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 Post subject: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:18 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1088
http://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/20 ... pass-route (paywall):

"Last week, a Delaware-based limited liability company offered $10 million for the iconic route between Dotsero and Parkdale, Colo., as well as trackage rights into Pueblo. A spokesperson for UP confirmed on Monday that the railroad had been approached about selling the line. ... On Nov. 14, an attorney representing Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC sent a letter to UP offering to purchase the Tennessee Pass Subdivision... In the letter to UP, the representative of the railroad writes, “[Colorado Pacific Railroad] proposes to restore the Tennessee Pass line to service, thus providing an alternative to using the Moffat tunnel and routing freight rail traffic through Denver.” "

This could mean it will be preserved, hopefully the company buying it isn't a scrapper in disguise. Back in the nineties I heard from a number of people around Minturn that Anschutz, the then Rio Grande and now UP principal owner, wanted to sell the main line and yard in Minturn to "VA", Vail Associates, which owns ski areas to the east. The State of Colorado pressured UP to preserve Tennessee Pass as a bypass for trains through Denver, hopefully the state will stay involved. I am a bit skeptical of a plan to operate it by a short line unless they can get bridge traffic from either UP or BNSF, there is only morning, noon and night on most of the route, little in the way of online traffic, its main usefulness has always been as a bridge route without a long tunnel that needs to be blown out like the Moffat Tunnel.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:24 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 243
So I did a bit of research on Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC and this is the same group that is restoring service to the (nearby) former MoPac Towner line between NA Junction and Towner Colorado. Doesn’t sound like it’s a scrapping operation here.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:35 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1088
Fifteen or so years ago there was talk (mainly by the state) of connecting the old KP to the Towner line by way of a long ago abandoned shortline right of way so that UP through trains could bypass Denver. The KP is the UP main line to the east now, replacing the MP which used to be the connection to the Tennessee Pass line as a through route. It never left the discussion stage.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:44 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 10:49 am
Posts: 684
Now here is where it gets interesting. The Up ran an inspection train over the KP and rumored to be on board were persons who were interested in buying it.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:37 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 502
As a life long fan of the D&RGW, I'd be the first to celebrate the reopening of TP, but only for personal and historical reasons. Again, there were numerous very good reasons that the UP shuttered TP...it was and would be very costly to operate. That's a lot of heavy duty mountain railroading with 3% grades in one direction to operate and maintain. And remember, the reason UP hasn't abandoned or otherwise let go of the route is that they are probably not very interested in giving BNSF or any other Class I access to it, although once you would manage to reach Dotsero, you'd have to kiss the UP's ring again to get any further west to Provo or SLC or beyond.

And the reason the MP mainline was downgraded and taken OOS was because UP shut down TP after acquiring the SP/D&RGW.

This will be interesting to see if this really has life or not.

Rob Gardner


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:12 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 11:27 pm
Posts: 316
Location: Texas
Steamguy73 wrote:
So I did a bit of research on Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC and this is the same group that is restoring service to the (nearby) former MoPac Towner line between NA Junction and Towner Colorado. Doesn’t sound like it’s a scrapping operation here.


How far along is this outfit to restoring service? Are there new shippers being recruited? On the TP side, strides being made in the use of recycled mine tailings in aggregate applications might help the TP with an online revenue source (half a billion tons of material available from the Climax mine alone)....


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:26 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 243
hi-plains wrote:
Steamguy73 wrote:
So I did a bit of research on Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC and this is the same group that is restoring service to the (nearby) former MoPac Towner line between NA Junction and Towner Colorado. Doesn’t sound like it’s a scrapping operation here.


How far along is this outfit to restoring service? Are there new shippers being recruited? On the TP side, strides being made in the use of recycled mine tailings in aggregate applications might help the TP with an online revenue source (half a billion tons of material available from the Climax mine alone)....


Honestly, all I’ve found in my limited research of Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC is that they are making repairs to the Towner line (https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/ ... ?1,4832518), and they are operating test trains on the line (https://extras.denverpost.com/news/news0427k.htm).

Edit: The recent Denver post article is very interesting. I suggest taking a look.

“(Court Hammond) hopes to ship 3,500 carloads of grain his first year, as well as an undetermined amount of quarry products. He's also interested in developing a railroad museum.

"For a very long time rail depots were the center of communities because they were the only real link with the outside world," he said.”

Quarry products, grain, and interest in developing a railroad museum. Interesting.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:36 pm 

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 1:33 pm
Posts: 400
Location: Oroville, CA
If Court Hammond is involved, run the other way FAST.
IMHO, only.

_________________
Steamcerely,
David Dewey
Hoping for the return to the American Rivers of the last overnight steamboat, Delta Queen!


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:40 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 11:16 am
Posts: 151
Location: Southwest Virginia
Please search the I’ll fated “restoration”’ of C&S narrow gauge locomotive 71 in Central City, circa 1987-1990. Mr Hammond did not fair well in that venture. Not withholding, he is trying to do that again as well.

