Proposals could bring trains to Colorado’s Tennessee Pass

It’s been 23 years since trains rumbled through the tunnel atop Tennessee Pass.
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 10:10 AM EDT
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DENVER (AP) —It’s been 23 years since trains rumbled through the tunnel atop Tennessee Pass.

That could change as interest in the dormant Tennessee Pass Line between Cañon City and Dotsero grows. A fledgling railway project in Utah’s Uinta Basin and a billionaire New York City developer with thousands of acres of wheat and an existing rail operation in southeastern Colorado are circling the tracks, hoping to revive the state’s 208-mile trans mountain railway.

If either gets their wish, trains carrying freight, crude oil and, possibly, passengers, could be rolling through the Royal Gorge, Salida, Browns Canyon, Buena Vista, Leadville, Minturn, Avon, Eagle and Gypsum.

The Surface Transportation Board that safeguards the nation’s rail network has spent the last three months working with the Tennessee Pass Line owner Union Pacific as the longtime rail operator negotiates with suitors for the stretch of the railroad it idled in 1997. While few of the players are talking, the filings with the transportation board are telling.

It began in February, when Colorado Pacific Railroad filed an application with the Surface Transportation Board, asking it to force Union Pacific to sell the Tennessee Pass Line for $8.8 million. Union Pacific last year declined Colorado Pacific’s offer of $10 million.

Colorado Pacific Railroad is owned by KCVN, which is owned by New York City high-rise developer Sheldon Solow and his son, Stefan Soloviev, who reclaimed the original spelling of his family’s name. Soloviev runs Crossroads Agriculture, a variety of agricultural businesses on KVCN’s vast acreage in Kansas and Colorado.

The company estimated in its Feb. 14 application with the transportation board that it would need $278 million to rehabilitate more than 208 miles of track between the Royal Gorge and Dostero.

Copyright 2020 WVLT. All rights reserved.

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