The Yampa Valley, the Little Train that Couldn’t

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Thank you very much. I really enjoyed writing it and wished I was around to see the train.


The automobile did indeed bring about the demise of this and other train lines... but I'd say 'Steamboat (let alone Craig) to Denver in 3 hours' by car in the '60s is a bit of a stretch. All two-lane highway through the mountains, and two passes to cross. A comparatively grueling journey, although traffic was a bit lighter :).


You neglected to mention the Moffat Tunnel Property tax that was collected until the 1960's from property owners in the counties served by the D&RG. The Rio Grande wanted to drop passenger service far earlier. They were told, "No passenger service, no tax revenue". When the tax expired, the train expired.

Hi Frank,

You are correct. Thank you for mentioning this. Not only did the end of mail service put a another nail in the train's coffin, the end of the property tax and ICC sympathy for ending passenger train service was the final nail.


I was absolutely in love with train rides. My grandfather paid for me to go from Steamboat Springs into Denver for 3 summers. It was all so magical! The many tunnels fascinated me! I didn’t mind that it took longer to get to Denver because Loveland Pass could be treacherous by bus and car.


My parents shipped sour cream to Denver on that train for years. In my later grade school years (cannot remember which one) the Farmers Union youth group took the train to Denver for a day of touring. Mumps were very prevalent in the valley that year. Every morning for a least a week before the scheduled trip I awoke sure that I had the mumps and could not go. The morning of the trip was a repeat. On the train I got with all the other Farmers Union group. I came home with the mumps. I was miserable.


Hi Bonnie,

Sorry to hear that you got the mumps on that trip. I hope the train ride and the scenery was worth it!

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