By Virginia McConnell Simmons
Only a few ghostly vestiges of the Denver, South Park and Pacific Railroad remind us today of challenges that once played a role in the daily life of Central Colorado. This legendary narrow-gauge line, sometimes called “The Damn Slow Pulling and Pretty Rough Riding,” battled blizzards, floods, rockslides, derailments, corporate competition, and, far from least, human courage and hardship. Trains ran summer and winter on rails that crossed the Continental Divide in three places, burrowing through Alpine Tunnel (11,523 el.) to Gunnison County, and topping Boreas Pass (11,482 el.) and Fremont Pass (11,318 el.) to the Blue River and Leadville.