1880: Denver & Rio Grande Railroad wins right to lay track up the Royal Gorge to the Upper Arkansas Valley

1880: D&RG track laid into settlement of South Arkansas, now called Salida

› 1880: Denver, South Park & Pacific Railroad track laid to Arkansas River at Buena Vista (DSP&P subsequently gains access to D&RG track to Leadville through a previously arranged shared-track agreement)

1880: First D&RG train arrives in Leadville, carrying former President Ulysses S. Grant

› 1880: D&RG completes spur line from Leadville over Fremont Pass to mining camps of Kokomo and Robinson

1881: D&RG completes main line over Marshall Pass toGunnison

› 1881: D&RG completes spur line from Salida to Calumet mine north of Salida

1881: D&RG completes spur line from Salida to Monarch limestone quarry

1881: D&RG completes spur line from Salida over Poncha Pass to San Luis Valley

1881: D&RG completes main line from Leadville over Tennessee Pass

› 1882: DSP&P completes Alpine Tunnel between Buena Vista and Gunnison

1887: Colorado Midland Railroad, first standard-gauge railroad in the Upper Arkansas Valley and first standard-gauge railroad to cross Continental Divide in Colorado, arrives in Buena Vista and Leadville

› 1887: Colorado Midland completes Hagerman Tunnel

1889: Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad (D&RGW), successor to the D&RG, begins converting narrow-gauge main line to standard gauge

1889: Salida becomes transfer point for all narrow-gauge and standard-gauge freight moving through the Upper Arkansas Valley

› 1889: Marshall Pass narrow-gauge line becomes a secondary route

› 1893: Colorado Midland completes Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel to replace Hagerman Tunnel to Glenwood Springs and Aspen

› 1899: Colorado & Southern Railway takes over DSP&P

› 1906: D&RGW begins “Scenic Limited” service (long-distance passenger train from Denver to Salt Lake City, Utah; continues operating until 1946)

› 1910: Colorado & Southern abandons Alpine Tunnel

› 1918: Colorado Midland ceases passenger and freight operations; line is scrapped in 1921

› 1926: Colorado & Southern abandons line between Buena Vista and Alpine Tunnel

1937: Last Colorado & Southern passenger train between Leadville and Denver; only the narrow-gauge spur line between Leadville and Climax Molybdenum Mine continues operating

› 1941: D&RGW acquires first diesel-electric locomotives

› 1943: Colorado & Southern converts Leadville-to-Climax narrow-gauge line to standard gauge to keep vital transportation line to mine open during wartime (molybdenum had been designated a strategic metal)

› 1945: D&RGW completes new, lower tunnel at Tennessee Pass on main line

› 1946: D&RGW’s “Royal Gorge” passenger train between Denver and Grand Junction begins operating (continues until 1967)

› 1953: Marshall Pass line to Gunnison abandoned; rails removed in 1955

1956: End of steam power on D&RGW

› 1956: D&RGW converts Monarch spur line from narrow gauge to standard gauge

› 1982: Monarch spur line between Salida and Monarch limestone quarry is abandoned and rails removed

› 1982: Climax molybdenum mine suspends operations (it later resumes operations)

› 1986: Colorado & Southern ends freight service on Leadville-to-Climax line

1988: Leadville, Colorado & Southern Railroad’s summer excursion train begins operations on former Leadville-to-Climax line

› 1988: Rio Grande Industries Inc., D&RGW holding company, acquires Southern Pacific Railroad

›  1996: Southern Pacific merges with Union Pacific Railroad

› 1996: Union Pacific files to discontinue service on Tennessee Pass line

› 1997: Last steam-powered passenger train, Union Pacific No. 844, comes through Salida on special excursion run to Salt Lake City

› 1997: Last regularly scheduled, long-distance Union Pacific freight train to pass through the Upper Arkansas Valley makes its final run on the Tennessee Pass Line

› 1999: Last Union Pacific local or work trains operate to pick up ore concentrates at ASARCO’s Black Cloud mine in old Leadville mining district

— Lynda La Rocca