The Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad. Formed on October 1, 1872, it would be over 1 1/2 years later until the railroad would drive a spike into its first wooden tie on May 18, 1874. This was a business venture not limited to the state of Colorado; aspirations included reaching the Pacific Coast, some 1000 miles (1610 km) distant.
The DSP&P started from Denver, worked its way westward through the canyon formed by the South Platte River, climbed up and over Kenosha Pass, and then across the Great South Park to Como.
Yes, the intended destinations of Gunnison and Leadville were reached but their effort to be the first railroad to arrive at either destination was ultimately a failure - the Rio Grande's track crews were the first to reach both Gunnison and Leadville.
After a period of local control, the South Park Line came under Union Pacific control in 1881. The UP had little interest in its Colorado narrow gauge lines, save as feeders to the main system.
*405-27 - Colorado Railroad Museum Collection; Denver Water Board Photograph
*X-18854 - Denver Public Library, Western History Collection; Unknown Photographer
*OP-6241 - Denver Public Library, Western History Collection; Photograph by Otto Perry, 1894-1970
Chappell, Richardson & Hauck, Colorado Rail Annual No. 12, Colorado Railroad Museum, Golden, CO, 1974
Ferrell, Mallory Hope, The South Park Line, Hundman Publishing, Inc., Mukilteo, WA, 2003
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