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Narrow-Gauge Trestle (Denver & Rio Grande Bridge 259)

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Denver & Rio Grande Bridge 259
1880s. 1 mile from U.S. 50, on Montrose County Q83 at the west edge of Cimarron (NR)

Cimarron (1883, 6,900 feet) was once the location of a four-span railroad bridge over the Cimarron River and a huge live-stock loading hub, as well as an important maintenance stop for the Denver & Rio Grande. Nearly all the wooden shop and roundhouse facilities are gone. All that remains of the bridge are 119 feet composed of two pin-connected Pratt trusses with L-shaped girders of sheet steel tied with 8-inch-square wooden decking. Other bridges, as well as most of the roadbed, have been displaced by the reservoirs of the Blue Mesa and Morrow Point dams. This remnant in a rugged, remote canyon is a noteworthy fragment of an engineering and construction feat. It also speaks of the larger search for a rail route west, beginning with the epic railroad survey of Captain John W. Gunnison in 1853. The National Park Service and the town of Montrose have placed an engine, boxcar, and caboose on the bridge segment, backed by the dark canyon walls. At the mouth of the canyon, D&RG freight and stock cars are on exhibit at a small, plank-sided visitors' center.

Writing Credits

Thomas J. Noel


What's Nearby


Thomas J. Noel, "Narrow-Gauge Trestle (Denver & Rio Grande Bridge 259)", [, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of Colorado, Thomas J. Noel. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997, 583-583.

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