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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / End of the line for Cheyenne Frontier Days train NEWSWIRE

End of the line for Cheyenne Frontier Days train NEWSWIRE

By | January 21, 2019

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The 2018 Cheyenne Frontier Days Train accelerates out of Greeley, Colo., in July.
Trains: Jim Wrinn
DENVER — The last annual steam-powered mainline excursion train in the U.S. is no more.

On Monday, the Denver Post said the train Denver-Cheyenne, Wyo., train has come to the end of the line. “While we have enjoyed our partnership with Union Pacific, due to the company’s utilization of its historic rail cars in 2019 and beyond, The Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train will no longer operate,” the website announcement said. “On behalf of The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation, we thank you for your past support and participation and hope we have an opportunity for continued support in the future.”

The event started in the early 1900s and as of 2018, The Denver Post, took more than 700 ticketed passengers on the UP to Cheyenne Frontier Days. The train became so popular that a lottery was conducted to see who got to purchase tickets. Sadly, the 2018 trip ended abruptly outside of Denver when a spectator was killed photographing the train powered by 4-8-4 No. 844.

UP issued this statement in response: “Union Pacific enjoyed its partnership with The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation. This year, we look forward to celebrating the 150th anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad, which includes sharing our historic steam locomotives No. 844 and Big Boy, No. 4014 with communities in several states along the route. We will announce trip details in the coming weeks.”

UP’s response added at 8:40 a.m. Jan. 22.

24 thoughts on “End of the line for Cheyenne Frontier Days train NEWSWIRE

  1. I sadly take it the liability risk – noting the fatality last year – was enough for UP to nix this event. Most unfortunate all the way around.

  2. Everyone needs to be cautious out there, not only ourselves, but we also need to watch out for those around us, so that more excursions are not canceled due to the carelessness of others around a railroad.

  3. Can’t help but wonder what this means for the rest of the steam program with UP. If they’re not willing to take the risk to run this event, what ARE they willing to do? Could the 150th be a swan song for UP steam?

  4. I suspect we are seeing the opening act of the conversion to the PSR perversion demanded by the money grubbing ghouls of Wall Street. Excursions, a steam program, and public relations have no place in that scenario.

  5. Why are posters attributing the cancellation to UP? Sounds more like DP’s doing.

    “While we have enjoyed our partnership with Union Pacific, due to the company’s utilization of its historic rail cars in 2019 and beyond, The Denver Post Cheyenne Frontier Days Train will no longer operate,” the website announcement said. “On behalf of The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation, we thank you for your past support and participation and hope we have an opportunity for continued support in the future.”

  6. Agreed Mr. Gasper. As was stated on another forum, the newspaper business “aint what it used to be”. Could be more of an event than the Post wants to deal with. Regardless, the release sounds as though it has nothing to do with UP’s willingness to operate the program, rather the Post is electing to bail out.

  7. Bradley and Bernard,

    Do you not understand what this line means: “While we have enjoyed our partnership with Union Pacific, due to the company’s utilization of its historic rail cars in 2019 and beyond”, that line right there says that the Union Pacific is doing something different with the utilization of it’s historic car fleet beginning in 2019 and going forward. That to me points the finger directly at Union Pacific in this matter and unless they respond to Trains with an explanation that makes sense and has nothing to do with OR, liability issues, PSR, PTC or Wall Street then I will lay the blame squarely at their feet. Of course, never having ridden the train or seen it doesn’t really affect me personally, it does affect those that used to look forward to this yearly event.

  8. End of the line for the Frontier Days train? Oh crap! This might be the start of the end of UP’s steam program. If sponsors for special events trains cannot be found, then the railroad’s management team just might decide that the program isn’t worth the expense. Remember what UP’s current president said just a few weeks ago, “We’ll see.”

