Robert W. Richardson Railroad Library

Built in 1997, the Robert W. Richardson Railroad Library, designed to look like a small town depot, contains one of the most comprehensive railroad reference libraries in the United States. From timetables to employee records, photographs to engineering documents, maps to books, it offers a wealth of information on railroads.

The Library’s collection focuses on railroads in the Rocky Mountain region and American West, but in some cases the collection’s scope is national or even international. The Library is open to visitors of the Museum; patrons are also welcome to write, call, or email the Library with questions or for further information on our holdings.

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Dear Patrons,
Please be advised that the Robert W. Richardson library is installing new storage shelves in February and March, 2016. During this time, we will not be able to fulfill research requests involving our downstairs collections, which include but are not limited to historic maps, mechanical drawings, timetables, AFEs, ephemera files, some of our periodicals and books, and valuation sections. Our upstairs collections, including the majority of our book stacks and most photographs, will still be accessible. Due to this project, research requests may take longer than normal. We greatly appreciate your patience and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will notify you when we are fully open again.

Library Collections

The Library’s holdings are made up of one of the largest collections of published materials, maps and drawings, archives, images, audiovisual collections, genealogy collections and more.

Within the next several years, we hope to be able to make the Library catalog available online. In the interim, please feel free to contact us with specific inquires.


Many of our resources are not stored in the library itself, so not all resources are immediately available for drop-in patrons. We are better able to meet your research needs if you can give us advance notice of your topic and your planned visit.

Research Assistance

Even if you are not able to visit the collections in person, our volunteers and staff can perform research on your behalf and contact you with the results. Simple questions can be answered for free; extensive research questions taking more than a half-hour of volunteer or staff research time is subject to our fee schedule ($40 per hour).

Copies or scans of information found may be sent, when the condition and use permissions of the original permits. All copies are subject to the rules outlined in the Library Use Agreement.

Fee Schedule

Please see the fee schedule for information about using Richardson Library materials in publications, exhibits, websites, and other public uses. These fees are subject to change, without notice, as our costs increase, but we will do our best to keep this information current, for our patrons’ convenience.

Complete Library Fee Schedule (July 2014, PDF)


The Library gladly welcomes donations of books, artifacts and railroad documents. Monetary or in-kind donations are also appreciated, as they allow us to steward existing collections, making them accessible and preserving them for posterity.

We are always in need of archival-grade supplies: tags, boxes, cases, ties, etc. See our Amazon Wish List for specific items that are needed.

If you are interested in making a donation, please contact us to learn about the donation process.


Since the 1960s, the Colorado Railroad Museum has published small runs of books dealing with railroad history — particularly Colorado railroad history. Shop online or visit the Depot General Store to view and purchase these publications.

Many of these works have been published as part of our “Colorado Rail Annual” series, which originally served as compilations of short articles but more recently has become our venue for publishing single longer works.

Authors interested in submitting a manuscript for consideration should review our submission guidelines: Author Guidelines

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