Tuesday, March 13, 2018

POTD - BN Caboose Two Miles High

Photo of the Day: Mike Danneman
It is 1984, and the Climax local has just returned to the two-mile high city of Leadville under threat of rain from a July cloudburst overhead. Winter snows still cling to Mount Elbert above the covered hopper and Mount Massive (at far right), the two highest peaks in Colorado. The summer storm belies the fact that summer, if it comes at all, is far too brief at this altitude to make much of an impact. Nevertheless, as noted photographer Mike Danneman notes, this line survives as the Leadville, Colorado & Southern, a summer tourist railroad in business long after the neighboring Tennessee Pass Route has fallen silent.

The isolated segment of the Burlington Northern system, 150 rail miles from its nearest connection at Pueblo, is still generating revenue many decades after coming into the fold of Colorado & Southern as part of the Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad. To get there, the DSP&P climbed from Como in South Park over the Continental Divide at Boreas Pass, down through Breckenridge and Frisco before heading up over Fremont Pass (and the Continental Divide, again). Such up and down, north and south wanderings are why they had such turbulent corporate histories and why Colorado narrow gauge railroads are so beloved. ⚒