EducationRobert W. Richardson Railroad Library and Collections

Built in 1997, the Robert W. Richardson Railroad Library is one of the most comprehensive railroad reference libraries in the United States. From timetables to employee records, photographs to engineering document, maps to books, it offers a wealth of railroad information.

The collections focus on railroads in the Rocky Mountain region and American West, with some national and international comparative information. 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.



*Closed the 2nd Saturday of every month for Board Meetings.

Research Requests

Our research volunteers can answer general railroad research questions for a small fee. In your request, please clearly define the information you would like us to look for (i.e., a name, railroad company, event, date, or document) and any sources you want us to search. Vague or poorly defined requests cannot be researched and will be returned.

When will I get the results? Research requests are handled in the order they are received. Turnaround time is 20-25 business days from receipt of payment.

Can I publish the results of the research? If you would like to publish a reproduction of an item in our collections, please see our Reproduction Use Agreement.

If you have questions about research requests, please contact us at 720-274-5148 or email For technical questions concerning the online payment portal, please contact Online Store Support.

Payment is required before we can begin to research your request. Please note that we may not be able to answer your question, depending on the materials we have and the nature of your question. Your research payment helps support the preservation and care of our library, archive, and artifact collections at the Colorado Railroad Museum.

Instructions for submitting a research request

  1. Make payment for a Research Request Fee in the Museum’s Online Depot General Store here.
  2. Download and complete the Research Request Form located here.
  3. Return your completed Research Request Form by email to or by mail to:

Robert W. Richardson Library: Research,
Colorado Railroad Museum,
17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO, 80403.

Fee Schedule and Use Agreement

Please review our Reproduction Use Agreement and Fee Schedule for information about using our materials in publications, exhibits, websites, etc. Fees are subject to change without notice.

Reproduction Use Agreement

Fee Schedule (June 2017)


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.

We are currently revising our Guidelines for Authors. Please check back later for updates.

Library & Artifact Collections

The Colorado Railroad Museum and Robert W. Richardson Library contain one of the largest collections of Rocky Mountain and Western U.S. railroad artifacts, books, maps, mechanical drawings, archives, images, and audiovisual materials in the United States. Our Library is non-circulating, however we welcome patrons to visit and examine the materials on site any time during our operating hours (Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-3pm). For detailed research requests, please make an appointment by emailing our Curator of Collections at

Accessing Off-site Materials

Some of our research materials are stored in boxes outside of our Library. If you wish to examine archival items in these boxes, please contact our Curator of Collections, Stephanie Gilmore, to set up an appointment.  There is a $10.00 fee per off-site box. Please note that the maximum number of boxes you can request for one visit is 15 and you must notify us at least 10 business days prior to your visit so that we can arrange to retrieve the boxes. Access to boxes outside of the Library is at the discretion of the Curator and is contingent upon many factors such as fragility of materials, safety of storage areas, weather, availability of staff and transportation vehicles, and museum events. We cannot do “rush” orders.


We’re out of Space!

The Colorado Railroad Museum is seeking your support as members of the museum, volunteers, board members, and the general public.  A common problem that affects the majority of museums is a lack of space to store permanent collections. Since its inception in 1958, the Colorado Railroad Museum has been very fortunate to receive many generous donations which have made our collections what they are today.  However, we have received so much material over the last several decades that our storage areas are overflowing.  Donations come in faster than we can adequately process them, and as a result we have never had the chance to thoroughly evaluate everything we already have.

As such, until further notice, we cannot accept any unsolicited donations through the mail or in person.  If you have something you believe to be very important to the mission of the museum (in bold face below) that you wish to donate, the best course of action is to send an itemized inventory list and photos of the items you have to our Curator of Collections, Stephanie Gilmore.  If we determine that you have an item which will help fill a gap in our collections, or that could be used in our auction program, we may decide to accept it.

Please note the following list of items we no longer need or accept: magazine issues of Trains or Model Railroader; items that have no relationship whatsoever to railroads; Amtrak memorabilia; Regional Transportation District (RTD) memorabilia; folk art; reproduction railroad china; and tourist railroad memorabilia. Also be advised that due to our aforementioned space restrictions, only items we know to fill a gap in our current collections will be accepted. We thank you in advance for thinking of us as a recipient of your items, and we greatly appreciate your cooperation with this matter. Please direct any questions to our Curator of Collections.

“The mission of the Colorado Railroad Museum is to preserve and convey the rich history of railroading in the Rocky Mountain region through acquisition, research, exhibition, and education.”

Monetary donations can be made through the Museum’s Online Depot General Store.