Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ridgway Railroad Museum Receives Records of RGS

Earlier this month, the Ridgway Railroad Museum in Ridgway, Colorado inherited a boon this month with 50 boxes of Rio Grande Southern corporate records. These records cover everything from the founding in 1890 by Otto Mears to the wholesale abandonment of the line in the mid-1950s. According to Ouray News, Jim Pettengill of the museum was quoted,

"This generous donation probably makes us the second-largest repository of RGS archival documents. This is an incredible treasure trove of information that will take us years to thoroughly examine."

This is a tremendous opportunity for volunteers to add to the extensive knowledge of the RGS and they now have it in a location convenient to the actual physical remains of the railroad. The Colorado Railroad Museum's generous contribution means very much to the fans and historians of the RGS. As new displays and archives are opened to the public, southwestern Colorado will continue to grow richer in history and culture.

If it weren't for the dedicated work like the volunteers of Ridgway, the memory of the RGS and the people who ran her to serve the area in early times would gradually fade until she was only an apparition reported in fables by tour guides.

This summer, you can catch a little of that living history in Ridgway on June 7th or on the C&TS or the D&SNGRR. Since practically none of the original railroad grade has running rails, the volunteers of Goose 5 have taken to running on these "sister lines." Seeing her run, it's not too hard to imagine her 60 years ago running on spindly trestles between Ophir, Vance Jct., or Dolores. Take a gander--I couldn't resist that one--at her first appearance on the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic and another appearance on the Durango & Silverton's high line.





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