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Learn more about the Museum’s newest campaign:

also Let’s Continue to Make History!

As 2021 drew to a close, the Colorado Railroad Museum was pleased to look back at the year with a sense of teamwork and accomplishment. Visitation has returned to almost 90% as compared to pre-pandemic levels. We are especially excited that 2021 saw two major steam locomotive firsts at the Colorado Railroad Museum! This was the first time the Museum had three steam locomotives in operation simultaneously, highlighted by our landmark Triple Steam Up event in May. It was also the first time that a Museum steam locomotive, Rio Grande Southern No. 20, journeyed offsite (to the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad) to pull several special excursion trains from late August through early October.

We raised funds to rebuild the running gear on Denver & Rio Grande Western K-37 steam locomotive No. 491, and are pleased to share this project was completed in January 2022. Restoration of our UTLX “GRAMPS” tank car was completed this year. The car, with its strikingly new paint job, is now proudly displayed for all to see. We also undertook additional pathway paving projects to improve our guest experience at the museum. And finally, we broke ground on our first-ever protective structure for railroad equipment adjacent to our main Depot building (with anticipated completion in 2022, although construction delays are currently being experienced). In short, even though we have continued to recover financially from the worst effects of the pandemic, 2021 was a year of remarkable progress for the Colorado Railroad Museum.

To continue this historic momentum, however, we urgently need your support! While the Colorado Railroad Museum has carefully managed its way through 2020 and 2021, our ability to accomplish major projects and initiatives going forward still relies on contributions from generous donors. And this is where you can really help!

Here’s just a sample of what we’re planning for 2022:

Replacing the roof on our 20-plus-year-old Roundhouse complex is now a top priority. Roof-specific fundraising was launched late last year, and repairs to both the Depot and the Library were completed, and we’re pleased to announce that the re-roofing of our primary restoration and maintenance facility is scheduled for this fall. Speaking of the Roundhouse, we also are planning to construct a paved pathway to enable visitors to reach this facility year-round. Its popularity has grown in recent years, especially with all of the restoration activity related to our historic fleet of operating steam locomotives!

Another vital infrastructure project is the on-going development of our indoor/outdoor Pavilion. The Pavilion has been a lifesaver during COVID for a number of important Museum events including The Polar Express Train Ride, Day Out With Thomas, Colorado Rails & Cocktails, and even our annual Volunteer Recognition Banquet. Now we are looking to bring the structure into the 21st century, by installing roll-up, permanent doors & siding, a video wall, and radiant heat to truly make this space a year-round asset.

In our Roundhouse and shop, we will be taking on significant rail vehicle repairs and maintenance. During 2021, both of the wood-bodied Denver & Rio Grande Western coaches we use in regular service needed repairs to their end platforms, which were sagging. We replaced two of the four platforms in 2021, and will continue this work in 2022. Both coaches are being repainted as part of the process. We’ll also be finishing up repairs to 1882-vintage Colorado & Southern caboose No. 1009, and continuing to repaint and repair additional rail vehicles as well. Of special interest, we’ll also begin work to define the scope of upcoming major repairs to Denver & Rio Grande Western locomotive No. 346, the oldest operating steam locomotive in Colorado. (It’s been over 15 years since its most recent, major overhaul.)

As you can see, we are planning big for 2022. As always, however, the Colorado Railroad Museum is depending on the support of donors and members to help propel us forward. We have adeptly steered our way through the tumultuous years of 2020 and 2021, and with your help we will not only prosper, but continue to attain even bigger goals! As a member of our extended family, we hope you will be able to help the Museum continue its progress in 2022. Won’t you please consider making a generous contribution today?

P.S. The Museum has established a “Steam Locomotive Maintenance Endowment” to provide perpetual funding for major overhauls of our operating steam locomotives going forward. We’d be delighted to discuss your support for this Endowment. We will also be launching a Planned Giving Society. Please consider including the Museum in your Estate Planning, so that the work of preserving Colorado’s rich railroad history may continue well into the future. If you notify us that you’ve included CRRM in your plans, we’ll invite you to an annual Society luncheon to honor your commitment to the Museum.

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