The Como Project
Watch the Como Video
The Como Project is an effort  to preserve and restore a segment of the old Denver South Park & Pacific railway complex in Como, Colorado. The three main railway structures in the complex are the Train Depot, Railway Hotel and Stone Roundhouse together with original bunk houses and track car sheds. This project is a joint effort of the following people and organizations.


 > The Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society
 > South Park Rail Society
 > Dr. Chuck Brantigan
 > Bill and Greg Kazel
 > David Tomkins (Como Depot & Hotel)


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“The Como Project” has so far establishing the limited operation of a steam locomotive and passenger car between the Como Depot and Roundhouse. However, we are also planning a possible extension towards the King Branch Wye in the future. This project also involves the South Park Rail Society's acquisitions and restoration of DSP&P and related railroad's rolling stock and equipment that will work in concert with the DSP&P Historical Society’s efforts to establish a similar collection of smaller items from these same railways in the Como Depot Museum.

The project will also explore the re-installation of a period correct machine shop or similar in the Como Roundhouse for public exhibition along with the possible reconstruction of the boiler house. Further, the project would see the construction of a replica water tank for the locomotive(s) use on the same site as the original structure that was removed from Como in the 1930s.
 



 Link to DSP&PHS
 Link to Como Depot
Train Depot
Como Hotel
Roundhouse
This train station was built by the original Denver, South Park & Pacific Railway back in 1879. For 60 years it was the center for trains entering and leaving town but by 1939, the last Colorado & Southern train left town and the old depot fell into disrepair as shown in the video below from 2006.
The Hotel was built in the summer of 1897 and is one of only 2 buildings constructed for the Denver Leadville and Gunnison Railroad. The Railroad called the building The South Park Hotel but it was known locally as the Como Eating House. In 1978 the Restaurant reopened and traded as the Como Depot.

The Hotel, Depot and Roundhouse form the Como Railroad District on The National Historic Register. The Restaurant is not open at this time but rooms are available and can be booked through AirBnB. Click the blue button below for more details.
The Como Roundhouse, built by Italian stonemasons in 1881. It served as the maintenance center for all the locomotives working out of Como. The roundhouse eventually included the original 6 stalls plus two wooden additions bringing the total to 19 stalls by 1900. After the railway left town in 1939, the original stone structure was used for varies purposes including a Sawmill in the 1950s and by the 1970s the building's future looked bleak. 
2006 Depot Video
The Como depot is now owned by Como resident David Tomkins and thanks to his efforts combined with that of the Denver South Park & Pacific Railway Historical Society, the depot has been restored to his former glory. The DSP&P Historical Society now lease the depot and are developing a museum of South Park railway artifacts.

Photo: Mark Baldwin

The roundhouse was bought by Mr. Bill Kazel in 1984. Bill and his son, Greg began restoring the building and by 1995 the roof on the roundhouse was replaced, windows were installed and the engine bay doors were repaired or replaced. 

In 2001 Dr. Chuck and Kathy Brantigan became the new  of the owners of the roundhouse. Since the Brantigan's have owned the roundhouse it has been repainted and additional masonry work has been done. Today the roundhouse has been leased to the South Park Rail Society. The current plan involves developing two stalls into a locomotive serving area where our steam locomotive and other equipment will live. We will also be replicating the original wooden floor throughout the building and developing it into a public museum.
 Stay at the Como Hotel
2015 Depot Video
Como Depot Facebook
Read More
Return Steam
    To Como
 Rebuilding
  The Track
The Turntable
One of the primary goals of the South Park Rail Society is to return an operational steam locomotive to Como. To accomplish this we acquired a 1912 Baldwin locomotive that has been running in Como since August of 2017.












This locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1912 for the Klondike Mines Railway that operating in the Klondike region of The Yukon Territory of Canada. The railway operated with three second hand locomotive but in December 1911, the railway placed an order for a brand new locomotive.  This new locomotive was built by the Baldwin Locomotive Works in 1912 and given the number 4. She would work for two years in the Territory to service the extensive gold mining claims along Bonanza Creek near Dawson City which was the center of the famous Klondike Gold Rush of 1898.
 
