and reopened in 1984, the 4.5-mile-long three-foot narrow gauge railway includes three hairpin turns, four bridges and a 30-degree horseshoe curve from Georgetown to Silver Plume.
[Pictured: Rolling stock from the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad].
The railway features a number of Denver & Rio Grande Railroad passenger gondolas and boxcars and White Pass and Yukon Railroad Parlor/Dining Cars.
A neat way to enhance your visitor experience is to opt for a dinner train excursion. These trips -- offered most Fridays and Saturdays from June through October -- offer a number of epicurean outings ranging from wine and Hors d' Oeuvres to steak and lobster dinners. Prices range from $38.95-$59.95 per person. If you prefer something a little less formal then the "beer & brats" or "ales on rails" excursions may well appeal.
The Devil’s Gate High Bridge
The 95-feet-high and 300-feet-long steel railroad trestle, known as Devil’s Gate High Bridge, was reopened by Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm on August 1, 1984. Locomotives crossing this immense railroad trestle negotiate an 18.5 degree turn whilst simultaneously climbing a 2 percent grade.
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A Spectacular Scenic Journey
The scenery that greets today's visitors differs considerably from that enjoyed (and I use this term loosely) by passengers and miners in days of yore. Just as in Black Hawk and Central City, the mountains surrounding Georgetown and Silver Plume were almost entirely denuded of trees as a result of the extensive mining operations in the local area.
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Julian Gothard is a writer/photographer based in Black Hawk, Colorado. You can see more of his travels in Colorado by following his "Rocky Mountain High" board on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/jlgothard/rocky-mountain-high/