October Problems


Last updated 9/29/2021 at 9:47am

Snow commenced to fall shortly after midnight in October, 1891. It was one of those early winter storms and continued the rest of the night. The storm was heavy in the mountains, but also along the lines of the railroads toward Colorado Springs. The Rio Grande's plush Pullman train from Denver arrived two hours late. It was first delayed at Castle Rock and was stopped by a rock on the track which had to be pushed out of the way near Palmer Lake.

The Rio Grande train to Pueblo, as it arrived, was packed. Long before the normal time for arriving at Colorado Springs, the management had several people waiting for the train. Normally in October, few get tickets for going south. Considerable complaint had been made of the delay caused by the early storm. A group who had spent the summer at area hotels were surprised by the sudden winter weather. The railway authorities were probably not prepared for the serious nature of this disturbance. The people in these groups found that the railroad's intention was to run an "on time" train. Both the Santa Fe and Rio Grande companies desired that their trains be operated in a timely nature, but the weather does not always cooperate. When agents for both lines were questioned about the problems with the trains so far, they reported that the trains have not thus been much of a problem. That year trains ran well, almost up until Christmas.

Railroads, like airlines today, are not protected from weather! The agents tried to see that people who desired to go to Denver or Pueblo were prepared for this rough element. A gang of track workers had been working in these storms and this first snow was a surprise to them, too. They found little shelter for themselves which made their lives miserable for the rest of the storm. They could be heard singing loud songs at the crew quarters once the trains were running again. It is not likely these fellows would ever let the winter get them behind in their work. A few of the older men had been with the line since it opened in 1872.

This was what could happen, even today. Some call it Normal Colorado Weather!


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