Union Pacific chiefs visit Granby | SkyHiNews.com

Union Pacific chiefs visit Granby

The upper echelon of Union Pacific Railroad executives stopped in Granby this week to promote relationships with local communities. The Union Pacific Foundation invited leaders from Grand County's communities and presented community grants to Grand County Search and Rescue, the Shining Stars Foundation and Routt County United Way. The Union Pacific Foundation first announced the grants in April 2014 as part of $244,000 given to 30 Colorado-based non-profit organizations. Union Pacific CEO Jack Koraleski, COO Lance Fritz and Union Pacific Foundation President Bob Turner arrived on one of Union Pacific's Heritage Trains to present the awards and speak with local leaders. Granby Town Manager Wally Baird was one of the local officials in attendance. "In the group that I was involved in, we talked mainly about the Union Pacific Foundation," said Baird. "We talked some about how their transportation has changed. They really don't do any passenger service with the exception of some areas where they've combined with other railroads." Union Pacific also expressed that it would like to see more customers riding Amtrak, which has stations in Granby and Fraser. "It helps them in a round-about way," Baird said. "It helps us in a direct way." Winter Park Town Manager Drew Nelson also attended the event. "We just got, basically, a presentation from the ceo of Union Pacific about their business model," said Nelson. Nowell Curran with Grand County EMS and Office of Emergency Management said that, in the past, her department has worked with Union Pacific in some of its responses, and she views the outreach efforts as beneficial. "I think that they've been a bit more proactive recently," Curran said, "on coming and meeting the communities that they travel through."

Union Pacific … is it extortion?

I was certainly interested in the recent Sky-Hi news article concerning the town council’s latest attempt to prevent Union Pacific from blaring the horns as their locomotives pass through Winter Park, especially since we literally live within a stone’s throw of the Vasquez Creek crossing. However, something doesn’t add up, and it seems to me that requiring the town to pay in excess of $450,000 up front plus $20,000 in yearly maintenance fees for crossing upgrades borders on extortion … pay up or we will continue to make your lives miserable. My wife and I also have an apartment across the street from a major heavy-rail commuter line through a densely populated corridor just north of Chicago. The trains and track are maintained by Union Pacific under the regulations of the Federal Railroad Administration. Guess what No horns, even though the locomotives blast through the towns at 70 mph. Furthermore, there are at-grade crossings every block without the four quadrant gates or the medians that Union Pacific demands we install. You can visualize the scene by imagining passenger trains rumbling down Colfax Avenue in Denver at 70 mph, rather than coal trains struggling to maintain a walking pace as they wind their way through Winter Park in the middle of the night. Being curious about the apparent discrepancy in regulations, I checked out the little white whistle boards that are posted along the tracks to signal engineers to sound the horns in advance of an at-grade crossing. In the Chicago suburbs they have a “QZ” below the “W,” which I assume stands for Quiet Zone. If our crossings are so dangerous in Winter Park, why doesn’t Union Pacific consider similar crossings more dangerous in Chicago? I think that we deserve an answer before paying for the upgrades. Or, perhaps, instead of paying the extortionists, the town should consider passing a train noise ordinance first and then stopping any offending trains at the Moffat tunnel and not letting the engineer proceed until he pays a $20,000 fine. John Kramer Winter Park, Colorado

Union Pacific train derails in Granby

GRANBY—A Union Pacific freight train derailed Wednesday morning, Nov. 25, in Granby blocking the railroad crossing on Zero Street at County Road 57. The lead locomotive is the only car off the tracks, but it wasn't immediately known how long the tracks would be blocked. Interruptions to Amtrak service is expected. This is the second derailment in Grand County this week. Another Union Pacific train derailed in Gore Canyon on Sunday evening.

Granby railroad area to be cleaned up in joint effort

The town of Granby is entering into a partnership with Union Pacific Railroad and Grand County to clean up a concrete and asphalt mess leftover from bygone bridge construction. At Granby’s town board meeting Tuesday, the town of Granby agreed to commit $9,000 to the project. Union Pacific, which this summer has been devoted to cleaning up properties along its railway, requested Granby’s help for the clean-up project estimated to cost around $35,000 to $40,000. Union Pacific is contributing $22,000, and Grand County has contributed crews and trucks. The county plans to break down the large concrete pieces with a crusher on-site, then transport the material to the landfill. Although Granby board members contemplated recycling the asphalt, it has been determined the material is too mixed in with dirt to be reused on town streets or bike paths. Granby officials expressed they were grateful to take part in an effort that makes the Kaibab Park area more visually appealing.

