Old Colorado & Southern Railway Bridge in Denver

One unfortunate casualty of Denver's TREX project* was the old Colorado and Southern Railway bridge over I-25, just north of Evans Avenue. The railroad hadn't been used for years, but its bridge was a neat landmark in south Denver.

* TRansportation EXpansion (widening I-25 and adding light-rail along the corridor through the south metro area, begun 2001).

When my wife was a child, she lived a half-block from the railroad; she and her friends used to flatten pennies on the tracks. Sometimes when a train would go by they'd yell "Chalk!" and one of the workers would throw them a piece of chalk. Between Dahlia and Holly streets, there's a short segment of tracks that still hasn't been torn up. When my kids were little I took them for walks along there, and we'd look for loose rail spikes.

I went and took some photos a couple months before the bridge was dismantled. The shot below was taken from the Evans bridge, looking northwest along I-25 (for reference, the white office building in the center of the photo sits on the west side of Colorado Boulevard):

Below is a close-up from the same perspective, showing the lettering:

Below we're looking the opposite direction; I was standing on the east frontage road that runs between Evans and Colorado. The cars at bottom were on southbound I-25:

Below is a close-up from the same perspective:

The truck was on eastbound Evans; the other cars were southbound on the west frontage road. (I think that old Cameron Motel sign is pretty cool, too.)

The shot below was also taken from the east frontage road, looking west across the old bridge:

That's looking mostly west, but also a bit north, in the middle of an otherwise cardinal street pattern. Even though the tracks between there and Colorado Blvd have been gone for years, you can see how the old right-of-way is still evident from the property lines: note how both structures on the right have the same angle as the railroad. Below we're looking the opposite direction, from the west frontage road:

Someday - when people have forgotten that a train used to run through here - someone's going to be looking at a cadastral map of this area, and they'll see all these odd, slightly-diagonal lot lines and wonder what in the world was going on when this place was laid out...

Ironically, there are now plans to install a new pedestrian bridge over I-25, in almost the same location. It's unfortunate the old rail bridge couldn't have somehow been repurposed for that function.

I've put together a map that shows the historic routing of the Colorado and Southern Railway through the Denver area here.