The Aspen & Western was incorported on 7-Jun-1886, with the goal of connecting the soon-to-arrive narrow gauge rails of the Denver & Rio Grande's Aspen Branch with nearby coal deposits. The new line would be start at Carbondale, CO, and proceed to the southwest along the Crystal River, eventually turning west along Thompson Creek to a mine at Willow Park. Grading was completed by the end of 1887, and the thirteen miles of track where finished in 1888. The route was entirely narrow gauge with 40 pound rails and operated with D&RGW equipment. 1

The route was very short-lived, and certainly never a success. The railroad's owners, the Colorado Coal & Iron Company, realized by early 1889 that the veins were too poor for commercial extraction, and that the mines and coke ovens had been a waste. On 29-Nov-1892, the line was sold to the recently-founded Crystal River Railroad company and subsequently scrapped out. Given the light construction of the line, the remnants were largely used on the Crystal River's Coalbasin branch and in the narrow gauge lines around the Redstone smelter.2

Questions/corrections/comments welcome - email me
Please see our disclaimer.
  Last modified on February 17, 2008, at 08:01 PM
Edit Page | Page History