Midland Terminal Railway
|Midland Terminal Railway|
|Reporting mark||MTR (expired)|
|Dates of operation||1893–1949|
|Track gauge||4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge|
|Previous gauge||3 ft (914 mm) gauge|
|Headquarters||21st and Cimarron Streets
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The Cripple Creek gold rush of 1890 inspired the Santa Fe Railway, which owned and operated the Colorado Midland Railway at that time, to run a spur line south from Divide, located on the Colorado Midland line, to the Cripple Creek District. After construction issues stopped the project, the same organizers formed a new company, the Midland Terminal Railway, and built the proposed line.
Construction began in 1893 with the first segment completed near Divide on December 9, 1893. This track was originally 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge. This track reached just south of the town of Midland. In January 1893, the Santa Fe Railway in conjunction with the local financiers tore up the narrow gauge track and ran a new survey for a 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gaugetrack south on the new survey route to the town of Midland which was midway between Divide and Cripple Creek. The track reached the town of Gillette on July 4, 1894. It continued south, reaching the Portland Mine north of Victor by December 1894 and Victor Junction by mid-January 1895. During 1895 a branch in Victor was built and extended near to Independence Mine. The line reached the town of Anaconda by the autumn of 1895 and Cripple Creek in December 1895.
Regularly scheduled passenger trains stopped running in 1931 and just two special passenger trains ran in 1949 prior to the Midland line shutting down that year.
Some of the old buildings at the Midland Terminal headquarters in Colorado Springs are in use today, notably the old roundhouse, which was purchased by Van Briggle Pottery in 1955, and the machine shop, which is now the Ghost Town Museum.
Two miles of the former railroad's right of way is currently used by the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad. Another segment is being converted to a multi-use trail connecting the Pikes Peak Greenway to Manitou Springs. U.S. Route 24 follows the former railroad's route over Ute Pass. Portions of the roadbed and right of way from Divide, Colorado, to Cripple Creek, Colorado, are in use as Highway 67. A former wood-shored Midland Terminal tunnel was used as a one-lane highway tunnel on CO 67 until the 1990s; after a partial collapse the tunnel was bypassed with a new cut and the tunnel remains as a landmark, its ends are closed with a grille so the interior and shoring can be seen today.
- Vogrin, Bill (2005-02-07). "Modern age presses in on old-fashioned slaughterhouse". The Gazette. Colorado Springs. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- Davant, Jeanne (2001-07-24). "Rail developments kept area's progress on track". The Gazette. Colorado Springs, CO. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- The Cripple Creek Road by Edward M. "Mel" McFarland, Pruett Publishing Co. Denver CO 1984
- Tingvik, Linda Irene (2006-12-30). "Rail dates". Cripple Creek Railroads. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- "McFarland evokes train memories for History Center crowd". Westside Pioneer. Colorado Springs, CO. 2005-03-03. Retrieved 2007-03-04.
- Van Briggle Pottery - History