Brighton to St. Vrains

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  • States: Colorado   
  • Railroads: UP   
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This view shows the former UP line to St. Vrains, facing northwest from the location of the Tucson Avenue grade crossing. This is a couple miles west of Brighton. Photo by Mike Palmer, October 2003.

This abandoned railway line was originally part of UP's branch from Brighton, on the Denver-Cheyenne main line, to Boulder. It was built in the late 1800s. In later years UP built additional branch lines in the area north of Denver to serve the various farms and mines. The Boulder Branch was later served by the Boulder Industrial Lead at St. Vrains, and the Brighton-to-St. Vrains section was subsequently abandoned, probably in the 1970s.

There are still some traces of track in Brighton near the junction with the main line. There was a water treatment plant on the west side of Brighton that continued to keep a freight connection after the rest of the segment was abandoned, but that too is now without rail service. Further west, some of the right of way is used as dirt roads; other sections are completely obliterated by cropland.

Looking at the satellite map, there appears to be no trace of a bridge at the river crossing. Maybe a flood caused this line to be abandoned?

Mike Palmer
Torrance, CA
11/28/2008

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The Boulder Valley Railway Historical Society is at the end of this track near Boulder, CO

Most of this track is intact according to Google Earth

If traffic is needed on this line the State of Colorado has plans to reconnect this line since the original bridge was torn out for a I-25 project

Ben
Scottsbluff, NE
2/27/2013

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The bridge crossing the South Platte at Brighton was washed out during the 1965 flood. UP decided not to rebuild and the line was abandon in 1965-66.

There was an old abandon grain elevator at MP 4.2 UP station stop named Yoxall until about 2013. In November 2013 I took some photos of the elevator and discovered 4 all wood boxcars, 2 on each side of the adjoining building on the west side of the elevator. Appeared that they were being used for storage when the elevator was in operation. By the appearance of the box cars they could well have been from the days of the Denver Pacific or other subsidairies of the Union Pacific.

Denver & Boulder Valley RR had originally built this line from Brighton to Boulder to supply Denver Pacific with coal.

Other mile posts from an old UP timetable book show the following:

4.2 Yoxall

7.1 Dick

8.1 St. Vrains

10.9 State Coal Mine

11.4 Park Dale

15.1 Erie (and crossing of C&S)

16.4 Tabor

17.8 Leyner

19.6 Liggett

22.1 White Rock

24.0 Valmont

26.0 C&S Crossing

26.1 Arra

27.6 Boulder

Bill Shepard
Westminster, CO
10/20/2015

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