Coal Creek Branch Facts
The Coal Branch was part of the original narrow gauge line south from Denver and Colorado Springs via Pueblo. In fact, it was the very southern tip of the line, finished to tap coal mines along Coal Creek. The line was a result of the east-west route turning south in downtown Florence, CO, and following Coal Creek about three miles south to a point called Coal Banks. By 1874, however, when the mainline was again pushing west to Canon City (and would eventually become the Pueblo-Salida Royal Gorge Route), the line became just another branch.
As part of the great standard gauge conversion of 1887, the Coal Branch, along with the Royal Gorge Route from Coal Branch Junction (near downtown Florence) east to Pueblo was the first route converted to dual gauge. Presumably the branch was converted to pure standard gauge with the rest of the mainline in 1911. The route was abandoned in 1924 with the closure of the mines.