Klondike #4 worked out of Dawson City and nearby Klondike City until the railway was closed down in 1913. Later, with the outbreak of World War II, Klondike #4 was shipped south by steamboat to the famed White Pass & Yukon Railway where she operated until 1952 when it was retired and put on display in Skagway, Alaska.

In 1955, Klondike #4 was shipped south to be used on a number of smaller tourist railways before we were able to bring this locomotive to Como, Colorado. Today, #4 is steamed up for special events and weekends throughout the summer seasons offering the public short train rides around the rebuilt Como railyard. 


The track laying project is being accomplished by the Denver South Park & Pacific Railway Historical Society. For decades, the DSP&PRHS has been working to preserve historic railway sites that were once part of the Denver South Park & Pacific RR including restorations of the Buena Vista depot and the west side of the Alpine Tunnel. Part of these efforts has been to relay a portion of narrow gauge track on the original right of way. Currently there are examples of their work located on Kenosha Pass and Windy Point on the route over Boreas Pass.

The DSP&PRHS wanted to also add some trackage to the front of the newly restored Como Depot. However, what started as a simple plan of relaying a few feet of rail has evolved into a much more in-depth effort that will see a good portion of the original railyard being revived.
















The rail and track materials have come from donations from the Georgetown Loop RR and the South Park Rail Society so far, but more track will be obtained and more volunteers needed. If you would like to help out, please contact the DSP&P Historical Society at the link below.
Mr. Bill Kazel sold the Como Roundhouse in 2001. However, this did not end his involvement with the old historic building. Bill and his son, Greg have continued to do general maintenance on the building over the last 15 years.

One thing Bill wanted to have completed before he "retires" is the installation of an operational turntable. In 2016 the old turntable pit was excavated and the following year the concrete repaired and the turntable was made operational on August 19, 2017. 
  

Photo: John Meixel

 Link to DSP&PHS
                            The Como Water Tank
  
Water tanks were a critical piece of infrastructure for railways ever since the beginning; and Como is no exception. The Como railyard had at least 4 different water tanks over the years with the last one being removed by the Colorado & Southern Railway shortly after it abandoned the railway in 1938.

However, with the return of Steam to Como, the need for a reliable water supply has returned as well. Currently we are very fortunate to have the support of the Jefferson Como Fire District but we do not want to take advantage of their generosity so we need to establish our own locomotive water supply. Also, it is part of our mission to preserve what currently remains of the Como Railyards and reconstruct what has been removed over the years. So a new water tank fits our needs and our overall mission.

The reconstructed water tank would be a replica of the Colorado & Southern's standard design 50,000 gallon tank and build using the original footing that are still in place today. Along with supplying water for the Como locomotives, it will also supply water to the roundhouse for fire protection and be made available to the local Fire District when the need arises.

With a locomotive in the roundhouse and the turntable nearly completed, this water tank will become our next major project in Como. If you would like to help with the Como Water Tank Project, Please consider a donation and mark your donation "Water Tank".  Checks or money orders can be sent to:

South Park Rail Society
2253 N. Downing St.
Denver, CO 80205​


The South Park Rail Society is a registered Colorado non-profit 501(c)(3) and as such all donations are tax deductible, and receipts can be provided.  


The Como Water Tank in the 1930s

The Como Roundhouse Project
Current Plans for the Como Roundhouse and its Future

The Roundhouse is a major part of the overall Como Project's effort  to preserve and restore a segment of the old Denver South Park & Pacific railway complex in Como, Colorado. The three main railway structures in the complex are the Train Depot, Railway Hotel and Stone Roundhouse along with a collection of smaller structures.

In 2016 the Como roundhouse was leased to the South Park Rail Society. Our current effort involves developing two of the roundhouse's stalls into a locomotive serving area where our  locomotive will live in the near future. We will also be replicating the original wooden floor throughout the building and developing the roundhouse into a public museum focused on the railway history of the South Park and its influence on the people of Como and Park County. 

Members of the Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society and the South Park Rail Soceity are currently working on rebuild a portion of the original railyard around the roundhouse property.

