Friday, January 16, 2009

West Corridor Light Rail Officially Receives Federal Funding

Today, Denver's RTD officials will meet with Federal Transit Administration acting Administrator Sherry Little in Golden's Taj Mahal, also known as the Jefferson County Government Center, to sign over $308 Milllion in federal funds to complete the West Corridor light rail route. When completed, the line will link Union Station in Downtown Denver with Golden, Lakewood, and west Denver utilizing the old Associated Railroads right-of-way for much of the route. In 2012, the West Corridor Project is going to be the first to be completed as part of RTD's FasTracks program.

Friday, January 9, 2009

One Big, Black Mess

A derailment of 39 coal cars from a BNSF train near Manzanola yesterday is still in the process of being cleaned up. No injuries were reported, but several coal cars were damaged. An aerial photo of the wreck can be found in the story from the Pueblo Chieftain. The cause is still unknown.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Galloping Goose For Breakfast

Editor's Note: Happy 2009, everyone! Later this month, Colorado Railroads blog will celebrate completing it's 3rd year of posting news and items of interest to fans of Colorado railroading. Like you, I can't wait to see what the future holds!

Ronald Tallman, Executive Director of the Colorado Railroad Museum, made an appearance on Denver's 9News yesterday. He presented RGS Goose #7 and Goose #2 to early morning viewers and mentioned the Mother's Day Goosefest planned for May. Click above to play the video. Watch also for the dramatic helicopter shot showing Tallman by the restoration roundhouse on the museum grounds.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

RMRA Presents I-70 & I-25 Options To DRCOG Today

The Rocky Mountain Rail Authority will meet with the Denver Regional Council of Governments today. They plan to present the framework for their Colorado Department of Transportation study to use rail or other fixed guideway technology to alleviate congestion along the I-70 and I-25 corridors. The study will look at feasibility of different technologies as well as plan station locations along both routes. The meeting is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. at the DRCOG offices, 1290 Broadway in Denver. Similar meetings are planned for Pueblo and Ft. Collins. More information...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

RGS Goosefest Photos

Donald Tallman of the Colorado Railroad Museum has put his pictures of the Thanksgiving Goosefest on Webshotz (fair warning about ads). With the snow they got that day, the Geese looked right at home.

Could it be that a contraption built to help a railroad survive the Great Depression finds new relevance helping the museum bring in customers on a regular basis by running low-cost exhibitions of Colorado history? It could very well be.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

D&SNGRR Offers Annual Pass

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad will offer annual passes for the first time in its 28 years operating the railroad between its namesake cities. Annual passes were nothing new in the days of Otto Mears, whose Rio Grande Southern Railroad connected with Durango and issued its annual passes in solid silver for a brief time. This time, no silver. But you will part with a nice C-note to grab one of the adult passes and half that for the half-pints. Visit the site to find out more.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Grade Crossing Accidents Claim Two

Two grade-crossing accidents in Colorado exactly 36 hours from each other claimed the lives of two men. That's where the similarities of the two end.

The first accident happened Tuesday December 2nd at 12:45 a.m. in Mesa county near Clifton, CO when 28 year-old Aaron David Rudder of Grand Junction was struck near a grade crossing by a Union Pacific train bound for Provo, UT. The train went into emergency but was unable to stop before colliding. Rudder was last seen at a bar about a quarter-mile from the scene where he had drank a pitcher of beer. He had refused a ride home from the bar owners. His remains were scattered by the accident and it's believed he died instantly. He leaves behind a wife of three months.

The second accident happened Wednesday the 3rd at 6:45 p.m. in Denver at 66th and Franklin Street where Jerry Rivera, a 33 year-old switchman for the Denver Rock Island shortline railroad was riding the end of a local freight train backing through the crossing at 5 m.p.h. when a Freightliner semi rig entered the intersection and pinned Mr. Rivera between the railcar and the rig. He died at the scene, leaving behind a wife and three daughters. The driver of the semi was taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The grade crossing is marked by crossbucks, but no lights or gates.

Two lives cut short at Christmastime. Both accidents were preventable by safety precautions that were ignored. It didn't have to end this way, but it did. Our prayers are with the families affected by these accidents.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Rocky Ford Grade Crossing Claims Three

Two teenaged sisters and their grandmother were killed when they drove in front of a BNSF freight train in Otero County here in Colorado on Friday evening. According to the Denver Post article, Trooper Gilbert Mares of the Colorado State Patrol said that Devonna Griffin was driving a blue Dodge Durango north on Otero County Road 20.5 about a quarter mile east of Rocky Ford at 4:49 p.m. when the train struck the vehicle. Driver Devonna Griffin, 17, front-seat passenger Krystal Griffin, 19, and back-seat passenger Joan Griffin, 66, were all killed in the accident.

According to a more detailed account in the Rocky Mountain News,
The SUV was hit on the driver's side, which sent the vehicle spinning counterclockwise. The vehicle went off the east side of the roadway and came to rest on its right side, facing southwest.

The train was a local BNSF freight working out of Denver, crewed by three employees based out of La Junta. None of the crew were physically harmed.

The reason for the driver's failure to yield to the train is still under investigation, although at least one article interviewing the victims families posits a few theories. US Highway 50, the main highway in the area runs parallel to the tracks just north of the grade crossing. It could be possible that the most inexperienced driver of the three victims ignored the crossing because she was approaching the highway, a danger perceived by the young driver as more imminent or more threatening.

Whatever the reason, the tragedy is that three women lost their lives in an accident that could possibly have been prevented by railroad crossing lights and arms. This same grade crossing claimed the lives of two men earlier this year and Otero county officials prioritized the crossing for the improvements. In fact, one report presented that Otero County had taken delivery of such safety devices but had not installed them. The improvements will come next year, too late for the three victims this weekend, and not soon enough for the other residents of Rocky Ford.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

D&SNGRR Ridership Down But Evens Up By Cutting Expenses

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad released that its ridership was down 11% from last season. Pre-emtively, the railroad scaled back operations earlier this year by removing its fourth train from the schedule. The move helped keep their budget on track this year. For more information, view the article from the Durango Herald here.

The D&SNGRR begins its winter schedule later this month on the 26th with runs to Cascade Canyon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Union Pacific Strikes Preliminary Deal With RTD For FasTracks

Union Pacific and RTD have struck a preliminary deal worth $210 Million for railroad relocation to allow RTDs FasTracks light rail/commuter rail project to proceed after negotiations failed earlier this year. RTD will pay to relocate UP assets to create its planned corridors. The deal specifically mentions the West Corridor, the Gold Line, the North Metro Line and the East Corridor from Union Station out to Pena Boulevard. RTD acquires UPs Boulder Industrial Lead from Denver to Boulder.

The differences were resolved. The projects moved foward. And there was much rejoicing.

Having Galloping Goose For Thanksgiving

The news from Donald Tallman out at the Colorado Railroad Museum in Golden is that they're having Geese for Thanksgiving. Rio Grande Southern Galloping Goose No. 2, Galloping Goose No. 6, and Galloping Goose No. 7 will both be operating on the museum's loop of track on Thanksgiving weekend, with passengers allowed to ride in Goose No. 7. Special event admission applies, which puts the adults at $12 a person.

More details regarding the museum's flock of 3

Note: it was previously listed that only Geese 6 and 7 were operating, but Mr. Tallman says all three will be running.