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Colorado & Wyoming line may have rail re-installed

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Colorado & Wyoming line may have rail re-installed
Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, July 19, 2021 9:53 PM

Article in today's NewsWire talkes about BNSF running a coal train down the SouthWest Chief's route between the Trinidad area and LaJunta and southeast to New Orleans for export.  (Although the article below seems to indicate it would go down the C&S, which is usually the empties return)  The coal will come from the New Elk Mine which was the main customer of the former C&W.  The coal will be trucked to Jansen initially, with the rail line to be re-built in about two years.  Here is a link to the coal company's announcement:

https://www.newelkcoal.com/site/about-us/mine-overview

 

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, July 19, 2021 10:16 PM

Good deal.  Metallurgical coal.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Monday, July 19, 2021 11:18 PM

MidlandMike

Article in today's NewsWire talkes about BNSF running a coal train down the SouthWest Chief's route between the Trinidad area and LaJunta and southeast to New Orleans for export.  (Although the article below seems to indicate it would go down the C&S, which is usually the empties return)  The coal will come from the New Elk Mine which was the main customer of the former C&W.  The coal will be trucked to Jansen initially, with the rail line to be re-built in about two years.  Here is a link to the coal company's announcement:

https://www.newelkcoal.com/site/about-us/mine-overview

 

 

Is the rail line going on an existing ROW?

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 12:11 AM

All but two miles of it is abandoned R/W. (Those two miles include Jansen Yard and the former ATSF connection)...Kinda odd that there is no filing with STB on this. Just miners being reckless? Original plan was a massive conveyor belt system instead of rail to Jansen.

(*) Part of the line was sold by two different entities to two different landowners. Some of the misdeeds of the original messy abandonment may spill out of the closet.

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by diningcar on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 8:13 AM

Mike, my interpretation of the 'map' indicates the train would run from Jansen to La Junta to Las Animas Jct and then to Amarillo. Not on the C&S to Amarillo. 

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 10:56 AM

diningcar

Mike, my interpretation of the 'map' indicates the train would run from Jansen to La Junta to Las Animas Jct and then to Amarillo. Not on the C&S to Amarillo. 

 

The map on the mine company link is apparently a UP map, but shows their trackage rights on BNSF including the paired trackage between Colorado and Amarillo.  Their map indicates running on the ex-C&S directly SE from Trinidad to Amarillo.  The LasAnimas line shows as the line that runs north out of Amarillo and to the east of the ex-C&S line

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 12:32 PM

Is it the Chief whose route is endangered because of no freight traffic on part of the line? (Or is it the Sunset?) Does this help the Chief avoid having a bus segment?

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Posted by mudchicken on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 12:49 PM

It is the Chief Route Jansen/Trinidad/La Junta/ Las Animas Junction. (LO: La Junta to Trinidad is not that threatened)

Along with the current of traffic issues, the AT&SF Line runs circles around the C&S line* in terms of better geometry and ease of maintenance. Direction of traffic is still at the whim of the operating department and whose coat-tails they are riding on. (and please remember coal trains are still limited to 45 MPH)

* Not engineered by Grenville Dodge's group, his FW&D was further south. C&S = Crooked and Slow in these parts. (then there is the subgrade issue between Trinidad and Texline Ick!)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 8:29 PM

Thanks MC.

Still in training.


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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 9:00 PM

It's interesting that the coal company shows a UP map for the move.  My 1970 Official Guide has Rio Grande's system map, which shows one of their lines (maybe trackage rights) going past Trinadad and ending at Jansen.  Not sure if this arraingment was still in effect at the UP merger, or whether UP retains it.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, July 20, 2021 9:35 PM

mudchicken
...Kinda odd that there is no filing with STB on this. Just miners being reckless?

Last of Colorado & Wyoming still operating at the Pueblo steel plant formerly CF&I Steel.  This new project does not seem to have any connection to that railroad.  Unless the mining company incorperates the new project as a railroad, my understanding is that they would not enjoy eminent domain, and would be hard pressed to obtain a ROW.

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Posted by Vermontanan2 on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 12:11 AM

mudchicken

Along with the current of traffic issues, the AT&SF Line runs circles around the C&S line* in terms of better geometry and ease of maintenance. Direction of traffic is still at the whim of the operating department and whose coat-tails they are riding on. 

Just to clarify, the ex-ATSF line between La Junta and Amarillo is steadfastly southward trains, and the ex-BN (FW&D/C&S) line is steadfastly northward trains - not the "whim" of anyone.  This is so much the case that the BNSF local serving Dalhart and Etter operates from Amarillo to Dalhart on the ex-BN, then uses trackage rights on the ex-CRI&P (now UP) from Dalhart to Stratford, runs around its train (due to the quadrant where the connecting track is located), and then returns to Amarillo on the ex-ATSF route....in other words, always "with the current of traffic."

Unit trains between Pueblo and Amarillo (coal and grain, mostly) are primary southward, and take advantage of the ATSF line's lesser grade (1%) versus 1.3% on the ex-BN route.  The direction of traffic is never changed because heavy unit trains are generally minimally powered and many would require additional power on the ex-BN line.

