Trains.com

What odds do you personally give the Tennessee Pass reactivation plan of actually happening?

784 views
12 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    August 2013
  • 61 posts
What odds do you personally give the Tennessee Pass reactivation plan of actually happening?
Posted by Shrike Arghast on Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:33 PM

Yes, I know it's currently tied up in the courts. But between the NIMBY opposition (which is sad, but - let's face it - kind of predictable), the rather light potential usefulness of the railroad even if it's reactivated (correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't traffic been falling OFF the Moffat Line for two decades now? I'm not sure what - if any - redundancies Colorado, Midland & Pacific hopes to profit off of with reactivation [other than a kind of nebulous idea of running passenger service to Vail, which is, in of itself, somewhat dubious considering that most of your passengers would presumably originate in Denver, and then have to take a circuitous routing down to Pueblo, before traveling NW over the pass]), Colorado Pacific's ardent (might we even say vindictive at this point? They're like a spurned lover for UP's castoffs) resistance to the sale, and the substantial rehabilitation costs, there definitely seem like a number of roadblocks here.

Believe me: I WANT to see railroading return to Tennessee Pass - to me and a lot of other people, it and Saluda represent America's two most magnificent lost railroads (special shoutout to the Milwaukee's Pacific Extension and Homestake Pass, though), and it would be lovely to see traffic return. I just worry that this particular dream is a bridge too far considering the obstacles between us and wheels rolling. 

What kind of odds do you give it of actually happening?

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 3,545 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Thursday, April 8, 2021 12:57 PM

The past is a great place to visit, but living there often proves fatal.  I don't think reactivation of TP HAS to happen, so I doubt that it will happen.

The sentimentality of the "lost causes", Saluda, Tennessee Pass,  Milwaukee Transcon, the traditional diner cars on passenger trains,  Brakemen, Firemen, steam...etc etc... nice that we remember those things, but it does get tedious after a while.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 15,997 posts
Posted by Overmod on Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:05 PM

I will say just the one thing:  Odds of developing property in the Minturn yard area: 104%.

Anything actively connected with running trains: I don't think they really care.

  • Member since
    September 2013
  • 2,128 posts
Posted by caldreamer on Thursday, April 8, 2021 1:44 PM

Call me a skeptic, but lets put it this way.  I have a much better chance of getting the check from Publishers Clearing House without doing anything than the Raton Pass EVER being reactivate.

  • Member since
    May 2003
  • From: US
  • 20,389 posts
Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, April 8, 2021 2:23 PM

caldreamer
Call me a skeptic, but lets put it this way.  I have a much better chance of getting the check from Publishers Clearing House without doing anything than the Raton Pass EVER being reactivate.

Don't believe Raton Pass has been deactivated.  It only hosts Amtrak but it is still active.  Tennessee Pass is another pass.

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 427 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, April 12, 2021 11:49 AM

I may be overly optimistic but I think there's a good chance.  50%? 75%? 90%?  I have no clue.  But the very fact that no effort has been made to pull the rails and dismantle the line might tell us something.

And now that someone is actively pursuing this, they must have their reasons.  One possibility:  One of us could try and contact them and ask them why.  I could speculate as to why but I really don't know so I'm gonna hold off.

Concerning the rebuilding of the Milwaukee's line to the Pacific Northwest, there is little or no hope there 'cause the rails are gone as well as some of the viaducts.  But with Tennesse Pass and the West Phoenix line, those are real possibilities there.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 15,997 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 12, 2021 11:59 AM

Fred M Cain
And now that someone is actively pursuing this, they must have their reasons.  One possibility:  One of us could try and contact them and ask them why.  I could speculate as to why but I really don't know so I'm gonna hold off.

Do you really think you're going to call or e-mail them cold and expect them to discuss secret-agenda plans to develop Minturn yard property with minimal NIMBYism?

Better yet, explain to me how you intend to get them to do that, and then verify you'll verify you're not being lied to or deflected from the issues of importance to them...

On the other hand, nothing would be really lost if you tried... and who knows? perhaps they would tell you in detail what they intend.  I might have been around New York real-estate people in general too long.

  • Member since
    April 2007
  • 3,545 posts
Posted by Convicted One on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:32 PM

Fred M Cain
But the very fact that no effort has been made to pull the rails and dismantle the line might tell us something.

Mudchicken could probably address this better than anybody, but I always thought this line was preserved as a possible detour route, in case the current mainline is disrupted through landslides or washouts.

Several years ago I was east bound on I-70 where a  bridge in fact washed out. And they re-routed traffic via US 24...right through the area we now discuss.  It's a convenient detour. 

  • Member since
    July 2014
  • 427 posts
Posted by Fred M Cain on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:35 PM

Overmod,

Of course you're right.  They wouldn't tell me.  I never got a straight answer out of the U.P. concerning the West Phoenix line either. 

My only point is they are pursuing this for a reason and that makes it a lot more likely to happen than if no one was pursuing it.  Then that fact taken with the reality that no one has as of yet made much of an effort to dismantle the line, then I think something is likely to happen.

There isn't much of a point arguing about the unknown.  We'll just have to wait and see and watch future developments.  It could very easily all come to nothing but still, I think there's a good chance.

  • Member since
    September 2003
  • 15,997 posts
Posted by Overmod on Monday, April 12, 2021 12:43 PM

I confess my take is existential as long as the popcorn holds out.  It's not my money, and I'd like to see profitable service (and the improvements that go with it) made.  On the other hand I don't like to see crooks and financiers screw things up just so they can 'succeed' enhancing their wealth at the line's distress.

(And I hold special disdain for the actual and would-be Riffins of this world, no matter how much they have or how much OPM they have to squander...)

  • Member since
    December 2007
  • 1,253 posts
Posted by Falcon48 on Thursday, April 15, 2021 8:12 PM

With respect to the question of "what odds" I give to a Tennessee Pass reactivation, ask me that question after we find out whether UP is able to negotiate an acceptable extension of its lease of the Moffat Tunnel (which expires in 2025) or a purchase of the facility. 

  • Member since
    September 2011
  • 5,169 posts
Posted by MidlandMike on Thursday, April 15, 2021 9:57 PM

Falcon48

With respect to the question of "what odds" I give to a Tennessee Pass reactivation, ask me that question after we find out whether UP is able to negotiate an acceptable extension of its lease of the Moffat Tunnel (which expires in 2025) or a purchase of the facility. 

 

I think you just answered the question as to why UP has held on to the TP line for so long.  Now the question becomes whether UP will want to hold on to either line come 2025, with the evaporation of traffic on the lines in recent years.

  • Member since
    June 2009
  • From: Dallas, TX
  • 5,015 posts
Posted by CMStPnP on Friday, April 16, 2021 9:52 AM

Shrike Arghast
(special shoutout to the Milwaukee's Pacific Extension and Homestake Pass, though)

Milwaukee and it's various bankruptcy trustees made too many shortsighted decisions for the Pacific Extension ever to make it (for example: not wiping more of the Pacific Extension debt from the balance sheet in the first or second bankruptcy).   

Lets say that all the dumb decisions were made smart......there is still not enough traffic to support a fifth transcontinental railway between the population of the United States and Canada combined.    If Milwaukee did survive it would have made the current four weaker financially.

Join our Community!

Our community is FREE to join. To participate you must either login or register for an account.

Search the Community

Newsletter Sign-Up

By signing up you may also receive occasional reader surveys and special offers from Trains magazine.Please view our privacy policy