Welcome to the website of the Pueblo Railway Museum
The Pueblo Railway Museum is part of the Pueblo Railway Foundation, a 501(c)3 tax-deductible organization. All the equipment and railcars belong to either the Foundation, or are on loan by their owners who are also Museum members.
Our Mission Statement
The Mission of the Pueblo Railway Foundation is to Operate, Preserve, and Display railroad equipment and history.
The Pueblo Railway Foundation and Museum are funded in part by the City of Pueblo and the County of Pueblo, through annual grants awarded by the Community Services Advisory Commission.
Welcome to our website!
For this new website, launched in February of 2021, we have taken the opportunity to renovate the site to make it more modern, more mobile-friendly, more informative, and more intuitive. Our goal with this website is to make it a significant resource for historical information about the items in our railroad collection. This website also features interesting facts about the history of railroading in Pueblo and the surrounding area.
The continuing development of this new website represents an ongoing commitment by the PRF to fulfill the educational aspect of its mission. We welcome your feedback.
Hours of Operation
You can visit our Museum during one of our public events, or visit any time during daylight hours behind the Pueblo Union Depot for a self-guided tour. You can also call our Tour Guide, Ron Roach, at 719-544-1773 for a guided tour of our restoration shop where there is even more to see! For details on all the different ways you can visit our Museum, click here.
The James N. Lhotak Digital Exhibition
In October 2022, the Pueblo Railway Museum was the recipient of a very special donation – a collection of hundreds of railroad artifacts from the estate of James Lhotak. James N. “Jim” Lhotak was a railroad machinist with the Denver & Rio Grande Western railroad from 1963 to 1998. Jim was a photography buff for all of his adult life, travelled extensively, and was a collector of railroad-themed artifacts and estates.
During Jim’s time at the Rio Grande, one of his coworkers at the old Burnham shops in Denver was Jon F. Bockelman, another machinist. Mr. Bockelman’s career at the railroad began as a Machinist Apprentice in 1956, when he was barely 19 years old. Jon worked as a Journeyman Machinist and Diesel Maintenance Supervisor, before retiring as a Wheel Shop Supervisor in 1993. Jon, like Jim, was an avid photographer, and loved to travel around the state, taking pictures of trains at every opportunity. Jon’s wife worked for an airline, so the couple would frequently plan many of their trips just to take pictures of trains. In the words of his daughter Leigh Turchen, “His whole life was trains. And taking pictures of them brought him a joy that the rest of us never understood, but respected.”
When Jon passed away at age 80 in January 2018, his widow reached out to Jim Lhotak to receive Jon’s collection of railroad photos. Jim jumped at the chance to help preserve those unique artifacts. Jim then passed away on December 4, 2020, at age 83. Jim’s combined collections of railroad memorabilia, gathered over decades from a number of estates, passed to his daughter Donna, a resident of Brighton, Colorado.
In search of a good home for the collection, Donna did what any of us would do – she typed “railroad museum” into Google. After being turned down by the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Donna contacted the Pueblo Railway Museum in August 2022. Because part of our stated mission at the Pueblo Railway Foundation is to preserve railroad history, we at the Foundation recognize the historical significance of a collection such as this. We are honored and very thankful to have been considered for this generous donation.
The collection includes original photos, train-themed calendars, railroad history books, timetables, postcards, model railroad magazines, vinyl LPs, newspaper articles, engine specification cards, train tickets, and internal railroad periodicals such as Rio Grande’s “Green Light”.
We have begun the long task of digitizing the hundreds of artifacts in this collection. We have begun posting items from this collection on our Instagram page. We look forward to comments from those of you who lived the history that is portrayed by these artifacts. Your stories and feedback will add greatly to the enjoyment and interest for our online railfans. If you are not yet a follower of our Instagram, please consider joining us on this journey through history at https://www.instagram.com/pueblorailwaymuseum/.
Train Rides at the Depot, Saturday, May 20
The Pueblo Railway Museum will host its next public train ride event on Saturday, May 20. Train rides will be available from 11AM to 3PM behind the Pueblo Union Depot. Train ride tickets are $15 for a ride in the engine, and $10 for a ride in one of our three cabooses. Children under 3 ride the train free! Cash or check only, please. Train ride tickets can only be purchased during the events. Purchase your tickets at our Gift Shop, a converted caboose behind the Depot, near where the trains depart. Each train ride is approximately 20 minutes, so there will be multiple opportunities during the event to ride the train.
There is no admission fee to attend the event itself. The charge is only for the train ride.
For a list of all of our planned events in 2023, click here.
To receive news about our upcoming events, follow our blog. Enter your email address on the bottom of this web page and click the “follow” button.
An egg-celent Easter Bunny Express!
On Saturday, April 8, the Pueblo Railway Museum kicked off its 2023 train ride season. We had a good turnout of riders to keep all of us busy. The train crew all gathered at 9am to start prepping for the day’s activities. With a quick check of our crossings, some grease on the curve, and a crew briefing, we left the D Street Shop right on time to make it to the Pueblo Union Depot for the start of our event. The car attendants and platform agent did a great job helping to load and unload passengers safely for each trip. We received a lot of positive feedback and comments from the riders. The train crew did a great job, making for another fun, safe day of running our trains.
Visitors to this event were treated to a special surprise. The Union Avenue Express, shown in one of the photos below, made a rare public appearance. Some of our museum volunteers recently spent some time giving this engine some much needed attention. They got it working again, much to the delight of our Easter event attendees!
Thanks to all of the volunteers who helped make this event a success:
Traincrew: Justin Cesar, Colin Mellin, Reid Adams, Tyler Seeley, Dwight Maxey
Platform: Kendall Crouch
Tickets/gift shop: Ron Roach
Last but not least, John McDowell kept kids entertained in the Bunny Hutch!
To receive news on our upcoming events in 2023, follow our blog. Enter your email address on the bottom of this webpage, and click the “follow” button.
Photos by Ron Roach, Dwight Maxey, and Tyler Seeley
As the effects of the pandemic continue to linger, it may seem difficult at times to get out and visit railroad museums like ours to learn about the history of the railroads in our great state of Colorado. Nevertheless, opportunities do exist online for learning about railroad history and how the railroads of yesterday continue to impact our lives today. The history is just a few clicks away, does not require facemasks to access, and is accessible from home.
Be aware, exposure to history seems dull at first, but can become addictive. As recreational travel gradually becomes more “normal” again, consider a journey to some of Colorado’s many historic railroad sites, and find yourself lost in thought about the people, technologies, and cultures that created the USA.
To get you started on this journey, we recommend information about Colorado railroads, since the Pueblo Railway Foundation is based in Pueblo, Colorado, but also because the railroads had a great deal of impact (both good and bad) on the history of our great state.
The “Learn More” button below will take you to a page which has several links to the History Colorado website. We hope you enjoy the journey.
Copyright © 2023, Pueblo Railway Foundation