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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Mon Nov 25, 2019 9:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1027
Soon I expect stories in this paper about how local residents are outraged: "My realtor told me this rusty old track was abandoned, this will lower my property values."etc.

https://www.vaildaily.com/news/rail-lin ... -producer/


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:58 am 

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 461
Hmm, Looks like a big damn bolder has damaged the tracks in Minturn Colorado.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.5834428,-106.4247016,161a,35y,270h/data=!3m1!1e3

That will need some sorting out before anything can pass through Minturn again.

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 7:24 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 74
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
Two comments in response to txhighballer's note of 11/19/19:

1. Unless UP has completely lost its institutional memory of its dealings with Court Hammond during and immediately after the UP-SP merger (possible, given the amount of time that has passed), I can't imagine that UP would want to have anything to do with any enterprise in which Mr. Hammond is involved. If anyone from UP is following this thread, I strongly suggest that they review the UP-SP merger files, particularly the post merger materials dealing with Docket AB-3 (Sub-No. 130) (Towner line abandonment), Docket No. AB-8 (Sub-No. 39) (Malta-Canon City abandonment) and AB-8 (Sub-No. 36X) (Sage-Leadville abandonment) for this information. There was also a verified statement submitted by UP to STB in one of the post merger oversight proceedings which describes UP's dealings with Mr. Hammond in detail, including UP's decision to have no further dealings with him.

2. With respect to the Royal Gorge passenger train, a sale of the TP line shouldn't threaten this operation. While most people probably don't know this, the line used by the passenger trains between Canon City and Parkdale is no longer owned by UP. Consistent with commitments it made to the State of Colorado in the UP-SP merger, UP sold this line segment in the late 1990's to a firm called "Royal Gorge Express" (RGX). RGX is a partnership between Rock & Rail (a freight short line) and Canon City & Royal Gorge (the tourist passenger line). UP retained overhead trackage rights over this line segment, which could be used if the TP line north of Parkdale were ever reopened. Presumably, these rights could be transferred to any entity that purchased the railroad north of Parkdale. But, to my knowledge, the holder or transferee of the trackage rights would have no right to oust either R&R (the short line) or CC&RG (the passenger line). They would have to learn to live together.

Probably more than you wanted to know - just my little weakness.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:47 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 74
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
This is in response to Mr. Midyette’s pose of 11/24 claiming, among other things, that UP placed the Tennessee Pass line out of service “so that no one else can use it”. I was heavily involved in the abandonment/discontinuance of this line, and this is definitely not what happened – it wasn’t even a consideration.

As part of the UP/SP merger, the merging railroads proposed full abandonment of the TP line between Canon City and Gypsum (near Dotsero). During the merger proceedings, UP had extensive negotiations with the state of Colorado. The result was an agreement to sell the TP line, or any part of it, for “net liquidation value” (gross salvage value less cost of removal} to any entity that would preserve rail service. In other words, far from keeping the line out of the hands of alternate operators, UP agreed to cooperate in an effort to transfer the line to one or more of them

The State conducted a search for alternate operators. The only proposal they received that was even remotely viable was from an entity called “Royal Gorge Express” (RGX) covering the line segment between Canon City and Parkdale. RGX was a partnership between a shortline freight railroad (Rock & Rail) and a tourist passenger operation (Canon City & Royal Gorge). Consistent with its agreement with the state, UP sold the Canon City-Parkdale segment to RGX (I recall it was in 1997 or 1998), retaining “overhead” trackage rights in the event service was restored beyond Parkdale.

Now, let’s go back to the UP/SP merger. When the STB approved the merger, it didn’t approve the full abandonment of the TP line that UP/SP had requested. Rather it approved only “discontinuance”, which allowed service to be halted but required the line to be left in place. The idea was that UP had to demonstrate that the TP traffic had been successfully rerouted before STB would approve “full” abandonment. This was in response to abandonment opponents who argued the Moffat Tunnel line didn’t have the capacity to handle rerouted TP traffic. Had things run their course, the TP line would have been fully abandoned around 1999. It would have been easy to show successful rerouting because TP overhead traffic wasn’t diverted to the Moffat route – it was diverted to the UP Wyoming line. A grant of “full” abandonment authority, under STB's governing statute, would have allowed an entity interested in preserving rail service to purchase the line for net liquidation value.

