Corporation asks Area Transportation Board to prohibit crude oil, other hazardous shipments on Tennessee Move rail line

The Tennessee Go rail line operates by Eagle, Lake, Chaffee and Fremont counties.
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Hoping to allay “erroneous concerns” about the defunct Tennessee Move rail line maybe coming back to daily life, a enterprise proposing to resume freight and possibly passenger provider is inquiring federal officers to prohibit its proposed lease agreement to stop the shipment of any crude oil, coal and harmful products on the line.

Colorado, Midland & Pacific Railway Co., a subsidiary of Rio Grande Pacific Corp., has a proposed lease settlement with Union Pacific, which owns the rail line, pending prior to the U.S. Surface area Transportation Board, which regulates the nation’s railways. The proposed amendment was submitted Monday.

Rio Grande Pacific Corp. is organizing to work the proposed Uinta Basin Railway in Utah. If ultimately accepted, that railway would be crafted to get crude oil from Utah to national rail traces and then refineries — boosting issues amid some that individuals shipments could head as a result of Colorado and the Tennessee Pass rail line.

“From the commencing, CMPR has stated and restated our curiosity in discovering commuter/passenger possibilities and local commercial freight in the Tennessee Move rail corridor lease area, which is around 160 miles amongst the Sage/Eagle County Airport area and Parkdale,” Richard Bertel, CEO of Rio Grande Pacific, wrote in a letter Wednesday to communities alongside the rail line.

“Still, untrue speculation proceeds related to some hypothetical use of the Tennessee Pass rail line for crude oil and other commodities from outside the corridor,” Bertel’s letter continues. “This week, CMPR voluntarily created the attached amended filing with the U.S. Surface Transportation Board to restrict its lease to manage only the transportation of travellers and general commodities — precisely excluding crude oil, coal and dangerous commodities from currently being transported in excess of the line. This filing confirms our original function for the line and our alignment with group passions.”

The Tennessee Pass rail line has been out of support given that 1997. Its tracks operate along the Arkansas River and by communities there, as perfectly as by towns in the Eagle River Valley, crossing the mountains at an elevation of far more than 10,000 ft. The new lease arrangement for the line with Colorado, Midland & Pacific Railway was very first announced Dec. 31.

“There’s been a great deal of untrue speculation, anxiety that opening the line would open up the route to hazardous products or volumes that would not be desirable. So we just restated our desire is in acquiring industrial (freight) and passenger and commuter options,” Sara Cassidy, spokeswoman for Rio Grande Pacific Corp. and Colorado, Midland & Pacific Railway Co., reported of the new filing.

The business has invested the previous a number of months on a “listening tour” with regional communities alongside the rail line.

“Eagle County and others have vocalized concern about a linkage among Tennessee Go and a crude oil challenge, and we’re attempting to be abundantly distinct and demonstrate that we are aligned with neighborhood pursuits,” Cassidy stated.

Eagle County Commissioner Matt Scherr mentioned he queries no matter whether the Surface and Transportation Board would really approve the proposed restriction.

The filing — which asks the board to restrict the proposed lease against the the transportation of crude oil, coal and dangerous commodities on the line — by itself notes that whilst restrictions on the scope of commodities to be taken care of are not typically imposed, “they are not exceptional.”

“A selection of parties in this proceeding have submitted in opposition to the proposed lease generally on the faulty rivalry that CMPR was intending to transport crude oil, coal or dangerous commodities about the line,“ the filing states. ”These faulty contentions are remaining produced notwithstanding CMPR’s emphatic statements that CMPR has no intent, substantially considerably less capability, to transportation these commodities above the line due to options of the line that make it logistically impractical to do so. For example, the line has additional than 11 miles of 3% grade.“

Scherr said Eagle County strategies to also maintain a community listening tour this spring or summer months to superior gauge what the neighborhood would like to see happen with the rail line — a little something that has been derailed up to now by the pandemic.

“We have not still finished the group powwow to say what do we want to have occur with this rail line, but I simply cannot imagine of any one who would be happy to see crude oil all over right here,” Scherr mentioned, including that quite a few people would in all probability not want to see any freight on the line, while it would very likely be vital to support fork out for any passenger or commuter expert services that could just one working day materialize.

Eagle County and the city of Avon have contracted with the legislation agency Kaplan Kirsch & Rockwell in Denver to look at or perhaps obstacle the rail line’s reactivation if essential.

“We love talking about prospective passenger rail, and the (amended) application to the Surface Transportation Board is wonderful. It would be nice to have that completely banned, but we do not imagine the board will do that,” Scherr reported.

For the company’s section, Bertel’s letter notes that the organization seems ahead to discovering 21st century applications for the Tennessee Pass rail line — which dates back to the late 1800s.

“We are inspired to contemplate how this rail line may complement current transit products and services to perform a good job in an place that offers planet course recreation and landscapes, which draws neighborhood, national and intercontinental tourism and better facilitates associated work and workforce transportation needs, all in the vicinity of airports, mountain communities, schooling institutions and more,” Bertel wrote. “We are eager to investigate how rail may well help relieve congestion on state and community roadways and present extra efficient selections to transportation a increasing need for merchandise that at this time travel by truck, in a time of soaring gasoline price ranges and growing issue about our surroundings.”

Colorado Pacific Railroad has also announced that it designs to obstacle the proposed lease agreement for the Tennessee Move line, following its tries to purchase the line, and then power a sale, failed. That enterprise could not be reached for remark.