Governor Polis Issues Proclamation to Honor Colorado’s Railroads, Rail Museums, and Rail Heritage Sites
DENVER, JUNE 15, 2022: More than any other undertaking, railroads have transformed Colorado from a wild, isolated, sparsely populated and geographically challenging territory into a booming state filled with agriculture, extractive industries, manufacturing and large cities filled with arts and culture. To recognize this fact, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has declared the week of June 19-26, 2022 to be Colorado Rail Heritage Week. Here’s the full text of the Proclamation: https://coloradorailroadmuseum.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/Rail-Heritage-Week.pdf
“Few places in the world have as colorful a railroading history as Colorado, and this state has done a tremendous job of preserving that history for the enjoyment of residents and visitors,” said Paul Hammond, executive director of the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden. The Colorado Railroad Museum is the leading authority on Colorado’s rail heritage and has spearheaded efforts to create Colorado Rail Heritage Week.
“People come from all over the world to ride the Centennial State’s steam trains, visit railroad museums, stop at rail heritage centers, journey aboard Amtrak and the Rocky Mountaineer across the Continental Divide, and visit famous resort areas like Durango, Breckenridge, Aspen and Telluride. Without railroads, these former mining towns would never have grown to become the prominent destinations they are today. Railroad history is an important component of Colorado’s multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, and this proclamation helps in sharing that history,” Hammond said.
The first train arrived in Denver on June 24, 1870, accompanied by great celebration. Within just a few decades more than 2,000 miles of railroad tracks had been constructed along gorges, across roaring rivers, through tunnels and over high mountain passes until they reached almost every corner of the state. In May 2022, Colorado was recognized by the readers of USA Today for having four of the top 10 most scenic rail roads in the nation (No 1, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad; No. 2, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad; No. 7, Georgetown Loop Railroad; and No. 10, Pikes Peak Cog Railroad). The Colorado Railroad Museum itself is recognized as one of Visit Denver’s Top 10 Attractions, too!
“We hope Rail Heritage Week will be a time for Coloradans to reflect on all that railroads have meant to our state, and make plans to ride an historic train or visit a rail heritage site or museum,” Hammond said. He noted that rail heritage sites can be found just about everywhere in Colorado – from the eastern plains of Julesburg, Hugo and Limon, to the San Luis Valley in the south, to Western Slope communities from Dolores to Grand Junction to Winter Park, and along the Front Range from Fort Collins to Pueblo and Raton.
“This week was picked because it incorporates the day the first train arrived in Denver, on June 24, 1870. This quickly led to the establishment of more railroads in the state, and the rest is history—not all of it positive, but all of it part of this great state’s story. Also happening this same week is Father’s Day (June 19), and what Dad does not like trains? What a perfect way to spend Father’s Day, by also celebrating Colorado Rail Heritage Week and passing the love of trains from one generation to the next,” Hammond said.
ACTIVITIES AND EVENTS DURING COLORADO RAIL HERITAGE WEEK, JUNE 19-26, 2022
- Visit your favorite Colorado railroad or rail attraction for Father’s Day on June 19. Tickets still available for All Things Engine at the Colorado Railroad Museum.
- 37th National Garden Railway Convention, June 19-25, Crowne Plaza Hotel (Denver) and 40 locations. This is one of the largest national model railroading conventions and will include clinics, a vendor hall, and opportunities to visit 40 huge indoor and outdoor garden railroads in metro Denver. Garden railroading typically uses G-gauge model trains that travel around backyards, across miniature bridges, through tunnels, over “mountains” and past miniature towns and cities. These backyard railroads are typically not open to the public.
For more information on the Colorado Railroad Museum, visit coloradorailroadmuseum.org.
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COLORADO RAILROAD MUSEUM
Consistently ranked by Visit Denver as one of the top 10 attractions in the city, the Colorado Railroad Museum features the most comprehensive collection of railroad history in the state with more than 100 narrow- and standard-gauge steam and diesel locomotives, passenger cars, cabooses and freight cars. Located on a spectacular 15-acre site in Clear Creek Valley in Golden, CO, the museum has a half mile circle of operating track offering weekend train rides, along with a working roundhouse and turntable, railroad library, exhibition galleries, outdoor pavilion, and a huge indoor HO model railroad and outdoor G-scale garden railway. The Colorado Railroad Museum offers interactive family fun mixed with authentic Colorado railroad history.