Trains not likely to return through Eagle County |

Trains not likely to return through Eagle County

Cliff Thompson
Crews have been building a crossing point for a private residence in Wolcott, but railroad officials say there are no plans to begin running trains through Eagle County.

Rail crews working on the Union Pacific rail line through Eagle County have spawned plenty of speculation about the railroad re-using the tracks that bisect the valley, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

“You won’t wake up one morning and hear trains going by,” said John Bromley, spokesman for the railroad.

Bromley said crews have been building a crossing point for a private residence in Wolcott. Asked if there has been conversation at the corporate level that the rail line will again be put into use, Bromley replied, “absolutely none.”

The Tennessee Pass route, Bromley said, was an expensive route for the railroads because it was steep and required extra locomotives to pull long strings of coal cars.

That line has been out of service and “rail banked” since 1997, when a merger of the Union Pacific and Southern Pacific allowed the railroad to use the Moffat Tunnel route. That route follows the Colorado River, then crosses the Continental Divide through the tunnel for its 110-car trains that haul coal from Wyoming and Utah to midwest and power plants in the south.

Participate in The Longevity Project

The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.

“After the merger we had other routes that were superior,” Bromley said.

He said the railroad has 13,000 private property crossing points on its 33,000 miles of track. Most of those, he said, are for farms.

Cliff Thompson can be reached at 970-949-0555 x450 or

Support Local Journalism