Stories Along the Line: Stock Show Station
As RTD FasTracks develops light rail, commuter rail and bus rapid transit service, we'll offer a snapshot of some things you might see along the way. We hope you enjoy the ride.
Before you board: North Metro Rail about to break ground
FasTracks will break ground March 20 on the North Metro Rail Line, one of four electric commuter rail lines that will debut in Denver over the next four years.
Area where the future 124th-Eastlake station will be located on the North Metro Rail Line
The lines are part of RTD's ambitious plan to expand transit across the Denver region. Slated to open in 2018, the first segment of the North Metro Rail will depart from Denver Union Station and run through Denver, Commerce City, Thornton, and Northglenn.
RTD FasTracks partnered with prime contractor Regional Rail Partners (RRP) to build out the line's first phase to 124th Avenue, with options to extend it to 162nd Avenue-State Highway 7 in North Adams County as funding becomes available.
The first phase will feature six stations, including the National Western Stock Show Station.
Next stop: Stock Show and Rodeo
After North Metro Rail trains depart Union Station, the first stop will be the National Western Stock Show Station. Passengers disembarking from trains will be able to walk about one block to reach the National Western Stock Show Complex beginning in 2019.
The Stock Show Station will be built near the Denver Stockyards for the new North Metro Rail Line.
It will be kind of like the way it was 110 years earlier. When the stock show Stadium Arena was completed in 1909 a streetcar line
brought visitors from central Denver to the front door.
The stock show is one of Denver's signature cultural events dating back to 1906.
Today, the show attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, cowboys and locals eager to tap into Colorado's Western heritage.
More to see...North Metro's National Western Stock Show Station will be located just a few yards from the site of the historic Denver Union Stockyards. In the past, ranchers transported hundreds of thousands of livestock for sale and auction via trains running on the very track RTD North Metro commuter rail trains will share with Union Pacific Railroad.
Built in 1886, the stockyards covered 105 acres and handled 239,500 cattle, 115,700 hogs, 306,109 sheep and 22,700 horses and mules a year by the turn of the 20th century.
The Livestock Exchange Building surrounded by pens at the National Western Stock Show in Denver around 1900. Photo credit: Denver Public Library Western History Department
Today, more than 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, swine, goats, llamas, alpacas, bison, yak, poultry and rabbits step foot on the grounds of the National Western Stock Show. It hosts the world's only carload and pen cattle show, held in the stockyards.
Most of the buying and selling of livestock still transpires at the site. Many of the pens retain antique wrought-iron gates and hinges and original cobblestone.
Little known facts ... and an urban legend
Steers are part of the annual Stock Show parade which originates at Union Station, the same place where the North Metro Rail Line's route begins.
Steers are driven to the Stock Show through downtown Denver. Union Station is in the back left of this photo. January 9, 2014.
"Stock Show weather" appears to be an urban legend, according to a 2009 Denver Post story, but many longtime locals will argue to the contrary. They will tell you it's almost always extremely cold when the Stock Show is in town.
Each year, the event's champion steer is led down a red carpet and put on display in the Brown Palace Hotel's lobby during afternoon tea. The Grand Champion Steer sold for $106,000 in 2013.
It takes a region...RTD FasTracks and its regional partners will continue to work together to serve the Colorado public. RTD is committed to building out FasTracks, including the I-225 Rail Line, sooner rather than later so people in the region will have more transit options as they choose where to live, work and play.
LINK: 2014 National Western Stock Show, Jan. 11-26
LINK: History of the National Western Stock Show
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