photo courtesy of the Colorado Historical Society
The Colorado Midland Railroad was the inception of millionaire James Hagerman. Mr. Hagerman was diagnosed with tuberculosis and advised to travel to a dryer climate.
He arrived in Colorado Springs in 1884. As his ailment lessened, he had an idea to run a rail line from the Springs, up Ute Pass to Leadville and Aspen.
Aspen's discovery of silver in 1886, hurried the building of rail lines through Ute Pass and westward.
Hagerman was in competition with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad as to who would reach the Aspen silver mines first.
The Denver & Rio Grande won the race, but the Midland shared the bounty of the booming silver business in central and western Colorado.
NOTE: Notice the rotary snow plow on the train at the top of the page. This was needed to clear tracks of deep snow in the higher elevations of the Colorado Rocky Mountains.
The Midland was a standard gauge railroad. It showed that standard gauge could navigate the Colorado mountains without the need of a narrow gauge rail line.
Hagerman's railroad continued from Aspen on to Glenwood Springs, New Castle and Grand Junction.
In the early 1900's during World War I, the Railroad Administration took all rail traffic from the Colorado Midland and gave it to the Denver & Rio Grande.
So, in 1921, the Midland was gone, except for the line running from Colorado Springs, up Ute Pass and ending at the town of Divide, a total of 30 miles.
Above is a photo of the Midland Railroad Depot in Divide, Colorado. It is currently under restoration by the historical society.
I pass this structure almost every day and think of the railroad running through this small town and on to the west not so very long ago.
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