The Colorado and Southern Railway operated independently from 1898 to 1908, then as part of the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad until it was absorbed into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1981.
The railway began as the consolidation of bankrupt railroads on 1898. The Colorado Central Railroad and Cheyenne and Northern Railway were brought together to form the Union Pacific, Denver and Gulf Railway in 1890. When Union Pacific went bankrupt in 1893 they were separated from the Union Pacific and united with the Denver, Leadville and Gunnison Railway and others, by Frank Trumbull to form the Colorado and Southern Railroad in 1898. In 1908 the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad bought control of the C&S. It would later merge into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1981.
By the end of 1970 it operated 692 miles of road on 1116 miles of track; that year it reported 1,365 million ton-miles of revenue freight. In 1980 route-miles had dropped to 678, but ton-miles had ballooned to 7,230 million - Powder River coal had arrived.
C&S was also the parent company of the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, which ran from a connection at Texline south and east into Texas. The FW&D was established as a separate company because Texas law required that railroads operating within its borders must be incorporated within that state.