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As a very young boy I rode the Mail solo between Rollinsville and Arvada solo. My Mom would hand me over to the conductor in Rollinsville and the conductor made sure I got off in Arvada where I was met by Helen Lerch. After my visit the process was reversed for my return to Rollinsville. At age 5-6 I had a coin purse and would buy my own ticket onboard. The conductor would have me count the change several times and he would tell me he would put me off the train if there was not enough change. There always was enough.

This is such a wonderful story Charlie! To be young again and ride that train! Thank you for sharing.

James

I rode that train from Denver to Steamboat in the summer of 1958. I was a college student going to Perry Mansfield Camp to be a counselor. That trip on a narrow gauge track up through the mountains was awesome. At one of the little towns where we stopped, someone came aboard selling homemade roast beef sandwiches that were delicious. I am now 84 and I still remember. Too bad that can’t be turned into a tourist destination.

Hi Ellyn,

I am so glad that you had the opportunity to ride the train. It was a treasure and unfortunately it does not run anymore. As I wrote in the blog, it would be a great train to take skiers up to Steamboat Springs. Maybe one day!

Thanks for reading this!
James

Back in the 1965-66 school year I attended Yampa Valley College in Steamboat. That 6 hour ride was fine with us as a Party Train. Six hours of scenic drinking with no problems from the train crew since my room mate's Dad was President of the D&RGW. He said the Railroad people called it the B&FE. (Back and forth Empty.)
Talk about a lucky guy, he got to work on the Durango - Silverton tourist branch on the steam locomotives every summer. I'd have loved that!
My Appalachians are beautiful but the Rockies are downright Magnificent! I can handle six hours of that scenery.
Oh, Steve told me they couldn't shut it down till the Moffat Tunnel Bonds were paid off even though it wasn't making money.

Hi Dixie,

Your friend was very lucky to have a RR president as his father. As a railfan, that would be a dream! Sounds like the party train was fun too. I wish with all my heart that Colorado won't let this rail line become abandoned in the future. It has great potential to bring passenger service again to Steamboat and Craig.

All the best,
James

Thank you James for the info about this unique Colorado railroad gem. I was particularly impressed Dixie's recollections of the 1960s "party train" out of Steamboat Springs. As a model railroader, I'm always looking for unique trains to model and this one was a joy researching and building. My model of the Yampa Valley Mail consist of an HO scale Rapido ALCO PA1 diesel locomotive with a Walthers heavyweight baggage/railway post office followed up by a Walthers Pullman-Standard 52 seat coach. It was easy to build and it didn't put me into the loony ben like so may other projects. Many thanks to all the readers who shared their personal stories about the Yampa Valley local and I hope that you, James will follow up with more colorful accounts of Colorado life in the late 20th century. It was a joy to read and take notes along the way.

Hi John,
So kind of you for your nice words! I really enjoyed writing the blog and still think the line has potential for future passenger use. I love the PA1 and wished I had grown up when that locomotive was around. My favorite era was the streamliners! Anyway, thank you again and I'm sure your model is beautiful.
All the best,
James

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