Relocated at the Railroad’s Request

The first tracks laid across the Little Thompson Valley in 1877 helped the Colorado Central Railroad connect its line between Longmont, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming. At the Berthoud settlement on the Little Thompson river bottom, the company built a house for its section crew and derailed a boxcar to serve as a makeshift depot.

When it was discovered that locomotives had difficulty generating power to ascend from the river bottom, officials let it be known that the town would be relocated to higher ground or the train would no longer stop in the area. To accommodate the railroad the town was moved in the winter of 1883-84.

At the town’s new site rail sidings branched to grain elevators and a flour mill that anchored a downtown business district served by passenger and freight trains operated by the Colorado & Southern Railroad.

Berthoud maintained a contentious relationship with the railroad that came to light in 1905 when the local tabloid complained, “It seems almost a waste of time to say anything about the condition of the depot waiting room in Berthoud. It is a disgrace to the town. The C. & S. Railway owes it to this community to provide comfortable quarters for its patrons, but as it is there is not enough room to accommodate more than half a dozen people. Ladies who are unfortunate enough to have to wait on a train will not go into the dingy waiting room provided for the public. They are forced to wait in nearby stores until the train comes in sight, and then run for it. It is so seldom that a C. & S. train arrives on time that a decent waiting room is necessary.”

Passenger service continued into the 1940s but gave way to freight trains operated by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe (BSNF Railway) that continue to use the railroad today.