The original rail corridor from Denver to Golden via Lakewood was constructed in 1892 as the Denver, Lakewood & Golden. In 1909, it was sold to the Denver & Inter-Mountain Railway, and was shortly electrified. By 1914 it was merged into the unified Denver Tramway system. Electric passenger service ended in 1950, and electrified freight ended three years later. The line passed to the Associated Railroad after the Denver Tramway ceased rail operations, and was operated to the Federal Center over the years by the AT&SF, C&S, and D&RGW. Eventually, freight traffic ceased and the line lay dormant for several decades. In 2009, the route was resurrected as RTD's West Corridor, the first light rail expansion of RTD's FasTracks program.
Car 25 was built in 1911 for the Denver & Inter-Mountain Railway, an electric interurban running between Denver and Golden. Eventually merged into the Denver Tramway, Car 25 continued to run Route 84 until 1950. Most of the Denver Tramway system was cape gauge (3'6"), and thus the standard gauge D&IM cars stayed on their home rails. When trolley operations ceased in 1950, the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club stepped in to save the car. Today it exists as the sole surviving example of Denver's trolleys.
Thirteen years ago, Club members started restoring Car 25. With the investment of tens of thousands of dollars and volunteer hours, the car was restored to full functionality and its original green 1911 appearance.
In 2010, the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club sold D&IM 25 to a nonprofit partnership between the City of Lakewood and the Denver Heritage Rail Society (operators of the Platte Valley Trolley), known as the West Corridor Rail Historical Cooperative. The intention is provide for the ongoing care and exhibition of Car 25 along its original rails, with the possibility of rails to operate on sometime in the future. The current focus of the WCHRC is to raise funds for the ongoing preservation of Car 25 and for its new home, the Oak Street Transit Museum and Restoration Center.
The Oak Street Transit Museum and Restoration Center will be colocated with RTD's West Corridor Oak Street Station in Lakewood. It will consist of two main areas - one bay for electric transit-related restoration and maintenace work and a large two story area for exhibiting Car 25 and other historic transit artifacts. In a later phase of the project, as the neighborhood is developed, plans include a track loop with overhead wire, running from the car barn up to Colfax and back to the west. Also, plans include switches into the RTD West Corridor main, so that the car can be moved between the Lakewood facility and the Platte Valley Trolley route.
On February 19, the West Corridor Rail Historical Cooperative hosted an event in the Lakewood Civic Center to honor the volunteers who saved and rebuilt Car 25. In addition to recognition, the event also included the public unveiling of the Oak Street Museum plans and a kick-off for fundraising.
The new structure has an estimated cost of $1.8M. Of that, $42k has been spent already on planning and engineering work. The WCHRC's goal is to raise $500k by the end of the year and the full amount by 2013, so that the Oak Street facility can open in conjunction with the West Corridor.
To that end, the Rocky Mountain Railroad Club has put forth a matching grant. In honor of Car 25's 100th birthday, they'll match up to $25k of donations for the next 100 days. (That means the deadline is 30 May 2011.) If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation to move the project forward, see the donation form at the bottom of the pictures.
Front row, left to right - Bruce Vincent, West Corridor Rail Historical Cooperative board member; Michelle Nierling, WCRHC Director of Operations; Roger Wadnal, WCHRC board member. Back row, left to right - Dave Schaaf, RMRRC president; Ed Peterson, Lakew
Unveiling the model for the planned Oak Street station, museum, and car shop. From left to right: Tom Peyton, Joe Priselac, Darrell Arndt, Les Nelson, and Jim Hurt - some of the volunteers with hundreds or thousands of hours invested in Car 25's restorati