Tuesday, August 26, 2014

V&S Scrapping Towner Line Without Approval?

You may remember a post and a follow-up in late 2011 about the state trying to save the "Towner line" from being carved up by its erstwhile benefactor V&S Railway. Yesterday, Nathan Holmes of DRGW.net has posted news* and photographs showing recent activity, all of them destructive or foreboding to the former Missouri Pacific main line that once connected Pueblo and Denver with Kansas City and St. Louis.

Mr. Holmes was also out there in July covering a series of washouts that occurred July 15, when he also took a sharp picture of Union Pacific's sharp-looking heritage unit only a few miles from its former home rails. The MoPac as it is known is far from forgotten, with an historical society and an employee association and quite a few fans. Along with the Rio Grande and Western Pacific, the Towner line served to connect Gould's railroads to threaten the Union Pacific and all other transcon routes.

There is, DRGW.net says, at least one offer in front of the Federal Surface Transporation Board to buy the line outright. The worrisome sightings by Holmes and others interested in this line are indicative that V&S intends to scrap the line outright, regardless of its legal obligations. Why else place the scrapping equipment in key areas? It's like finding a circular saw and saw horses along a fence a neighbor wants to remove from your common property line. What are they planning? Wouldn't you ask your neighbor about his intentions?

One final bit of thought, and it is directed at those who might file Towner Line under "so what?" Once rights-of-way are gone, they are next to impossible to recreate or recover. If Pueblo wants east-west passenger service, Towner would be much easier to keep than to buy space on BNSF.

A message sent to V&S seeking a statement about the Towner Line via their site has yet to be returned.◊

* -  No direct link provided. If not visible, click here to search DRGW.net for the latest news regarding the Towner line
UP 1982 EMD SD70ACe
Union Pacific Railroad honored Missouri Pacific in 2006 with a heritage unit. Today, the transcon link is being chipped away by those who would sell Colorado short.
Photo: terry cantrell via Wikimedia Commons

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