Mike Stillwell
Buena Vista, VA.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:42 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:15 pm
Posts: 243
David Dewey wrote:
If Court Hammond is involved, run the other way FAST.
IMHO, only.


Oh so THAT was the guy who ran that operation.

Yikes.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:52 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:33 am
Posts: 90
Txhighballer wrote:
Now here is where it gets interesting. The Up ran an inspection train over the KP and rumored to be on board were persons who were interested in buying it.


Here's the thing, traffic is really dead on the entire DRGW from Provo to Grand Junction right now. Two Amtrak trains, one or two daily BNSF trains, and the occasional coal train coming out of Utah coal country are about it. With the coal market continuing to dwindle, it seems what ever potential coal had is diminishing in the area.

Of course, there is a lot coming that makes the area good for any railroad willing to invest in the area. The Uintah Basin Railroad Project is well underway, and if it manages to be completed we could see a huge jump in the former DRGW running oil trains out of Utah and down towards the gulf coast.

If I were to concoct a foamer speculation theory... my bets are the interested parties in the DRGW-KP (and possibly WP) are either BNSF or KCS. KCS is the most interesting one to ponder about, since they could jump into the western market to compete with the UP/BNSF with that kind of purchase. Its possible the shortline plan on TP is being backed quietly by one of the Class One railroads looking to expand into the area. Its all a calculated risk, hoping to buy the railroad while traffic is dead right now; then reap the rewards if projects like the Uintah Basin come through.

Enough idle speculation... how would this change affect the Royal Gorge passenger train service?


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:59 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 21, 2004 10:50 pm
Posts: 502
FWIW, there is a lot of chatter about KCS' interest in the KP + Moffat + WP via Feather River Canyon to get to the West Coast. Where TP might fit into those plans are unclear. If Court has money and the freedom to spend it to get his or someone else's grain shipped not only east but west, I guess TP might make sense.

UP is heavily rumored to want out of Colorado completely with the exception of the Denver Pacific (Cheyenne to Denver) with overhead trackage rights to Colorado Springs and Pueblo in order to keep what freight business they currently generate out of those markets and a couple of power plants.

UP didn't do TP any favors after they bought the SP so I guess we shouldn't complain if they are willing to sell it to a seriously interested party who wants to reopen it.

Might have to really look hard at finally relocating to Colorado, lol.

Rob


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 19, 2019 11:45 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 479
TP has always been my favorite route and I'm all for seeing freight trains on TP again.

But I do wonder, Is this just as crazy as relaying the Milw mainline and re-electrifying it with AC power?

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:37 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 am
Posts: 32
Steamguy73 wrote:
Edit: The recent Denver post article is very interesting. I suggest taking a look.

“(Court Hammond) hopes to ship 3,500 carloads of grain his first year, as well as an undetermined amount of quarry products. He's also interested in developing a railroad museum.

"For a very long time rail depots were the center of communities because they were the only real link with the outside world," he said.”

Quarry products, grain, and interest in developing a railroad museum. Interesting.


The problem here is that the newspaper article that the above snippet is from was originally published in the year 2000 (19 years ago). Look closely at the 'credits line' at the very bottom of this link:
https://extras.denverpost.com/news/news0427k.htm

And to back that up, see this Federal Register filing from April 7, 2000:
https://www.federalregister.gov/documen ... d-colorado


Court Hammond [as far as I can tell] has nothing to do with the current revival of the Towner line - he had his shot 19 years ago. See this 2018 article for the scoop on the real guy behind the current revival of the Towner line:

http://kiowacountyindependent.com/news/ ... -the-story


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 20, 2019 5:33 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 191
This is exciting news. I frequently visit the Moffat Route and traffic is increasing. Union Pacific has been running coal trains again as well as daily freights. BNSF has been running tankers, sand trains, and freight trains. Last week I saw 6 trains in about 5 hours. Haven't seen that level of traffic in about 7 years or so.

Tennessee Pass has always had good potential. There has been many articles regarding running passenger trains to the ski resorts despite much of the previous right of way now removed. The severally clogged I-70 highway has been a major problem during the ski season, with traffic backed up for hours in either direction. Talks of a railroad connecting the ski resorts has often been discussed including drilling some very long railroad tunnels, as well as laying tracks where there has never been tracks before. Amtrak brought back the ski train a few years ago and it is frequently sold out.

Not sure how well Tennessee pass would do with steam excursion trains, but Colorado has a strong demand for steam excursions with the Georgetown loop, Cumbres and Toltec, and Durango and Silverton which frequently sell out excursions well into the Fall.

The scrap metal market for steel is totally dead. Took a load last week and it was $40.00 a ton for shredder scrap. Unprepared was $30.00 a ton. Never seen it this low in my whole life. Majority of scrap yards I have seen have very small scrap piles and have been laying off people and closing early.


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