Kit Carson to Las Animas

The Arkansas Valley Railway

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The Arkansas Valley Railway was an attempt by the Kansas Pacific Railroad, who had built their east-west mainline through Kit Carson and into Denver, to reach Pueblo, south of Denver. Construction on the line started in 1872 at Kit Carson and proceeded southwards. The line reached Las Animas the following year, at a distance of about 76 miles. Before continuing to build the line west out of Las Animas and into Pueblo, however, parent Kansas Pacific submitted a bond to the citizens of Pueblo on which they were to vote for an additional $200,000 to actually complete the line to their town. Also building their line to the west through Las Animas, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway also submitted a bond to the citizens of Pueblo for the AT&SF to complete their line to Pueblo as well. Citizens voted on the bond of the AT&SF, which continued construction westward. The Kansas Pacific, left without funds to complete their line to their intended destination of Pueblo, decided to cancel all pending building contracts of the remainder of the line west of Las Animas.

Despite a number of setbacks befalling the AT&SF during their construction to Pueblo, they finally did reach the town in 1876. Providing a shorter distance to points east from Pueblo, the AT&SF line captured all of the freight and passenger rail traffic, which therefore dwindled to nothing on the Arkansas Valley Railway line to Kit Carson; indeed, the line was abandoned in 1877, and the tracks removed the following year to be used on another Kansas Pacific railway line, the Solomon Branch.

This abandonment represents the first in the state of Colorado, and, at 5 years of existence, one of the shortest-lived railroad ventures in the country.

See the link below for a more comprehensive historical account of the two railroads' race to Pueblo.

If you get on GOOGLE EARTH, you can view three pictures showing part of the old rail bed, and a sign showing giving the history of the rail line (kinda hard to read). The area where it is most visible is around BIG SANDY creek which has a lot of history about Indian wars in that area.

Melvin
Colorado
5/19/2012

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The above link to "Story of a Short-Lived Railroad" (http://www.ourjourney.info/HeritageStories/ShortLived.asp) no longer works. "Ourjourney" is a valid website but no longer has a subdirectory of "HeritageStories".

Bob Lemmon
Whitestown, IN
3/2/2014

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Try here-

http://www.ourjourney.info/Downloads/PDF/CCP_ArkValleyRailway.pdf

jridge
Denver, CO
7/13/2015

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Shortened Link: http://a-r.us/u02
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