The System of the Electric Lines
-> Found at the Colorado Historic Newspaper site.
Last updated: 2 May, 2016 19:25
The Morning Times, Cripple Creek, Colorado.
Saturday, January 1, 1898
(page 1)
[Images used was not part of article]

A year or more ago Mr. L. D. Ross went to Cripple Creek and with associates began building an electric railroad to couple the towns of the camp.

They had considerable experience in this sort of work in the northwest, and were in position to command large sums of English capital.

View of Trolley climbing Gold Hill up from Poverty Gulch
View of Trolley climbing
Gold Hill up from Poverty Gulch.

This Cripple Creek line is called the Cripple Creek District Railroad and is now constructed, connecting the towns of Cripple Creek and Victor.

The roadbed has been most substantially constructed and is the wonder of those who have seen it. There has been a delay in getting the equipment ready, or this road would have been in full operation ere this.

They use the overhead system of trolley, and it is the intention of the company to start the cars to-day.

Equal in importance is the construction of the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek line which is now under construction. Seven miles of wire have been stretched and the road graded on the west end.

It is being pushed with rapidity.

The city of Colorado Springs has a magnificent system of water works that extend back into the mountains many miles, and there is stored an energy that will move millions of wheels of industry if properly used.

In July a proposition was submitted to the city council asking it to grant the use of this water power to a railroad company for the purpose of generating electricity with which to operate a line to Cripple Creek.

The franchise was given the road, properly hedged with the safeguards to the interests of the people. The rights were placed with Hon. Irving Howbert as trustees.

The railroad company will begin using them in time as the conditions are fulfilled. There is such a tremendous pressure in the pipes that the water will be simple used to turn the wheels of the machinery that generates the electricity.

This will then be distributed along the line by what is known as the three-phase system.

The gentlemen who are building the District road, and others who had become interested in having the lines extended to this city, visited England in the summer and made arrangements for placing $1,500,000 of bonds with which to secure money for the building and equipment of the rest of the line.

The money was subscribed largely by those who own the District road. The bonds have been prepared and all preliminary arrangements made.

So sure are the people interested in the District road that there will be no hitch in the money negotiations that they have already begun work on their power houses.

At the head of the city water works system and about six miles from the camp will be created the first power house.

Some days ago a force of men with proper materials was sent to the site of the proposed power house and began work.They are laying the necessary pipe to divert the water from the city's line through their motor, and are preparing to string wire to Cripple Creek.

The machinery for the power plant has been ordered and is expected to arrive here by the middle of next month. It is proposed to have two and perhaps more stations for generation of electricity along the line.

This one is being put in first because the Cripple Creek end of the line is completed. Six lines of wire are being strung, there being telephone and telegraph wires as well as those that are to carry the power.

A name has not yet been selected for the new line, although it will probably not be called the "District" road after starting east from the camp.

At the Colorado Springs and Cripple Creek end of the route the cars will be operated by the overhead trolley system, as the element of danger is less in that.

Along the main course of the line as it crosses the mountains what will be known as the third-rail system will be used. This has proved a very great success where used in the east.

A third rail is pinched in the middle of the road-bed and a trolley beneath the motor car runs on this, thus receiving the necessary electricity. The third rail is charged with electricity and is fed from wires strung along the course of the road.

The track will be standard gauge and the cars so constructed that they can be attached to any stream railroad train. Every car will be supplied with air brakes the same as steam railroads.

There will be thirty trains a day, including freight. Twenty will be passenger, ten each way, and the time will be a little over one hour between Cripple Creek and Colorado Springs.

The ore will be carried in automatically constructed cars, thus perfecting a system by which ore is handled automatically from the time it leaves the shaft at the mine to its treatment at the mills.

The distance of the Colorado Springs line will be thirty-two miles, connecting with the District system at the horseshoe at the head of Squaw gulch.

The maximum grade is only 7 per cent. This is not a steep grade for mountain railroading, as everyone familiar with Colorado knows.

The Midland exceeds that in Ute pass, and the Rio Grande exceeds it in many places while the cog road to Pike's Peak has a grade of 25 per cent.

It is projected that at Colorado City there shall be built a number of mills and reduction works, and there will be treated the vast quantities of low grade gold ore of Cripple Creek.

With coal just a five miles away that can be mined and hauled at less than $1 a ton, the possibilities of this vicinity for treatment of low grade ore are immense.

It is proposed that the road shall be absolutely independent of any combinations and that only a reasonable profit shall be charged.

Nearly every hole dug in Cripple Creek shows rock that will run as high as $10 a ton. It will be possible to treat all of this at a profit when it can be handled so cheaply, and the supply will be inexhaustible so far as this generation is concerned.


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