The roadbed of one of
Colorado's most famous narrow gauge railroads, the Silverton Railroad -
The Rainbow Route, is parallel to
boundary of the
Addie S Cabin and Mineral Claim.
In 1887, Otto Mears began
construction of the Silverton Railroad from Silverton up Mineral Creek past
Burro Bridge, Chattanooga,
Summit, Red Mountain
Town, to Ironton, a distance of 16.5 miles . It was completed during
October 1888, at a
$725,000, and was very profitable in
its early days. The line was extended 1.5 miles to
Albany the following year.
The continued closure of mines in the Red Mountain area
resulted in the Silverton Railroad going into receiverhsip in 1898. In
1903, a new company, the Silverton
Railway, was incorporated by Mears which took over the line. After years of
little or no traffic,
the Silverton Railway was eventually abandoned in 1922, its
right-of-way was deeded to San Juan County and the present Million
Highway was laid out to closely follow the
railroad's old roadbed or, in some locations, actually on the old roadbed.
1904 Topo Map
1972 Topo Map
Railroad's #100 above Chattanooga.
railroad; broken line: Otto Mear's road] Two trains twice a day. Fare was twenty cents per mile
Chattanooga and Mule Shoe
Curve (Chattanooga Chattanooga, looking south Loop).
Chattanooga Loop, also known
as the Mule Shoe Above
The road generally follows the same route today.
Two trains on the
Chattanooga Loop. Otto Mears
stands next to tender of lower
Starting up the five percent grade above the 1891 at Sheridan Junction
Highest point on
one of the highest railroads in the Mid-summer 1892 at Sheridan
combine Red Mountain in front of the 5
leased from Rio Grande Southern.
Silverton Railroad engine
#100, the Ouray, near First passenger train arrives Red Mountain Town
Red Mountain Town.
Otto Mears stands in front September 19, 1888. Passengers transferring to
of pilot. September
stage for trip to Ouray. Otto Mears stands next
to steps of combination baggage-chaircar.
1921 survey party at Sheridan Junction, looking
south. Two years later the rails were gone.