History of the Cripple Creek & Victor Narrow Gauge
The locomotive is a 15 ton iron horse of the 0-4-0 type typical of the early day steam engines so important to the winning of the west. The track goes south out of Cripple Creek, past the old Midland Terminal Wye over a reconstructed trestle, past many historic mines and terminates near the deserted mining camp of Anaconda, then returns back to Cripple Creek.
On June 28th , 1967, Dr. John M. Birmingham opened the Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad for business. The CC&V RR has been carrying passengers ever since. The Railroad has always been a family business, now operated and managed by Jim and his family. John still plays an active role in overseeing the operations of the Railroad.
John Birmingham was born into a railroad family, his father was an engineer for the Union Pacific Railroad and also his grandfather. In 1965 he purchased two locomotives from the Climax Molybdenum mine of Colorado. They were located in Mexico, one was fully operational the second was 60% through a major overhaul. John spent a lot of spare time and vacations to build the railroad, he had help from his friends and family.
The gift shop and ticket office now next to the original Cripple Creek Midland Depot was rescued from the old Midland Terminal line, Originally built in 1894 as the Anaconda station, was moved to Bull Hill after the fire of 1904 destroyed most of Anaconda. It was moved to its present location in 1968. It was impossible to still find a water tower so John had one made of wood by Denver Tank and Reel and moved to its present location.
Today we use three of the narrow gauge locomotives during the summer season. All are coal-fired two foot Narrow Gauge Locomotives. The Number 1 is a Orenstein and Koppel built in 1902 0-4-4-0 articulated mallet. The Number 2 engine is a Henschel built in 1936 0-4-0, built in Germany. The Number 3 is a Porter built in 1927 0-4-0 tank engine. The Number 4 engine is the Bagnall built in 1947 0-4-4-0T, this engine is currently being restored.
Besides the four passenger engines the Railroad owns another locomotive. One is a 1951 General Electric, four wheel, Diesel-Electric engine, originally battery operated for underground work at the Idarado Mine near Telluride. The engine is currently being used by the track crew.