Tennessee Pass: Colorado Pacific / Union Pacific / Rio Grande Pacific

coloradorailroads Nov 4, 2020

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Will Tennessee Pass see active service as a through route in the next 20 years?

Poll closed Feb 2, 2021.
  1. Yes, It's gotta happen

    66.7%
  2. No, it will not happen

    33.3%
  1. coloradorailroads

    coloradorailroads TrainBoard Member

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    Trains Magazine is reporting that
    Colorado Pacific Railroad is making another bid to obtain the former Denver & Rio Grande Western Tennessee Pass line through the Colorado Rockies from Union Pacific, and this time says it will operate passenger service as one of several moves to gain support for its effort.
    Your guess is as good as mine as to what that will do to help their cause.

    Funny thing, later on it mentions that UP is in negotiations with Rio Grande Pacific. That company, it says,
    ...operates short line railroads, is the contract operator of Denton’s A-Train commuter rail service, and is involved in the effort to build the Uinta Basin Railway to transport crude oil from a remote part of Utah.

    So both CP and RGP are interested in the line from UP, but only to haul freight, initially. From what I can tell, CDOT is trying to get them to offer passenger service to help with commuters who work in the ski towns.
     
    ddm502001, Kurt Moose and BNSF FAN like this.
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It's exciting to imagine how this could impact the US-24 corridor, but previous attempts with UP have failed to produce results. We can still hope and watch intently!
     
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  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    It would certainly be interesting. But getting past UP and courts.... Makes me doubtful.... And I hate to be a skeptic!
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  4. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Most of the nearest low cost housing options for the people who work in the resorts like Vale and Beaver Creek is in Leadville which is on the other side of Tennessee Pass. They have a nasty drive over US Highway 24 when the weather gets bad.
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    I guess compared to the ski resort area, Leadville is probably low cost, but to the rest of us, the 2-mile-high town is probably overpriced... Even is TP was reopened, how much utilization would a commuter train really have? Enough ridership to meet costs?

    That said, TP is envisioned a freight railroad, so tonnage may have to share the tracks with commuter trains as well.
     
  6. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    And just how much of a battle would be required every year, to keep it open for those commuters? ($$$$?)
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  7. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    Can't imagine how much traffic would have to increase to have volume force it back into operation.
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  8. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Considering that most urban area commuter district that handle hundreds of trains and thousands of riders daily don't meet costs and have to be subsidized, getting a couple hundred commuter round trips a day is nowhere near enough traffic to break even.

    Here's something, if they make it a "commuter line", will it then require PTC to be installed at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars a mile for signal and communications equipment?
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  9. Mr. Trainiac

    Mr. Trainiac TrainBoard Member

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    What is on the route? It doesn't seem like much, and an even longer shot for passenger traffic. What type of industries are they trying to serve?
     
    ddm502001 likes this.
  10. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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    Not much industry to serve on this route unless you count the "Tourist" industry. Leadville is kind of a tourist town that does serve the local ranching population. It is also a bedroom community of sorts for many of the low wage workers employed on the other side of the pass at the ski resorts. A lot of trailer parks and sketchy apartments. The mines have been closed down for years. Redcliff and Minturn are more tourist towns. Avon, Edwards, Wolcott and Eagle are all pretty much dependent on the ski resorts and have a very expensive residential market. So a strictly commuter line is pretty much a pipe dream. If you added tourist excursion trains, it still would not pay. It would primarily have to be a bridge route to add freight capacity to supplement the Mofatt route. And UP does not want that competition.
     
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  11. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Your post sums it up quite well. What you point out is why I am a skeptic. It's the railroad fan side of me that wishes somehow the line would be brought back to life.
     
    Kurt Moose and ddm502001 like this.
  12. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Good post about this just came up in the "External Feeds" posts.
     
  13. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

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