Colorado Railroad Museum

Here at the Colorado Railroad Museum, we are preserving the Centennial State's railroading heritage for tomorrow--by sharing it with audiences today, in ways that engage and inspire. Thanks to your generous support, we've been doing this important work for over 60 years!

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General Information

Official Name
Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, Inc.​​​​​​​
DBA/Trade Name(s)
Colorado Railroad Museum
Former Name(s)
Date Established
Offers Additional Colorado State Tax Credit
Tax ID
Headquarters Address
17155 West 44th Avenue
Golden, CO 80403
Colorado Location
Mailing Address
Other Address
Main Phone Number
Fax Number
Other Phone Number
Social Media Links

Mission Statement

The mission of the Colorado Railroad Museum is to preserve and convey the rich history of railroading in the Rocky Mountain region through acquisition, research, exhibition, and education.

Organization History

The Colorado Railroad Museum was formed to highlight Colorado's interesting and colorful history of railroading that is unique in the western United States. Railroads have been highly instrumental, not only in shaping Colorado's history, but also in setting its course through the decades by encouraging Colorado's economy, migration, history and culture to flourish.

Through its collections, artifacts, and exhibits, the Colorado Railroad Museum engages its visitors and creates connections to Colorado's past telling the stories of the people who worked and rode and whose lives were touched by the railroad.

The goals of the Colorado Railroad Museum are to
1. Represent railroading history in a hands-on and three dimensional fashion;
2. Preserve and make accessible important historic artifacts, artwork, and documents; and
3. Offer outstanding educational programs to the community.

In 1949, the Museum's co-founder Robert W. Richardson began acquiring locomotives, cars, artifacts and business records from Colorado's historic narrow gauge railroads, which were being rapidly abandoned. Ten years later in 1959, he and Cornelius W. Hauck opened the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado. In 1966, they established the Colorado Railroad Historical Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to own and operate the Museum. Governed by a volunteer board of trustees, Richardson continued on as its Executive Director until his retirement in 1992. Since then, the Museum has developed into the largest repository of primary railroad history for Colorado and the adjacent Rocky Mountain area.

In the late 1990s, a $1.7 million fundraising effort resulted in construction of a climate-controlled library building to house the collection of books, photographs and corporate records and an authentically designed roundhouse and turntable to restore and maintain the historic equipment. Both facilities are open to the public. In addition, the Museum completed an operating loop which now hosts train rides.

The Colorado - focused collection makes it unique among railroad Museums, with over 100 railcars from the 1880's - 1980's that ran through or within Colorado, including operating steam and diesel locomotives, cabooses, passenger coaches, freight cars, and specialized Maintenance of Way cars.

The Museum offers "living history" train rides throughout the year on a 1/3 mile loop of track around the perimeter of the 15 acre grounds. The Museum holds several special events annually in order to continue to introduce the Museum to new audiences, increase return visits and provide an authentic late 19th century railroad experience. Guests can ride behind a steam locomotive in a completely restored 1880's passenger coach with red velvet seats and brass chandeliers. Since 2002 the Museum has hosted the popular "Day Out With Thomas" event to promote interest in railroading to new generations. And since 2014 the Museum has been happy to host am interactive theatrical experience, "The Polar Express Train Ride" as part of our holiday celebration.

The Colorado Railroad Museum has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution, the American
Association for State and Local History, History Colorado, the Jefferson County Historical Commission, and the Golden Landmarks Association for its work in preserving the railroad history of the Rocky Mountain West. The Museum ranks as one of the top 10 railroad Museums in the United States.

Since 1993, the Colorado Railroad Museum has been ranked among the Top 25 Denver-area
historical and cultural attractions by the Denver Business Journal. Since 2008, the Museum has been named as one of the top 10 paid attractions in the Denver area based on the annual Longwoods Study for Visit Denver.

Since 1961 the museum has published over 70 scholarly books and pamphlets on the railroads of Colorado and the West that are internationally recognized by historians.

The Museum hosts numerous school/youth/developmentally disabled groups throughout the year. In addition, the Museum offers a wide variety of educational programs for all ages.

Volunteers play a critical role in all aspects of the Museum. Nearly 300 volunteers annually donate over 38,000 hours of service to the Museum. Volunteers help restore and maintain our collection of railcars and equipment; provide administrative project support; help with train operations; support the care and use of our extensive collection of library resources; act as Hosts and Tour guides to explain and interpret Colorado railroad history; and assist with grounds maintenance.


Quotes from Trip Advisor:

Second time here and still exciting to visit. Our grandsons were enthralled with the trains and listened intently to the history of the cars. Ran from one to the other and called us to show us everything. Was a good day for them and fun for us also. Would definitely recommend a visit.
The Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden, Colorado is a non-profit that has done a superb job in preserving the romance of when trains where king. Steam and diesel locomotives vie for attention along with numerous assorted passenger cars. Each has a special story. In particular, the museum places a special emphasis on narrow-gauge acquisitions -an innovative solution in traversing the difficult mountainous Colorado terrain. Be sure to checkout the Denver Leadville & Gunnison No. 191 - the oldest steam locomotive in the museum's collection. Special trains rides are given on "Steam Up Days". This is a real treat for children and the childhood in all of us.
Absolutely amazing...assembled over many decades by loving experts in railroad equipment and history. You name it, it has it.
Train buff or not a fun family adventure. Special events for the tiny tots and hands on history for us all. Getting to move around and in the different trains are informative and fun. Lots to see and all ages will enjoy.
I added the Colorado Railroad Museum to our Denver vacation itinerary because of our six year old son's love of trains. My husband and I were surprised at how much we loved it too. The museum grounds have so many trains from yesteryear that you're inherently transported back in time. And everyone who works there is super friendly and accommodating.
Whether it is trains, western history or just museums, this is the place to visit. Small enough to easily navigate but with a large collection, it is a train lovers must see.
Railroads built the US and especially the West, and there is no better place to live that history than at the Colorado Railroad Museum. They have hundreds of pieces of railroad history from the 1870's thru cars and engines just a few years removed form active service. Their collection of narrow gauge equipment that built the state of Colorado is especially complete, and they run it behind authentic steam locomotives several times a year.


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