Experience the railroads of Colorado | SummitDaily.com
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Experience the railroads of Colorado

KIMBERLY NICOLETTIsummit daily news

About a century ago, the railroad was the lifeblood of Summit County.When the legendary snowstorm of 1898-99 blocked the tracks for 79 days, Breckenridge residents threw party after party to keep their stranded spirits up, but none of the residents could offer guests refreshments, because they relied on the train to bring in supplies.When notorious felon Pug Ryan robbed men in the Denver Hotel gaming room, he high-tailed it to his hideout near Copper Mountain, and the sheriff’s men jumped on the train to pursue him.When the train trudged up passes, riders could jump off and walk behind the cars, to get a little exercise. People wore their best clothes on the day-long trip from Keystone to Denver, which cost $10.So go the stories of local historian Mary Ellen Gilliland, who will tell amusing stories of the railroads and the colorful characters who rode them, Sunday at 3 p.m. She has lived in Summit County since 1973 and has collected volumes of history from old journals, books and rare magazines, as well as the old-timers who provided intriguing details to historic facts. After a 45-minute lecture, she’ll take questions.”The first railroad, Denver South Park & Pacific Railway, was America’s most colorful railroad,” Gilliland said. “It scaled the highest passes and met the most daunting challenges that alpine railroading could conquer.”Tom Randolph will be on hand from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, to talk about his train sets. He has lived in Summit for 37 years, but his interest in model electric trains didn’t begin until Christmas Day, 2001, when his wife gave him a Lionel train set. The gift launched an obsession that resulted in the coin-operated model train layout at the Frisco Museum. It represents the turn-of-the-century Frisco and Ten Mile Canyon track.The current showcase display of model trains at the County Commons is courtesy of Bob Schoppe, a Fairplay resident and vice president of the Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society.


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