Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway CO
Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway CO
Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway CO

Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway CO

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Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway CO
 
Where Steam Still Serves The Picture Story of the Great Western Railway, serving the sugar centers of Northern Colorado by James Lyon Featuring Old #90.   
Soft Cover    Stapled
Copyright 1961
48 pages
Just north of Denver, the Never Summer Mountains of the Rockies provide a spectacular backdrop for a scene of Americana now fastly fading . . . the plume of black smoke across the sky, the nostalgic echo of the whistle across the countryside, the clank of steel, the hiss of steam.
All of this comes back with October, the season of harvest, the season of steam. The mile-high uplands, alive with the modern machinery of harvest, reveal as with magic the vision of the vehicle that opened the West nearly a century ago. Here, within the shadow of the Colorado Rockies' own romance of railroading, appropriately enough, steam still serves.
It serves on The Great Western Railway, one of the very few lines in the mid-continent area-if not the entire country-still working steam locomotives over the road. Only 31 years after the first railhead reached the mining town of Denver, the GW Railway was incorporated in 1901 by a handful of businessmen interested in the promotion of a beet sugar industry. Some of these same men also helped to establish The Great Western Sugar Company, the parent firm of the GW Railway. They saw then that Colorado needed local manufacturing of agricultural products to bolster the fabled but fading economy of mining. Sugar beets provided one answer, then as now, since they could be grown on the high irrigated plains and be manufactured locally into a finished product that could be shipped to the larger population centers. The year of 1901 also saw the completion and operation of the first Great Western sugar factory, at Loveland, later the location of the yards and shops of the GW Railway. The main and obvious purpose of the road, then as now, was to transport the raw sugar beets to the factories and to move the refined sugar to the inter-changes with the large railroads. In the next half-dozen years, sugar beet acreage expanded rapidly with the construction of eight more Great Western factories in Northern Colorado. At the same time, the GW Railway laid rail and acquired rolling stock to serve four of these factory towns-Loveland, Longmont, Windsor, and Eaton. (Johnstown was also on the line then, but the sugar factory there was not built until 1926 and the mono-sodium glutamate plant was not erected until 1954). These six factories in five communities still comprise the main points on the road, plus a score of beet-receiving stations, along with a number of private concerns with freight to ship.
The main line trackage totals about 63 miles, with 25 miles of yard track and sidings. The traffic consists almost entirely of agricultural products and sugar factory supplies. There is no passenger service anymore, except for special railfan excursions and occasional riders in the cabooses of freight trains. The GW Railway's motive power numbers four steam locomotives and five diesel units. Its other equipment includes six cabooses, 194 gondolas, 34 molasses tank cars, one box car, three flat cars, six work cars, and one diesel crane.
So begins the saga of steam on The Great Western Railway, now in 1961 in its 60th anniversary year, still running full throttle, still very visible each fall on the Great Western American scene.


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