Question about DSS&SP west of Trout Creek Pass

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Question about DSS&SP west of Trout Creek Pass

Postby NE2 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:33 am

I've been adding old railway grades to OpenStreetMap, but have gotten stuck with the South Park Line on the west side of Trout Creek Pass: ... on=1424243 Can anyone help, either with an old map or a description? Other than US 24/285, nothing shows up on current USGS topos as a possible alignment.
(here's the Platte Canon District between Denver and Como: and the Colorado Midland, not yet complete: ; I would appreciate any corrections on them)
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Re: Question about DSS&SP west of Trout Creek Pass

Postby colorado » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:07 pm

I live along 285 and drive out to Buena Vista all the time, scout campots, wrestling meets, bike trips, skiing you name it. Petty familiar with the area.

This area is high alpine desert, it gets very little precipitation, mostly scrub oak, pinion pine, weedy grass and some chapparal brush. More sand and decomposed granite than green. From Fairplay to Buena Vista (Johnson's Corners) it is sparcely populated and I beleive always has been, from Antero Jct to Johnson Corners is ESPECIALLY desolate, there are a few "Summer Homes", maybe some ranches but I think it is rare I ever saw cattle in that eare in all my trips over the years.

US 285-Hwy 24 through this area definitely feels like it was built right on a former rail grade, not sure if it was the CM or the DSP&P but the mild grades, curvature and small cuts 285 goes through in the area absolutely seem that of a former rail line. Going up 285 through this area one occasionally catches traces of a former rail line near the highway that is the other rail line, erosion, wind and about 8 decades have erased a lot in this area. I don't recall ever seeing ANY remnants of a rail line other than what I described, no foundations, retaining walls or anything.

From Kenosha to Fairplay one can see remains of the DSP&P grade in many places erosion has claimed some of it and accross South Park and West of Fairplay some has disappeared due to apparent re-grading on the cattle ranches.
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Re: Question about DSS&SP west of Trout Creek Pass

Postby jabsteam » Fri Apr 06, 2012 11:09 pm

RE; Highway 285/24 from Antero Jct. to Johnson Corners - the Colorado Midland crossed over the South Park at the top of Trout Creek Pass, the abutments are still visible just north of the highway.
Both railroads ran closely together down the wide meadow/valley to the north of the highway down to where CR 309 intersects. The South Park then crossed to the south of the highway and closely followed Trout Creek down to the Arkansas River - this area suffered constant washouts due to the proximity to Trout Creek. The Colorado Midland stayed to the high ground north of the highway, with several trestles crossing draws, and circled northbound high above Buena Vista, heading to Leadville. Today the CM line is a combination mountain bicycle trail and ATV trail, which I have ridden quite a bit. The South Park and CM had a transfer facility near the CR309/Hwy 285 intersection called Newett, site of a large CM served limestone mine. The transfer was used for South Park Gunnison/Baldwin coal traffic to use the superior and shorter CM line to Leadville to power the many mines. Schwanders on the South Park was at the bottom of Trout Creek, just north of Nathrop, and was the junction with the SP's Buena Vista branch and connection with the D&RG's line to Leadville. Highway 285 was not built on either railroad grade, but split the railroads going down Trout Creek, with the South Park down right alongside the creek, and the CM high on the hillside above the road.
Jim B.
Alco's forever
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Location: Colorado Springs, on the Joint Line

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