A standard gauge railroad, the Kansas Pacific, reached Denver from Sheridan, KS on August 15th, 1870. The Denver Pacific (also standard gauge) reached Denver from Cheyenne, WY on August 22, 1870. The Denver and Rio Grande was created by General William Jackson Palmer (formerly treasurer and head of construction for the Kansas and Pacific). First spike was driven July 28th, 1871. Line was completed to Colorado Springs on October 21st, 1871. Line was extended from Colorado Springs to Puebloon June 15th, 1871, and from there to Labran (later Florence) on November 1st, 1871. The Panic of 1873 halted further construction (except for a shot line to Canon City) until 1876.

On April 6th, 1876, work was completed on a line to El Moro (near Trinidad).

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