Trains through Grand County detour after floods

A conspicuous sound has been missing in Grand County. The trains typically whistling and clacking along the Union Pacific railroad — including the Amtrak passenger train — have been interrupted after heavy rains along the Front Range. According to Union Pacific representative Mark Davis, disruptions began late the night of Sept. 11. Effective Friday, Sept. 20, Amtrak will join Union Pacific trains in using an alternative route through Wyoming between Denver and Salt Lake City. Amtrak-chartered buses will provide transportation for some of its stops in Colorado. Those buses, however, will not be coming to Fraser or Granby. "We were there in both places earlier this week to see how accessible things are," said Marc Magliari, media contact for Amtrak. "During the cleanup period, it seems better that we don't put more heavy vehicles on the road." Amtrak and Union Pacific officials expect trains to be detoured through early October as crews repair lines west of Denver. Heavy rains and flooding washed out entire rail beds, leaving tracks suspended in the Rocky Flats area east of the Moffat tunnel. Passengers with Amtrak tickets for Granby and Fraser-Winter Park will be offered refunds or vouchers for future travel. According to Davis, 10 trains utilize the tracks between Granby and Grand Junction each day. Those trains include eight coal trains, one freight train and the Amtrak California Zephyr passenger train. Reporter Leia Larsen can be reached at 970=887-3334 ext. 19603.

Rare passenger coach arrives in Granby

GRANBY — A 108-year-old first-class passenger coach arrived in Granby on Tuesday, May 7, as the latest addition to the holdings of the Moffat Road Railroad Museum. After a year-long odyssey on four different railroads stretching across the United States from Rhode Island to the Rocky Mountains, the 70-foot-long, 75-ton railroad car is finally set to arrive at its new home. A Union Pacific flat car delivered the coach to Granby, then a 100-ton crane off-loaded the historic car to its site in Granby at the Moffat Railroad Museum Interpretive Center, located next to the Union Pacific Railroad siding. "This will be a great new addition to our interpretive center," said Dave Naples of the Moffat Road Railroad Museum. "It will fit in well with the 1923 Union Pacific CA-1 class all-wood caboose in place at the site along with an authentic 1930s-era hand-car and tool shed from the old Denver and Salt Lake Railroad." The Moffat Road Railroad Museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the legacy of the famous Moffat Road railroad line that crested the Continental Divide at 11,660 feet near Fraser, in what was considered one of the greatest railroad engineering feats of its time. The Moffat Road over Rollins Pass ceased being used with the completion of the Moffat Tunnel railroad tunnel in 1928. The coach that arrived is a 1905 all-wood first class passenger coach that was originally placed in service by the Central Vermont Railroad. The car is nearly identical to the first-class passenger coaches that were used by the Moffat Road trains that made their way over Rollins Pass between Grand County and Denver. "It's a very rare car," Naples said. "It's one of the last ones in existence. We're very pleased to have it and to have the opportunity to restore it and save it for history. That's what this is all about." The car was donated by the now-deceased Allen Bliek of Rhode Island. The journey to Grand County, however, cost $41,000, most of which was paid by donations to the Moffat Road Railroad Museum.

Union Pacific denies sale of property in Fraser to trails group

An effort to create a safe pedestrian town-to-park route for children and adults who use the Fraser Ballfields hit a major snag. Grand County and trail advocates learned recently that the Union Pacific Railroad opted not to sell a 30-by-1,000 foot stretch of Union Pacific right-of-way to the Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails. The decision was outlined in a letter to Partnership for Trails Project Coordinator Andy Miller. Until another option can be found and a formal trail contructed, Miller worries that it is just a matter of time before something tragic happens. Children walking to the ballfields often follow or cross the train tracks or walk along the highway, he said. “We’re trying to do the right thing before we have an accident,” Miller said. Partnership For Trails initially explored a trail along the Colorado Department of Transportation right-of-way, which ran up against dead ends. The railroad was the only hope for a trail that would link the Granby to Fraser trail to downtown Fraser, Miller said. The trail would direct pedestrians to a safer, gated railroad crossing at County Road 5 to the ballfields. Fraser, Grand County, the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District and Headwaters Trails Alliance have thrown in support for the potential trail. A Great Outdoors Colorado grant to build the trail with lottery funds was sought, but was recently denied. Even so, “everything was falling together nicely for the trail,” Miller said. “The railroad had been working with us for the last six months.” Efforts to reach a Union Pacific spokesperson were unsuccessful. The letter from Union Pacific Senior Manager of Real Estate Gregg Larsen denying the sale cites “safety concerns” as a primary reason “based on uncertainty of future rail and vehicular congestion along the railroad.” “It’s more unsafe to have kids on the tracks rather than behind the tracks,” Miller said. ” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@grandcountynews.com.

