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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 10:42 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 102
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Why are you putting words in my mouth? I never said "we had no formal agreement so we could do anything we wanted." We very definitely had a "formal agreement" with Colorado covering the Colorado abandonments, and we complied with it. Evidently, that agreement satisfied Colorado's interests, since they didn't oppose any of the Colorado abandonments.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2021 11:19 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1428
Robert Opal wrote:
Why are you putting words in my mouth? I never said "we had no formal agreement so we could do anything we wanted." We very definitely had a "formal agreement" with Colorado covering the Colorado abandonments, and we complied with it. Evidently, that agreement satisfied Colorado's interests, since they didn't oppose any of the Colorado abandonments.

Tennessee Pass was never formally abandoned, it is simply out of service.

This is becoming tedious, you obviously want to argue.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:11 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:40 pm
Posts: 835
PMC wrote:
Robert Opal wrote:
Why are you putting words in my mouth? I never said "we had no formal agreement so we could do anything we wanted." We very definitely had a "formal agreement" with Colorado covering the Colorado abandonments, and we complied with it. Evidently, that agreement satisfied Colorado's interests, since they didn't oppose any of the Colorado abandonments.

Tennessee Pass was never formally abandoned, it is simply out of service.

This is becoming tedious, you obviously want to argue.


As well he should. He was obviously in on the entire transaction, just as you were not.

Pretty obvious here who wants to argue.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:27 am 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1428
Lincoln Penn wrote:
He was obviously in on the entire transaction, just as you were not.

You dropped in here without anything constructive to add, and there is nothing "obvious" about what he said.

On page 55 of the June 2003 edition of Trains magazine, in an article about TP entitled Paradise Lost, pp.40-55, author Mark Hemphill quotes Fred Frailey: "Tennessee Pass will only stay there until Colorado politicians get used to the fact that they don't need it." Or to change the emphasis: Tennessee Pass is there now BECAUSE Colorado politicians are not used to fact that they don't need it.

Trains doesn't have its online archives indexed, so it is either necessary to have the original print versions of the indexes (I don't) or go through every page to find an article. I don't have the time and my eyes can't take the strain of looking through every article between June 2003 back to 1998 or so to find Frailey's original, which gives an expanded discussion of Frailey's quote. Hemphill himself says: "OK, so why has the owner, Union Pacific Railroad, not pulled up the rails? Union Pacific would rather not comment, understandably [but] politics are involved." In other words, it isn't solely UP's independent discretion or rational decision to keep an alternative route that prevented TP from being scrapped.

I don't have to mention who Frailey is, Mark Hemphill, formerly with D&RGW management, later editor of Trains magazine from 2000 to 2004, is now senior vice president of the Rio Grande Pacific corporation, not coincidentally one of the companies trying to operate Tennessee Pass.

I am not saying that these two guys are the end all and be all on views of this subject, but nor is this guy. Assuming he had anything at all to do with it, unless his real name is Anschutz or Dick Davidson or he is on the BOD all he knows is what the higher-ups chose to tell him, which likely was on a "need to know" basis. And as Hemphill noted, management aren't likely to complain about the state to employees and let it get back to the state. A history professor of mine had a catch-phrase: "multiple factors of causation", by which he meant that one cause, person etc. is almost never responsible for an event, and I am sure that was true here.

I started this topic because I am just as interested in the preservation of track as I am in cars or locomotives (on top of the fact that my great grandfather, my grandfather and my uncle worked for the D&SL/ Rio Grande), but it has turned into a trivial historical discussion that is irrelevant to preservation.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 12:44 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 102
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Rather than continuing this discussion, which has become rather pointless, I suggest that anyone who wants authoritative information on what was happening with this line in the 1990's get a copy of UP "Reply to Comments" dated September 30, 1998 (Finance Docket No. 32760, UP/SP 362), which contains an extensive discussion of this issue. It was a formal STB filing which was fully reviewed and approved by UP senior management. It also contains excerpts from the Western Governors' Association Colorado Rail Panel's "Evaluation and Recommendations for the Tennessee Pass and Towner-N.A. Rail Line Segments", which was prepared for the State of Colorado consistent with the prior Colorado - UP agreement described in earlier posts.

Unfortunately, the filing is no longer available on the STB website and my electronic copy is way too large to attach to a post. But maybe one of the computer gurus on this forum can retrieve it from an archive. Another alternative is that I can directly E-Mail a copy to anyone who wants it - just send me a note with your E-Mail address. My E-Mail is roberttopal@aol.com


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 173
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
Robert Opal wrote:
Rather than continuing this discussion, which has become rather pointless, I suggest that anyone who wants authoritative information on what was happening with this line in the 1990's get a copy of UP "Reply to Comments" dated September 30, 1998 (Finance Docket No. 32760, UP/SP 362), which contains an extensive discussion of this issue. It was a formal STB filing which was fully reviewed and approved by UP senior management. It also contains excerpts from the Western Governors' Association Colorado Rail Panel's "Evaluation and Recommendations for the Tennessee Pass and Towner-N.A. Rail Line Segments", which was prepared for the State of Colorado consistent with the prior Colorado - UP agreement described in earlier posts.

