Saturday, June 28, 2008
No, it's Durango, and Purgatory's a few miles down the road. All the same, Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad owner Al Harper and business partner Karen Langhart have plans to build a railroad-themed hotel and convention center, tentatively called Railroad Crossing, adjacent to the train yard. The hotel would have approximately 220 rooms and the 26,000 sq. ft. convention center would accommodate 400 - 600 people, making it the largest hotel and convention site in Durango. The catch is, can Durango foot the anticipated $500,000 annual shortfall the new facility would likely operate with?
Once built, the property would be anchored at College and Camino Del Rio, joining with the existing D&SNGRR property on its south side. This would surround the existing General Palmer Hotel in a U-shape, with the railroad on the east and Railroad Crossing on the south and west.
Lots of hotel chains have approached Harper about building a hotel on site. The problem was that if corporate vision changed, Harper would be stuck with running or selling the property. "My dream," he said, "was to find a partner who believes when you stay at this hotel you'll be immersed in the railroad culture of Durango. This will be a railroad experience like no other."
Railroad Crossing would also have a two-level, subterranean garage beneath the hotel, conserving parking spaces in a downtown area that already sees enough cars with the railroad passengers parking for the day-long trip. Also planned are first-floor retail shops and a railroad-themed central plaza with a stationary engine and rails embedded in asphalt for moving railcars in and out of the area.
If they build it, we will come. The question is, will they be willing to bet the farm? Harper and Langhart are serious. Will Durango go with them?
Thursday, June 26, 2008
If the accident happened at the intersection of CR-6 and the railroad, that crossing is a dirt road (thus the grader) and was protected only by crossbucks.
Say a prayer for the crew and the family of the deceased.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Operation Lifesaver ran a special on Saturday from Utah into Glenwood Springs over the former Rio Grande trackage. On point was Union Pacific #1989, the Rio Grande Heritage unit. Three short round trips were planned to take passengers from Glenwood to Dotsero through Glenwood Canyon. Those of you familiar with the history of the canyon will remember this monument to an idea. The canyon was the original location for the monument honoring the concept of creating dome cars for people to view the scenery they passed through.
Update: Here's an article from the train's trip to Montrose. It made roundtrips to Paonia for employees of Montrose city government.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
NBC Nightly News featured Denver's RTD Light Rail D-line on their Wednesday night (6/18) broadcast as part of a piece on fuel prices and improving quality of life for urban centers. If costs are managed better, Denver can be the example of what western cities can do with mass transit systems. The video from the broadcast is embedded below.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Since FasTracks went up from its original price tag of $4.7 billion to $6.1 billion in May 2007, there has been another year of hefty inflation in the construction industry - fueled by hikes in steel, concrete and oil. The Colorado Construction Cost Index, a measure of costs for transportation projects maintained by the Colorado Department of Transportation, increased 6.1 percent last year.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Alternate transportation will be provided between Denver and points in Nebraska by chartered motorcoach. Ground transportation to or from Iowa is not being offered due to roadway flooding.
Colorado Railroads blog post: RGS Galloping Goose No. 4 To Be Restored In Ridgway
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
... a Westminster police officer had struggled to get it off the tracks after someone called and reported it about 8:30 p.m. Two hours later, the stump was back and a 37-car freight train hit it and derailed, causing major damage to the train and spilling thousands of dollars worth of cargo.
This highlights the necessity of police and other first responders working to communicate suspicious activity to railroad police and dispatchers. I do not work for BNSF, but if a slow order or a high-rail vehicle were dispatched for the next train on that line, the derailment might have been avoided.
On a side note, several mechanically inclined volunteers are needed at the Colorado Railroad Museum to put the No. 50 Switcher back together. They need a Project Leader and individuals to work on installing the transmission, clutch, air brake rigging and running gear. If this is your cup of tea, contact Kelvin Harr at the link above.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
The derailment happened at 95th Avenue and Wadsworth Parkway in Denver's northwest suburb of Westminster. Other Denver media, including 9news.com and the Denver Post (all news outlets), have picked up the story. Three crew members were aboard the local and one was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. Police still don't know who may have placed the stump or trunk on the tracks, only that it could have been much more serious had the train been carrying something other than building supplies.
Kevin has more pictures from this afternoon. Crews are still working to remove the debris to re-open the line. There is no current estimate on when the line will reopen.
Monday, June 9, 2008
Similarly, the Grand County Historical Society is seeking to save the Granby Depot from the same wrecking ball. Ideally, the depot would be removed to a donated tract of land. If not, the society could possibly place it on existing land but it would be "jam-packed."
Entreaties by the Middle Park railroad afficianados to the railroad's central offices in Omaha have thusfar gone unheeded and unheard. The demolition move by the UP is part of their effort to make the railroad property from Denver to Glenwood Springs more presentable.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
On a side note, I'm glad to see the Denver Leadville & Gunnison engine 191 is finally getting some attention. For years, she's stood as a shadow of what she once was. Will she steam again? I don't know, but with all the steam power coming on line in the last few years and the current projects in the works, anything is indeed possible.
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Rio Grande Scenic Railroad, Colorado's newest scenic railroad, begins its High Altitude Concert Series on July 17. In its second year, the train’s mountain concerts feature the return of cowboy poet and Western Music Hall of Fame inductee, Michael Martin Murphey, along with country and bluegrass singer Ricky Skaggs, among other national recording artists. The Rio Grande Scenic Railroad has the only ticket to this exclusive Colorado concert setting among a natural meadow amphitheater of aspens and pines under clear starry skies. Performances take place on Fridays and Saturdays through August. If this sounds too good to pass up, here's your link to more information on the High Altitude Concert Series.