Colorado mining districts in general were well railroaded; some were actually over-railroaded. Larger lines swallowed up smaller lines, following a trend in the rest of the industrial United States late in the century. The Union Pacific ended up controlling both the Colorado Central and the Denver and South Park. The overextended D&RG fell from William Palmer’s hands to Easterners, but eventually took over both the Rio Grande Southern and Florence and Cripple Creek lines.


Mining could not prosper without railroads, but the railroads were not guaranteed profits. Unfortunately, because of high construction expenses, most lines were built on credit, financed by investors who expected profits to start rolling in once the trains reached their destination. That did not always happen. Further, the railroads were not always managed well. Far too many suffered from chancery, dishonesty, and stock manipulations, and even the most honest management often faced local, state, and national issues and requirements that could derail the company. The railroad/mining connection was a marriage of necessity, not always love.


Each needed and depended on the other, even though they often had complaints and concerns. Except for those few districts fortunate enough to have more than one railroad connection, the relationship could be contentious. Mining communities and districts did not want to be under the thumb of just one railroad, with limited train schedules and no competition for lower rates.