The ex-BN line does have signficant speed-restricted track between Trinidad and Des Moines as Mudchicken eluded to, but it does have advantages.  The ex-ATSF line is all dark from Las Animas Jct to Amarillo (except for a couple of CTC islands) with very few sidings on the south end of the subdivision.  The BN route (which was a two-way railroad before BN purchased the ATSF, creating BNSF) has ABS signaling the whole way, except for a curious 47 miles of unsignaled double track (supposedly the longest stretch of such track in the U.S.) from Southern Jct. (Pueblo) to Walsenburg, which was once jointly operated by C&S/BN and D&RGW.  The Trinidad-to-Des Moines section even has CTC, with some automatic siding switches in TWC/ABS between Texline and Amarillo.  The ex-BN route has numerous sidings - a testimony to it being once BN's only coal route to/from Texas.

It will be interesting to see how this coal train is routed beyond Amarillo.  While the New Elk website gives the destination of the train as New Orleans, the Convent Marine terminal is actually west of there along the Mississippi River, accessed only by CN (ex-IC), meaning the train likely would need to use the Huey P. Long bridge in Baton Rouge (used by KCS) to cross the Mississippi River.  

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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 12:48 AM

Is the Dallas, TX to Shreveport, LA portion of the route......KCS?

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 9:26 AM

The coal is moving southeasterly. This stint on the Chief is northeasterly (I estimate 80-100 miles). Is this diversion to the NE simply necessity based on where tracks exist?

Still in training.


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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 11:08 AM

MidlandMike

It's interesting that the coal company shows a UP map for the move.  My 1970 Official Guide has Rio Grande's system map, which shows one of their lines (maybe trackage rights) going past Trinadad and ending at Jansen.  Not sure if this arraingment was still in effect at the UP merger, or whether UP retains it.

 

Gave up their trackage rights in 2000 (AB33_160(x) over C&S/BN after they dumped their own line in the 1960's - DRGW engine house in Trinidad still survives - now a city maintenance shop)... as did C&W/ Trinidad Ry under AB6_388(x).

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 11:17 AM

MidlandMike
 
mudchicken
...Kinda odd that there is no filing with STB on this. Just miners being reckless? 

Last of Colorado & Wyoming still operating at the Pueblo steel plant formerly CF&I Steel.  This new project does not seem to have any connection to that railroad.  Unless the mining company incorperates the new project as a railroad, my understanding is that they would not enjoy eminent domain, and would be hard pressed to obtain a ROW. 

The fun will start and the fur will fly with the first crossing of a public/county road. (the old PUC and FRA decisions no longer apply. - They died with the abandonment and the A&K scandals when they pulled out.)

ps- there was an NITU (rail-trail) agreement over the whole 28 miles, but it got partially suspended - See AB-573 (Decision 33016; 10-2-2002)...Killed by A&K and it's surrogate, Kern Valley Railway....part of the line (13.1 miles from Trinidad Dam to Segundo) was railbanked later in fall 2003, but the last 5+ miles to the mine and the 10 miles beyond that to Weston/Allen Mine was not included. (The paperwork and the GIS that goes with that is shaky at best)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by CMStPnP on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 1:03 PM

Wow, imagine that, new rail to be laid.   

I wonder what will happen when they revamp the Denver to Pueblo route to handle passenger trains.   It will definitely end one of the "railroad armageddon" arguments ("can't possibly done") in these forums but I am also interested in what innovative solution they come up with the rail passenger proposal.   Which is still just talk right now and needs to advance further to EIS and design.

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Posted by Vermontanan2 on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 4:58 PM

Lithonia Operator

The coal is moving southeasterly. This stint on the Chief is northeasterly (I estimate 80-100 miles). Is this diversion to the NE simply necessity based on where tracks exist?

It's due to the directional running.  Southward trains between Pueblo and Amarillo go via La Junta, Las Animas, and Boise City; Northward trains via Dalhart, Clayton, and Trinidad.  The loaded coal train will use the Southwest Chief route from Jansen through Trinidad to La Junta to each the route southward (mostly loaded) trains use.  Returning as empties, trains will operate directly to Trinidad via Dalhart, though they will need to reverse direction at Trinidad to go from the ex-C&S(BN) to the ex-AT&SF.

--Mark Meyer

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Posted by Lithonia Operator on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 6:02 PM

Thanks, Mark.

Still in training.


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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 8:17 PM

mudchicken
- They died with the abandonment and the A&K scandals when they pulled out.

I didn't realize that A&K was involved.  Did they make any pretense of operating the line, or was it nominally a salvage operation?

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Posted by mudchicken on Wednesday, July 21, 2021 9:01 PM

The usual. Scrap it when you think they aren't looking and bypass the STB conditions where you can get away with it. This may lead to the STB being shown what they missed or failed to follow-up on 2000-2008. (ie - blackball these bottom feeders permanently)

Mudchicken Nothing is worth taking the risk of losing a life over. Come home tonight in the same condition that you left home this morning in. Safety begins with ME.... cinscocom-west
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Posted by SD60MAC9500 on Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:56 PM
 

Vermontanan2

It will be interesting to see how this coal train is routed beyond Amarillo.  While the New Elk website gives the destination of the train as New Orleans, the Convent Marine terminal is actually west of there along the Mississippi River, accessed only by CN (ex-IC), meaning the train likely would need to use the Huey P. Long bridge in Baton Rouge (used by KCS) to cross the Mississippi River.  

 
I'm somewhat surprised this coal is not getting exported out of Mobile, AL. Although SunCoke Energy which owns the Convent Marine Terminal has expanded the capacity of the facility as of recently.
 
 
 
 
Rahhhhhhhhh!!!!

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