So why didn’t UP pursue “full” abandonment in 1999 or later? Think back. What happened when UP initially tried to integrate the UP and SP systems too quickly? Answer: a massive service meltdown. One of the results of this meltdown is that UP took a very hard second look at abandonments of lines which could potentially provide additional future capacity, however remote that potential might have then appeared to be. The reason was simple. Once a rail line is fully abandoned, it's pretty much gone forever. Revival of a line that’s fully abandoned is like building a new railroad, with all of the environmental and other regulatory hoops that entails – it would take years just to get permission to do the work. Revival of a line over which service has merely been “discontinued” requires no affirmative environmental or regulatory approval and can be done essentially at will. The TP line was one of several lines UP had originally planned for abandonment that were placed or retained in “discontinued” status for this reason. The prospect of “someone else” acquiring them was never part of the equation.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 2:46 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2017 11:43 am
Posts: 28
Robert Opal wrote:
Two comments in response to txhighballer's note of 11/19/19:

1. Unless UP has completely lost its institutional memory of its dealings with Court Hammond during and immediately after the UP-SP merger (possible, given the amount of time that has passed), I can't imagine that UP would want to have anything to do with any enterprise in which Mr. Hammond is involved.


There is no evidence that Court Hammond has anything to do with the current situation regarding the Tennessee Pass line or the revived Towner line.

If you read page 1 and 2 of this thread you will see that Court Hammond's name was erroneously introduced into this thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 1:20 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 74
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
One other little factoid that may have some relevance to UP's willingness (or unwillingness) to sell the TP line. I didn't previously mention this because I wanted to first make sure it was public information. It is - see the Wikipedia article on the "Moffat Tunnel Improvement District".

UP doesn't own Moffat tunnel. The tunnel is owned by the state. UP's right to use it is based on a lease which expires in 2025. Under Federal transportation law, the state could not simply evict UP and its tenants (BNSF and Amtrak) at the end of the lease (it would be considered an "abandonment", which could only be done if approved by STB). But it would certainly raise the prospect of much higher lease payments for continued use of the tunnel.

For what (if anything) it may be worth.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:11 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1027
Robert Opal wrote:
One other little factoid that may have some relevance to UP's willingness (or unwillingness) to sell the TP line. I didn't previously mention this because I wanted to first make sure it was public information. It is - see the Wikipedia article on the "Moffat Tunnel Improvement District".

UP doesn't own Moffat tunnel. The tunnel is owned by the state. UP's right to use it is based on a lease which expires in 2025. Under Federal transportation law, the state could not simply evict UP and its tenants (BNSF and Amtrak) at the end of the lease (it would be considered an "abandonment", which could only be done if approved by STB). But it would certainly raise the prospect of much higher lease payments for continued use of the tunnel.

For what (if anything) it may be worth.

I'm not sure what the collective memory in the state is like now, but when the Moffat Tunnel was being built the experience with Busk–Ivanhoe Tunnel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busk%E2%8 ... hoe_Tunnel) on the Colorado Midland was still fresh. CM decided to run up over the divide and through the shorter Hagerman Tunnel rather than pay higher fees, which isn't really a possibility with Rollins Pass. I am sure the idea of the route being abandoned completely has occurred to the state though, so my guess is the state won't play hardball and risk the tunnel sitting vacant.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 9:50 pm 

Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 1:40 am
Posts: 461
One of the rumors that has been floated on why TP remains in place has to do with the dept of defense. Not sure how true that would be? I suppose the dept of defense might have some say in the fate of a vital mainline.

Robert


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:14 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 74
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
BigBoy 4023 wrote:
One of the rumors that has been floated on why TP remains in place has to do with the dept of defense. Not sure how true that would be? I suppose the dept of defense might have some say in the fate of a vital mainline.

Robert


Pretty doubtful. A line that's been out of service for over 20 years can hardly be described as a "vital mainline".


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Nov 27, 2019 10:25 pm 

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:05 am
Posts: 74
Location: Glen Ellyn, IL
PMC wrote:
Robert Opal wrote:
One other little factoid that may have some relevance to UP's willingness (or unwillingness) to sell the TP line. I didn't previously mention this because I wanted to first make sure it was public information. It is - see the Wikipedia article on the "Moffat Tunnel Improvement District".

UP doesn't own Moffat tunnel. The tunnel is owned by the state. UP's right to use it is based on a lease which expires in 2025. Under Federal transportation law, the state could not simply evict UP and its tenants (BNSF and Amtrak) at the end of the lease (it would be considered an "abandonment", which could only be done posting.php?mode=quote&f=1&p=297760#if approved by STB). But it would certainly raise the prospect of much higher lease payments for continued use of the tunnel.

For what (if anything) it may be worth.

