A blinding snowstorm
reduced Engineer Hartenberg's vision as he guided the D & RGW passenger train No. 1 through Glenwood Canyon. It was 11:30 the night of February 1, 1899, as the train passed Shoshone headed for Glenwood Springs.
Suddenly, the engine's headlight revealed an avalanche
covering the tracks. Shouting a warning to his fireman, Hartenberg quickly reversed the engine. Both men leaped from the train as it crashed into the mountain of snow, boulders and trees. Cars and engine telescoped into each other. Fortunately, none of the other crew or passengers was hurt.
At dawn, a wrecking train arrived
at the scene to tackle the removal of the 200-foot-wide snow slide. At 9am a small slide covered the wrecking train. As a crew worked to uncover the wrecking train, an avalanche of enormous proportions roared down the canyon's slopes striking the crew, burying many, and sweeping three men into the Colorado River.
The crew immediately began the rescue
of their fellow workers, and doctors Dean and Crook of Glenwood Springs came to assist the injured. However, three men did not survive the large slide.
It took a week of work
to make the rails passable following the avalanche of 1899.
Beware the pine-trees' withered branch. Beware the awful
avalanche! Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Photo caption: Crews worked to clear the railway of avalanches in Glenwood Canyon. Some 26 rail coaches and Pullman cars containing about 250 people were sidetracked in Glenwood Springs for about a week.