All aboard the Prairie Dog Express

 

Courtesy of Rodney and Maxine Soppe

A steam locomotive pulls its consist across a trestle crossing at Crow Creek west of Carpenter. This was a popular picnic area at the time.

During the years before and through the 1950s, a train ran daily from Cheyenne o Sterling, Colorado. The train would run one direction one day and return the following day.

The route included the town of Arcola, which no longer exists, and was northwest of Carpenter.

Arcola had a water tower to provide water for the steam engine. The route continued to Carpenter, then on to Hereford and then to Grover, Colo. From there, it went to New Raymer, past the Pawnee Buttes and Stoneman, then to Sterling.

Several of these towns had depots for passenger transportation. The depot at Grover is still standing. There are a lot of people in these communities that remember these trains and have ridden them.

The trains were used primarily for shipping grain and livestock.

It was during the 1970s when the track tracks and all of the ties were removed after several years of no activity.

Today, you can still see the dirt mounds on which the tracks were built, snaking along past the Hereford ranch and through the towns previously mentioned.

Imagine the amount of work it work to build the track mounds for that many miles; many times using only horse power before machines were available.


 

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