A large swath of land situated between Interstate 25 and the Denver’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood could see a major repurposing in a way that would impact area transportation infrastructure.
The Burnham Yards has serviced trains for more than 100 years. At the height of its operations was the location for not only dozens of interconnecting railroad tracks, but also upholstery shops, a blacksmith, and a foundry.
Built by the Denver and Rio Grande Railway in 1874, the yard, eventually owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, was finally closed in early 2016.
Since then state and city leaders, along with Union Pacific officials have been trying to imagine a new use for the property, which remains populated with buildings in varying conditions.
Now, the Colorado Department of Transportation has announced that it is on the verge of purchasing the site with the goal of using the space as the home for a new passenger rail system.
The CDOT is also interested in the site because it could provide space for a possible sectional realignment of I-25 in the downtown Denver area.
The physical transformation of the Burnham Yard would obviously be a large project that would take years to be realized.
For now, CDOT officials have confirmed that a purchase agreement for the land may be announced sometime before the end of the year, with the deal finalized in early 2020.
According to Historic Denver, the yards’ existence was vital to area rail development in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
“The only way the Denver & Rio Grande could build a rail line in a remote wilderness hundreds of miles from the nearest metropolis and then successfully maintain that line and its rolling stock,” notes the publication, “was with a bustling repair shop like Burnham Yards.”
By Garry Boulard
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