Unfortunately, the filing is no longer available on the STB website and my electronic copy is way too large to attach to a post. But maybe one of the computer gurus on this forum can retrieve it from an archive. Another alternative is that I can directly E-Mail a copy to anyone who wants it - just send me a note with your E-Mail address. My E-Mail is roberttopal@aol.com


I'm not sure that I found the exact document that you were talking about, but the Union Pacific Railroad has this document on their website, which details a lot of stuff related to Tennessee Pass, including parts about leaving the Towner Line intact also:
https://www.uprr.com/aboutup/history/decision.pdf

Reading over that document, I didn't realize that Montana Rail Link wanted to buy and operate a lot of trackage, including Tennessee Pass!

_________________
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Jim Evans


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 2:56 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 102
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
In response to Mr. Evans, the document you found is Decision No. 44, the 1996 STB decision that approved the UP/SP merger and most of the "related applications" (including abandonments). It's obviously an important decision, which is available on many legal research websites.

The document I was referring to was a later filing by UP (1998) in a post merger "oversight" proceeding. Among other things, it described the activities undertaken by UP and Colorado on the TP and Towner lines. I can send you a copy if you send me your E-Mail address (see my address on an earlier note).


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 3:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2016 10:17 pm
Posts: 125
Surely Montana Rail Link didn't think they'd actually get all those lines? Reading that, it seems like a ridiculous request.

Would have been a different look at western railroading if MRL had been successful in those line purchases.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 4:30 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 102
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
CA1 wrote:
Surely Montana Rail Link didn't think they'd actually get all those lines? Reading that, it seems like a ridiculous request.

Would have been a different look at western railroading if MRL had been successful in those line purchases.


There were plenty of ridiculous requests in the UP/SP merger - typical "ask for the world" stuff that didn't have a chance. The most outrageous was a request by ConRail to acquire SSW, which ultimately went down in flames.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 5:02 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 102
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
I debated whether to send this, since I know it won’t do any good. But I couldn’t let PNC’s post of earlier today (4/7, 6:27 AM) go unanswered. I don’t know why some people can’t participate in forums like this without making snide remarks about other participants they disagree with, but I guess that’s the way it is these days.

PNC – who knows nothing about me - is basically suggesting that I was some kind of drone at UP who probably had almost nothing to do with the UP/SP Colorado abandonments, and likely knew nothing beyond what “the higher ups” chose to tell me. He then quotes a history professor’s observation that “one cause, person etc is almost never responsible for an event”, apparently implying that I’ve been putting on airs.

But I certainly wasn’t - and didn't claim to be - the only person involved in the UP/SP Colorado abandonments, nor was I the primary decisionmaker. The key decisions were all made by senior UP management, in particular John Rebensdorf, UP Vice President – Strategic Planning (a very key UP official in the merger, who PNC doesn’t seem to be aware of). That said, I worked very closely with John and his staff, and was very heavily involved in the formulation and implementation of those decisions and in discussions with state officials. To do that, I needed to know a lot more about what we were doing than a locomotive engineer in Grand Junction. I needed to know exactly what we were trying to accomplish and why, and the options we had to achieve those ends.

I, of course, recognize that I’m not nearly as famous in railfan circles as Messrs. Hemphill and Frailey, the two primary sources cited by PNC for his information (although I'm known in tourist rail circles, since I was regulatory counsel for HRA and its predecessors for many years). But there was a good reason for this (aside from the fact that I have absolutely no interest in being a professional commentator). As a UP legal official, I was a spokesman for the company. It would have been highly improper for me to be broadcasting personal views on what I thought UP should or shouldn’t be doing and why. Now that I’ve been retired for over 12 years, that’s no longer an issue, which is why I now participate in these forums (although moments like this make me question why I bother).

Finally, a little off topic, here's a little TP factoid that may not be well known. The idea for a tourist railroad through Royal Gorge originated from UP (I think it may have been during a "blue sky" discussion in my office, but I'm not sure of that after all these years). We promoted it as a "nice thing" the state and the locals could get from the merger (as it certainly proved to be).


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:52 pm
Posts: 93
[quote="Robert Opal"]I debated whether to send this, since I know it won’t do any good. But I couldn’t let PNC’s post of earlier today (4/7, 6:27 AM) go unanswered. I don’t know why some people can’t participate in forums like this without making snide remarks about other participants they disagree with, but I guess that’s the way it is these days.

Bob - Don't be discouraged as there are more folks on this forum that are interested in the facts from the folks (like you) that were there at the time, engaged and involved with these discussions and proceedings. From the perspective on what the UP and the State of Colorado where thinking and proposing at the time, as will as the outcome, you are the reliable source for the facts, as you were there.

I can attest to your knowledge as I have worked with you on later projects regarding these operations (RRRX-UPR) and it is your knowledge that assisted me with determining the best course of action.

Best Regards!

Mike Ramsey


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