Boxcars stored west of Eagle await uptick in Union Pacific business
EAGLE — A couple of weeks ago when a train rolled through the valley, it sparked local memories of times when rail traffic was a daily occurrence.
But when the train engines pulled away, they left more than just recollections. There are now 105 coal cars stored on the tracks just west of Eagle.
Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, cited the economy as the reason for the appearance of the cars.
“They are being stored because right now, they are not being needed in the rail industry,” Davis said. “As soon as we need those cars, they start pulling them off to use them, but right now the operating team couldn’t tell me when that might occur.”
Davis said the nature of the winter of 2014-15 played a big part in the coal car glut.
Support Local Journalism
“The mines are not having to ship as much coal to the utilities because of the mild winter,” he said.
Davis added that as shipping needs increase, locals will notice the line of stationary cars will start to shrink.
“People will notice a few of them being taken away at a time,” Davis said.
This isn’t the first time the local tracks have served as a train car storage area. Former Eagle Town Manager Willy Powell confirmed the railroad enacted a similar plan a few years ago and local wildlife officials eventually became involved.
“Wildlife officials thought that was an impediment to wildlife trying to get down to the river,” Powell said.
Craig Wescoatt, local wildlife manager with the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, confirmed Powell’s recollection.
“We did have issues with the cars being stored there the last time because it was a continual line. There were no breaks between the cars,” Wescoatt said. “Basically it was a mile, or close to it, obstructed.”
However, he noted that the current storage pattern is different.
“This year, it looks like they put breaks between the cars fairly frequently,” Wescoatt said. “That’s addressing most of the issues.”
Staff writer Pam Boyd can be reached at 970-328-6656 Ext. 4 or email@example.com