Tracks are fixed in Glenwood Springs, but Amtrak’s still derailed
Ryan Summerlin November 5, 2013
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The washed out railroad tracks west of Denver have been fixed, and freight trains have resumed running between Denver and Grand Junction, but Amtrak passenger trains have yet to be allowed back on those same tracks, officials said on Tuesday.
Calli Hite, a spokeswoman for the Union Pacific Railroad, confirmed on Tuesday that the tracks washed out by the recent floods along Colorado’s Front Range have all been fixed and are carrying freight.
“We’re working off, kind of, the backlog of freight traffic,” she explained, adding that the freight to be delivered to commercial customers takes precedence over passenger traffic on the UP’s tracks.
Amtrak does not own any of the tracks it runs on around the U.S., but contracts with the freight companies and other firms that do own the lines.
Hite said she was not sure when Amtrak would be permitted to resume its Amtrak California Zephyr run, a famed and scenic route through the central Colorado Rocky Mountains. Since the floods, Amtrack has routed its trains to the north from Denver to Salt Lake City. Passengers with tickets to Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction have been switched to chartered buses or given replacement tickets for a later date.
The flooding, which began in early September, washed out several lengths of track, including a short stretch that was left suspended 20-30 feet over a gorge named Lost Bogie Canyon near Denver, where once the tracks had traveled on a short, man-made ridge between two tunnels.
Amtrak spokesman Marc Maglieri, speaking from Chicago, said he was hoping to know more about the resumption of passenger train traffic west from Denver “by the end of the week.”