Granby buying RR property

Granby town officials are working to strike a deal with Union Pacific Railroad to acquire 1.25 acres of land. Next to the ballfields in Granby and adjacent to the location of a planned railroad museum, land owned by Union Pacific is identified in Granby’s Parks and Recreation Master Plan as desirable for completing a walking path around the ballfields and for possible picnic pavilions. Granby Town Manager Wally Baird was given a nod by the town board on Feb. 22 to accept U.P.’s $50,300 counter offer from the town’s $40,000 original offer to buy the property. The 1.5 acres has been appraised at $65,000. To make the purchase, town officials plan to use a $35,000 open-space fund in the town’s budget. The remainder would be found in the general fund, Baird said. The deal is expected to take another three months, and the property still needs to be surveyed, he said. For years, the property was an eyesore with concrete debris left over from the overpass construction on Highway 40. Were the town to acquire it, the land most ikely would be planted with native grasses, according to Baird. Baird also sees having a fence built to shield it from the railroad. Eventually, picnic pavilions could be built to enhance the spectator experience at the ballparks. The property would also allow added room for Grand County Model Railroad Club museum displays. According to Baird’s research, Union Pacific made a similar transaction with Pueblo in recent years. The property Pueblo bought was $1 per square foot, which is roughly the deal on Granby’s table. – Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext.19603.

Grand County Historical Association faces changes, good and bad

There are good changes and some not-so-good changes at the Grand County Historical Association and the Museums. Among the good changes are the project accomplishments made possible by individual and corporate donations and grant funding. We’re proud of the new entry and gift shop addition at Grand County/Pioneer Village Museum in Hot Sulphur and grateful for much needed repairs to the aging historical buildings. Richard Hartman, Public Affairs Director of the Union Pacific Railroad Co., delivered the grant from the Union Pacific Foundation on June 3, and the money was put to immediate use replacing the roof on the recently acquired Kremmling Railroad Depot at Heritage Park Museum in Kremmling. The Historical Association is grateful for these and other donations making progress and operations possible. The association has experienced some decline in operating revenue, as all organizations and government entities have, during this time of recession and is forced to make some adjustments in museum operations. The closing of the Cozens Stage Stop Museum on Jan. 1 was a not-so-good change, but the organization has been able to open it again on Saturdays for the rest of the summer. The Historical Association invites the community to meet Debbie Jordan, the Museum Assistant at Cozens. Other museums also have new employees – Jessie Baughar at Grand County/Pioneer Village Museum and Jim Wilson at Heritage Park Museum. With the help of the volunteers at the Last Time ‘Round Thrift Store, the Heritage Park Museum in Kremmling will be open on Fridays and Saturdays for the summer. Upcoming events are a Grand Opening for the new addition at Grand County/Pioneer Village Museum in Hot Sulphur Springs on July 4 from 1 to 4 p.m. and the garage sale will once again be held at the Miller’s Mini Storage on County Road 84 on Aug. 22 and 23. Call 725-3939. The Historical Association appreciates all its faithful members and supporters who help preserve the history of Grand County for the education of our present and future generations and the enjoyment of us all. Without the Grand County Historical Association many historical documents, photos and artifacts of Grand County would not be preserved.

Winter Park Quiet Zone will have to wait until spring

WINTER PARK – Final construction of the quiet zone at the Vasquez Road intersection with the railroad in Winter Park have been delayed due to weather and temperature, according to Union Pacific Railroad officials. What was originally supposed to be completed in last fall is now scheduled for completion in May. Construction of a quiet zone means trains no longer have to blow their whistles as they approach the intersection. Winter Park submitted its application for quiet zone crossings, along with a non-refundable $20,000 check, to Union Pacific in August 2009. It set aside $250,000 for “quiet zones” in its 2010 budget, and wrote a check for $222,389 on June 30, 2011. Construction began for Union Pacific in June 2010 and the agreement was in place in May 2011. Union Pacific ordered all the materials in August 2011. Due to weather and temperatures, the construction was delayed by Union Pacific, said spokesman Mark Davis, who said the project will be completed by May. Then the quiet zone will be initialized, he said. Drew Nelson has been working on this project since he became town manager in 2009. What remains to be completed includes installation of new gates and electronics for the contant warning device, he said. The crossing won’t look much different once that hardware is in place, said Nelson. Money the town has spent on the Vasquez quiet zone includes legal fees and engineering costs. In 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration passed a regulation allowing communities to install “quiet zones” that would preclude train engineers from blowing horns, but part of the regulation states that funding and maintenance costs will be paid by the towns.