COBWEB CORNERS: Those two railroads
By Mel McFarland
The Colorado Midland and the Midland Terminal are commonly confused. The Colorado Midland officially closed in 1921. The Midland Terminal took over the tracks in Colorado City all the way to Divide. The '20s were years of heavy decline in the Cripple Creek District, plus the Midland Terminal was sorting out what was left of the Colorado Midland. They went from 300 men working at Colorado City in 1918 to less than a hundred in 1928. In 1923 the MT saw its last dollar of profit until 1929. The Golden Cycle Mill, however went through a series of improvements, which included a new power plant at Pikeview, near their coal supply.
The Midland Terminal leaders were working to keep their company afloat when the Great Depression hit. The mining business had been on a decline for the last decade. Many of the Cripple Creek mine owners had not reinvested on improvements in their mines. Many were now in such poor repair that the expense, just for safety was beyond reach. Many of the mines were sold or shut down. The Ute Pass resorts were dying too. The old hotels were giant fire traps; however, some were turned into tuberculosis sanitariums.
The last MT suburban train in the Cripple Creek District was run in 1929. The old equipment that was used on the trains were hard to maintain. They were all that had survived from the F&CC's passenger car fleet. They had been remounted on standard gauge wheels after the last of the narrow gauge track was taken up. The population of the district was in serious decline. In the fall of 1929, the Stock Market crash brought the end of a very short period of prosperity.
The last Midland Terminal passenger train ran in 1931, but the MT's odd little converted Colorado Springs street cars operated almost to the end. Some nice stories are told about the "school bus" yellow cars chugging up the pass, and flying down it! There is a good story about Carl Truman, one person who liked driving those cars. It seems up in Ute Pass he lost the front, guiding, axle, and it landed in a Green Mountain Falls lady's garden! When she called to complain, no one had noticed it was gone!