A common question is "How far will the new track go"? Well, the answer is "Not Too Far". There are no plans or intentions of building a tourist railroad out of Como. Rather, the plan is to operate a steam locomotive around the rebuilt railyard for special events and focus our efforts more on the preservation of rolling stock and the original structures of the Como Railway Complex. There is discussion about exploring a possible extension towards the King Branch Wye one mile north of Como but that is not part of the current Como Project.

It needs to be recognized that the current preservation efforts of the South Park Rail Society would not be possible if it was not for the vision, work and money of a number of people that came before us. People like Bill and Greg Kazel that saved the roundhouse in the 1980s or Chuck and Kathy Brantigan that have invested their own money into maintaining it to this day.

The efforts of David Tomkins also need to be recognized. Together with History Colorado they were able to save the Train depot from collapse and even today, Mr. Tomkins has focused his own resources into restoring and renovating the Como Hotel. Due to his efforts, we can now stay in the same hotel rooms that the passengers of the Colorado & Southern Railway did over a hundred years ago.

For many years, the Denver South Park & Pacific Historical Society and it's current President Bob Schoppe have worked to save and preserve the history of the South Park Line. However, their efforts have not only been centered on saving the Como Depot but the entire DSP&P and it's remains. Today, they still work to promote the preservation of the history and artifacts of the Denver, South Park & Pacific RR and related railroads.

Currently, the DSP&P Historical Society has leased the Como Depot which they are developing as a Museum/Visitor Center. While the roundhouse will be the center for restoring the “big stuff” the depot, under the leadership of the DSP&PHS will continue to tell the story of the South Park Line.

 Link to Roundhouse  
       History Page

Since this photo by Gregory Monroe was taken in 2013, the turntable has been removed for repairs and the pit has been excavated. Also seen here is DSP&P boxcar #608 which was saved by SPRS Director Jason Midyette. After a full restoration this rare boxcar will become one of the display items that will call the roundhouse home.
 

Here is another boxcar that will be soon returning home to Como. Colorado & Southern boxcar #8027 was built in 1898 and is currently owned by one of the Directors of the South Park Rail Society. 
 

If you would like to help with the Como Preservation Effort, please consider a donation to the current railcar project.
Ship & Retore Railcars for Como

Here is a map of the original railyards located in Como. The plan is to replicate a portion of the original yards (drawn in blue) as close to the original as possible. The structures marked in red are currently standing, original structures. The yellow structures will be possible future projects that we may reconstruct in the future. 
 

How You Can Help
 
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that the “Como Project” is a big job and help is always welcome and appreciated. However, there are many ways to help. Here are just a few.
 
Financial
Funding is an ongoing need for any non-profit organization. However, by having the support of many dedicated volunteers the funds raised can go directly into lasting accomplishments like facility restoration, track construction or rolling stock acquisition. Please consider a donation to the overall "Como Project" or to a specific project of your choice. Checks or money orders can be sent to:

South Park Rail Society
2253 N. Downing St.
Denver, CO 80205


The South Park Rail Society is a registered Colorado non-profit 501(c)(3) and as such all donations are tax deductible, and receipts can be provided.  
Como roundhouse in the distance with the turntable lead track to the left and the "Old Main" starting off to the right.
Equipment Donations
Funding is only one way to support the Como Project. Many of the most important donations are the ones of tools and equipment that our volunteers use to complete the projects. If you have any of the equipment listed below and would like to donate it to the South Park Rail Society, we would love to hear from you.
Contact South Park Rail Society

Woodworking tools
Power tools
Table saw and Band saw
Miter saw or Radial arm saw
Grinders ( Hand and Bench )
Pipe benders
Pipe threaders
Cutting torch set
Welders
Wrenches
Hand tools
Tool boxes
Bolt bins
Extension cords
Hammers
Screw drivers
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Shop Vacuum
Paint supplies
Small Lathe
Milling machine
Drill presses
Drill bits
Work benches
Chains, slings and lifting equipment
Anvil
Hand trucks and dollies
Portable Compressor 
Rail Drill
Rail Saw
Small tractor
A Backhoe
Forklift
The South Park Rail Society is a registered Colorado non-profit 501(c)(3) and as such all donations are tax deductible, and receipts equal to the value of your donated equipment can be provided.