2013-07-22

September Issue of Trains Has Rare Narrow Gauge Colorado Tale

Current subscribers to Trains Magazine will be pleased to know that the issue for September 2013 contains a four page article about Martin E. Hansen and his railroading connection to his great-grandfather Walter Joseph Hannan. Hannan was an engineer for the Colorado & Northwestern Railway, who died at the throttle while bucking snow to reach Ward, Colorado in April 1901.

The Colorado & Northwestern Railway was a narrow gauge affair that connected Boulder, Colorado and the aforementioned town of Ward with a spur to Eldora. It is a line seldom talked or read about, essentially a lost road. Begun late (1897) and pulled up in less than 25 years, the C&NW ventured west of Boulder to places like Gold Hill and Glacier Lake with 48.1 miles of 3-foot gauge rails. The railroad changed to the Denver, Boulder & Western in 1909 and was abandoned in 1919. Tivis Wilkins notes,
In July 1920, after most of the line had been dismantled, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the decision of the PUC (Public Utilities Commission) and ordered operations to be resumed. The order was never carried out.1
The railway's engine #30, which survived for a while as C&S 74 and RGS 74 before retiring to a Boulder park and then the Colorado Railroad Museum, was the same engine that Hannan rode to his fate as the town of Ward watched in horror.

Suffice to say it's a great story, one worth the price of the magazine. Watch for it at the end of July in your mailbox. Look for it on pages 40 - 43 under the title Landslide of Emotion. Enjoy!◊