I'm not sure what the collective memory in the state is like now, but when the Moffat Tunnel was being built the experience with Busk–Ivanhoe Tunnel (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Busk%E2%8 ... hoe_Tunnel) on the Colorado Midland was still fresh. CM decided to run up over the divide and through the shorter Hagerman Tunnel rather than pay higher fees, which isn't really a possibility with Rollins Pass. I am sure the idea of the route being abandoned completely has occurred to the state though, so my guess is the state won't play hardball and risk the tunnel sitting vacant.


I would like to think that the current powers that be in Colorado would think the way you suggest. But, given the way politics work, there's no assurance of this. It's entirely possible that, with the collapse of coal traffic, the current politicos don't see any value in the tunnel or rail service through it (except, perhaps, for passenger trains) and will push for a substantially higher rental. That will, in turn, provoke an evaluation by UP as to whether service through the tunnel is worth what's being demanded We'll see how this plays out. But I doubt that UP will be willing to pay much more (if anything more) than it's paying today given what's happened to Colorado/Utah coal traffic. We'll see.


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Thu Nov 28, 2019 2:16 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:04 pm
Posts: 179
The BNSF sure learned a hard lesson when they sold the former Milwaukee Road main line over Snoqualmie Pass in Washington state. With the ever increasing traffic through the Cascade tunnel, I bet they wished they still had that line back.

I have heard many times that even if a railroad wants to rip up a rail line the Federal government will not let them do it. They said in case of a major emergency there needs to be alternative routes, in case the highways are damaged or if there is problems with the airlines.

As far as the Moffat. I am sure the city of Boulder is fighting tooth and nail trying to convert that railroad into a bicycle trail. I would have to admit with all the tunnels and the incredible scenery, it would make for a World class bicycle trail. Fortunately the UP main line from Denver to Cheyenne is nearly all single track and is fairly busy. They are not running much traffic up the Moffat, but it would add another 3 or 4 daily trains and two Amtrak's into the Denver to Cheyenne route. BNSF has been increasing traffic over the Moffat recently.


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 Post subject: UP rebuffs KCVN's purchase attempt
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:01 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:51 pm
Posts: 110
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania
So, apparently UP rebuffed KCVN's low-ball purchase price.
Not only that, they claim that they (UP) are engaged in talks with somebody else about the Tennessee Pass line!

Here is one article about what is going on:
https://www.vaildaily.com/news/feds-ask ... e-company/

Now, KCVN wnats the government to force UP to sell the line to them!
Quote:
Application seeks the directed sale of the Tennessee Pass Line, defined herein as the 228.80 miles of UP-owned main line track (and UP’s residual trackage rights interest over one 11.75 mile segment of that track) extending from MP 118.20 in Pueblo to MP 341.9 at Dotsero.


STB has two filings on 02/14/2020 that I saw here under Docket Number FD_36386:
https://prod.stb.gov/proceedings-actions/filings/
"KCVN, LLC AND COLORADO PACIFIC RAILROAD, LLC--FEEDER LINE APPLICATION--LINE OF UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD COMPANY LOCATED IN PUEBLO, FREMONT, CHAFFEE, LAKE, AND EAGLE COUNTIES, COLO."

Filing 300401 is a short MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER document:
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 300401.pdf

Filing 300402 is a massive 371 page document which I have only skimmed over:
https://dcms-external.s3.amazonaws.com/ ... 300402.pdf

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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 7:07 am
Posts: 715
Location: Philadelphia Pa
BigBoy 4023 wrote:
Hmm, Looks like a big damn bolder has damaged the tracks in Minturn Colorado.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.5834428,-106.4247016,161a,35y,270h/data=!3m1!1e3

That will need some sorting out before anything can pass through Minturn again.

Robert


Actually two boulders....look closely, one is closer to the creek which obviously took out the one track and the other boulder took out and sits on the second track .


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:57 pm 

Joined: Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:55 pm
Posts: 1027
Trains ran a story yesterday https://trn.trains.com/news/news-wire/2 ... on-pacific

essentially confirming the Vail article, lowball for sure, "KCVN LLC and its subsidiary, Colorado Pacific Railroad LLC, last week said they would buy the long-dormant route for its liquidation value of $8.8 million" through a "feeder line application":

"Feeder line applicants must demonstrate that:
• A sale is required by “the public convenience and necessity.”
• The current owner has no interest in providing service over the line.
• Current service is inadequate.
• The sale of a line will not have an adverse financial effect on the current owner.
• The sale will improve service."


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 Post subject: Re: Tennessee Pass route may be sold
PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2020 12:41 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:22 pm
Posts: 264
Sounds like the buyer went a little 'New York' on the UP, not exactly the best way to build relationships.
I recall reading a federal publication that specifically advised against this maneuver, something like "How well do you think negotiating rates will go with a Class 1 you just forced to sell you a branch line?"

CD


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