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/.

Follow our blog to get updates on our 2023 events!

The Pueblo Railway Museum has entered its “off season”, with the next train ride event planned for Easter weekend. To stay up to date on our events for the coming year, follow our blog. Enter your email address on the bottom of this webpage, and click the “follow” button.

To give you an idea of what our events are like, check out our YouTube channel, which has lots of cool videos showing some of our past events. Click here for a list of videos.

Our Pueblo Express Christmas trains were a great success!

On Saturday, December 10, the Pueblo Railway Museum ran the first Christmas train event for 2022. We had a very good turnout with just over 100 visitors enjoying the train ride and visiting Santa and Mrs. Claus. On Friday and Saturday evening, December 16 and 17, we had very good visitor turn out, with nearly 150 on Friday evening, and well over 200 on Saturday evening! This makes for a very busy evening for the volunteers, but it is also very fun. Despite very cold temperatures, people were having fun, and we kept all warm in our toasty cabooses and locomotive cab. On Saturday, December 24, the Museum ran its final event for our Christmas Trains for 2022. It was a great evening for a train ride, as the cold snap from the previous two days had moved out of town, and the temperatures were nice. We had a good turn out of visitors with 149 people enjoying a short train ride and the Christmas atmosphere among our train collection. We also had nearly 200 folks check out our Christmas-themed model train layout inside our boxcars!

Thanks to the nearly two dozen volunteers for their time, especially on Christmas Eve, to make these three weekends so enjoyable for our guests.

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.

Railroading History

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