Our Organization and History
The Pueblo Railway Foundation (the “PRF”) was formed in 2003 to continue and expand the collection and activities of the Pueblo Locomotive & Railroad Historical Society (PL&RHS). The Pueblo Railway Museum is a program of the PRF. The mission of the Foundation is to operate, preserve, and display railroad equipment and history. By displaying our historic artifacts to the public, our goal is to promote interest in railroading, and the preservation and study of its history, for the education and satisfaction of all. We make this history come alive by operating this rail equipment during public events behind the Pueblo Union Depot, where our visitors can come and ride our trains. In addition, the PRF works with local schools to provide special tours as a class activity, and with the Public Library on summer educational activities. The PRF is an all-volunteer organization, with no paid staff. Administrative and fundraising expenses are minimized in favor of our policy to concentrate on our mission of preserving and interpreting railroad history, and sharing it with others.
Supporting the PRF
We depend upon support from the public, private foundations, corporations and government to acquire and restore railroad artifacts, and conduct our day to day activities. The PRF is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization. Donations, including our membership dues, are tax deductible to the full extent permitted, depending on the donor’s tax situation. We also need donations of goods, services and railway artifacts. Volunteers are needed for historic preservation projects, rail yard maintenance and many other aspects of museum operation. If you can help us in any way, with your time, money or effort, please see our Donations Page.
Pueblo’s Role in Railroading
Pueblo, in southeastern Colorado, has been a major rail and steel center since the late 1800s. Rail, and other steel products manufactured in Pueblo, helped build the railroads which settled the west. The expansion of the railroads contributed to the growth of Pueblo into the largest industrial center west of the Mississippi from 1880 to about 1940. To help the war effort during WWII, new heavy industries, including some new steel mills, began to open in California and other western states. Today, all rail manufactured in the western U.S. originates in Pueblo, just as it did in 1881. For most of Pueblo’s history, the main industry was the steel mill at Colorado Fuel & Iron (CF&I), founded in 1892, now known as Rocky Mountain Steel Mills.
The Colorado & Wyoming Railway (C&W) was formed in 1899 as a subsidiary of CF&I. This railroad transported iron ore from southeastern Wyoming, and coal from the southern Colorado mountains to the Pueblo steel mills until the 1980s. Today, the C&W still maintains a small operation on five miles of track within the steel mill itself. The Pueblo Railway Foundation is proud to maintain the only collection of C&W locomotives and cars in operating condition.
Pueblo is also home to the Transportation Technology Center, one of only a handful of railroad testing facilities in the world. The facility is a subsidiary of the Association of American Railroads. New locomotives and rolling stock, some from abroad, are tested here for performance and safety. In the 1970s, back when the facility was known as the High Speed Ground Test Center, our high-speed train prototypes were tested here.
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