Trains Diverted

A National Guard truck damaged by floodwaters and carried into a drainage ditch by the current lies next to twisted railroad tracks in Longmont, Colo., on Monday.

CHRIS SCHNEIDER | AP

CHEYENNE — About eight more coal trains a day are rumbling through Wyoming as rail cars continue to be diverted from flood-damaged tracks in Colorado, a Union Pacific Railroad spokesman said Wednesday.

Mark Davis said the UP line between Grand Junction, Colo., and Denver is out of service 30 miles west of Colorado’s capital city.

As a result, northern Colorado coal traffic that normally would take that route is being diverted to Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah, via the main UP line that comes through Cheyenne, he said.

“That’s about a 600-mile detour,” Davis said. “It takes about an additional 72 hours to move that traffic.”

Davis said the UP tracks in Wyoming weren’t damaged by this past week’s heavy rains and high water.

“It’s all in Colorado and we’re preparing a little bit for it in southwest Nebraska where the South Platte River runs,” Davis said.

Davis noted that the forecast for when the South Platte will crest as a result of flooding in Colorado keeps changing. Officials there are concerned about possible rail line damage.

Meanwhile, an Amtrak train was diverted to Cheyenne last weekend because of the flooding in Colorado and the loss of the line between Denver and Grand Junction.

The Amtrak train doesn’t normally go into Cheyenne. It stops at Borie, west of Cheyenne.

Am Amtrak spokesman said Wednesday he was unsure if the diversion to Cheyenne happened more than once.

Amtrak passengers were being bused between Denver and Grand Junction on Wednesday. The busing will continue at least through Thursday, company spokesman Marc Magliari said.

The flooding in Colorado also forced the Burlington Northern Sante Fe Railroad to reroute two lines between Wyoming and Colorado to the east through Nebraska, BNSF spokesman Matt Jones said.

The two lines go through Cheyenne.

“The disruptions are in Colorado, not in Wyoming, but it is disrupting some of the traffic in Wyoming,” Jones said.

“We’re working around the clock to restore service, but in some of these places we’re waiting for the water to recede,” he added.

Contact capital bureau reporter Joan Barron at 307-632-1244 or joan.barron@trib.com

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