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Three months from today, on April 26th, light rail will begin running between Denver and Golden.  Did you know that commuter rail service to Golden is not a new concept?  We used to have not one, but two street railways that served downtown Golden.

In 1891, the Denver, Lakewood, & Golden began running from Denver to Golden.  Its right of way ran through Lakewood, entered Golden via South Golden Road, and terminated at the northeast corner of 13th and Washington–the spot currently occupied by Indulge Wine Bar.  The DL&G ran coal-powered steam locomotives.

In 1904, a second rail line came to town–the Denver & Northwestern.  That line ran past Lakeside Amusement Park, through Arvada, along 44th Street, and entered downtown Golden via 12th Street.  The cars crossed Washington at 12th Street, turned left at Arapahoe, and terminated at the northwest corner of 13th and Washington–directly across the street from the DL&G station.  On their way out of Golden, they ran north along Washington Avenue for one block, then exited along 12th Street.  The D&NW’s cars were powered by electricity from overhead lines.

Streetcar ridership began to decline in the 1920s and 1930s, as more people began driving automobiles.  Traffic picked up again during World War II, due to gasoline rationing and other shortages, but plummeted after the war.  In 1950, both commuter lines were discontinued in favor of bus service.

The light rail line coming to Golden will use much of the same right of way through Lakewood that the DL&G blazed, back in the 1890s.  This time, it will terminate at the Jefferson County Courthouse.  The City plans to run a circulator bus to carry people from various stops around town to the new train station.