Carlton Tunnel - Leadville, CO
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member 94RedRover
N 39° 14.918 W 106° 28.250
13S E 373082 N 4345399
The Carlton Tunnel, once called the Busk-Ivanhoe, was built in 1893, making train passage over the Hagerman Pass from Aspen to Leadville less expensive and more secure.
Waymark Code: WM72FB
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 08/23/2009
Published By:Groundspeak Premium Member Team GeoDuo
Views: 11

Hagerman Pass was once a road used to ship mining supplies and ore over the mountain passes from Leadville to Aspen and Vail. By 1880, Leadville was the second largest town in Colorado, being the center of the gold and silver rushes.

There were at least five narrow gauge railroads that crossed the Continental Divide and brought supplies to Leadville. The narrow gauge was less expensive to run, as the rails were lighter and smaller, making construction through the rugged passes easier. The disadvantage of the narrow gauge was its smaller load capacity.

In 1887, James John Hagerman, then president of the Colorado Midland Railroad (CMR), decided to build a line from Leadville to Aspen and beyond to Grand Junction. Using his New York investor's money, Hagerman built the first standard gauge rail to cross the Continental Divide. Along this route, the line ran through the Hagerman Tunnel which bored through the mountain at 11,530 feet.

Maintenance and operation of the Hagerman Tunnel cost more than the Colorado Midland could afford. In 1893, the Busk-Ivanhoe Tunnel, later renamed the Carlton Tunnel, was built 600 feet lower, making the line less expensive to keep running. The Colorado Midland could not afford to build the tunnel themselves, so a new company, the Busk Tunnel Railway, was created to build the tunnel and lease it to CMR, which would charge tolls based on the amount of traffic.

Financial troubles never did settle involving the rails over the Hagerman Pass. Ownership of the tunnel changed hands often, and the last train to travel through the Carlton Tunnel was in 1919. The line was dismantled in 1921.

The Colorado Midland dissolved in 1922, but the Carlton Tunnel became a part of Highway 104 and was opened to automobile traffic. As the tunnel was wide enough for only one vehicle, the tunnel was never repaired after a collapse in 1943. Now the tunnel is used as part of a water diversion project.
Construction: Wood Timber

Condition: Collapsed

Rail Status: No

Current status: Unused & Hazardous

Original Use: Mining

Tunnel Length: 9,400.00


Website: [Web Link]

Date Built: 1893

Date Abandoned: 1943

The "Other End": Not Listed

Suggested Parking Area: Not Listed

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