  9. Maybe its a combo of issues (liabilities from last year’s fatality and the Denver Post trying to stay afloat)

  10. People must have a short memory. I seem to recall a lot of discussion the past couple years about how 2018 could have very well been the last annual trip. The Denver Post is a newspaper. Newspapers don’t sell in 2019. UP runs a business and “leases” the train. The Post is trying to run a business. The Post has determined they can longer consider this train’s sponsorship as fiscally sound decision while maintaining their other philanthropic capacities through The Denver Post Community Foundation. It’s pretty simple really, and the incident last year on the way into Denver had very little, *if anything* to do with the cease of this operation. It has been a long time coming. This isn’t a UP “cop-out” excuse.

  11. Is anyone aware of the time consumed in running any excursion? There are months of planning long before the “big day”! Some times things just don’t work out to the satisfaction of the rail fans that want the trip to run. This is not the 1950’s when the railroads had passenger departments who were in charge of these things. You all need to read the article last year in Trains Magazine by Kelly Lynch of the Fort Wayne Group. Kelly explains it better than I can. As for the Denver Post’s press release. well the plans that UP have for the passenger cars in 2019 and beyond are anyone’s guess BUT with the 4014 coming online. it is going to need passenger cars to pull and the same car CANNOT be in two places separated by several hundred miles at the same time! So everyone should notch back their throttles of inane comments to idle and let’s see how this plays out!

  12. Sadly, a base reason is that the Denver Post has been steadily shrinking. Beset by online media and a hostile parent company, all fun and good times have been cut. I can barely wrap a small trout in the Saturday edition.

  13. I’m glad Trains got ::something:: out of UP, but that statement is about as useless as it gets. Now, more than ever, it would be really nice if UP would just come out and re-affirm their commitment to continued operation of steam into the future. It seems clear that whoever is in charge of writing press releases has specifically not been given permission to do that.

    I don’t know if the 150th will be a swan song or not, but I intend to treat it like one. I’ll be booking my travel as soon as specific details are announced.

  14. Ed Dickens isn’t a PR spokesman for the UP and I’m sure he wants the steam program to continue but I am sure the decision will be made at the corporate level.

  15. “On behalf of The Denver Post and The Denver Post Community Foundation, we are sorry to have to cancel this unique event. This event is completely dependent upon the availability of the Union Pacific Heritage Fleet train cars and steam engines. For 2019 and beyond, we have been notified by Union Pacific that their equipment is no longer available to us for rental. It has been our pleasure to put on this great event and carry on its legacy to date.” Tracy Ulmer, President and CEO, The Denver Post Community Foundation

  16. End of an era.

    So UP don’t want to run it is what I take from this which is a shame considering they could run the trip themselves without the Post.

  17. Many major newspapers and periodicals worldwide continue to fold due to stiff competition and shrinking circulation as a result of continued increased production, personnel, and overhead costs combined. As an example, count the number of railroad related magazines in the U.S. alone that have disappeared off the market in recent years alone that railfans and modelers used to enjoy. Of course, there are survivors. Thank goodness, Kalmbach Publishing Company is one of them!

    I for one am going to refrain from spreading any idle speculaton regarding the reason(s) why the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days event is being terminated. I’m convinced that the public and railroad publicatons alike, will be informed when it’s feasible to do so, thus putting an end to any speculation and as a result, will set the overall story straight once and for all. As soon as that unfolds, rest assured, Trains, THE Magazine of Railroading, will be the first to release Breaking News to each and every dedicated reader!

    This hasn’t changed since A.C. Kalmbach founded Kalmbach Publishing Company in the depression year of 1934. Today, in 2019, that tradition continues. Anything less would spell disaster to this company that has always firmly believed in printing only the facts in all of the diversed publications it prints and distributes to readers worldwide. Truth and Integrity is what has made Kalmbach what it is today. If I am critical in some of my views, that isn’t to say I still don’t respect all of the loyal dedicated men and women who strive to make and keep Kalmbach Number One in the publishing business.

    Thanks guys, you’re simply the greatest!

    Respectfully yours,

    Joseph Toth Jr.

    The Trinity River Boomer of Dallas Texas
    Derailed in Deutschland

  18. I agree with the comments that this is exclusively coming from the Denver Post ending sponsorship and not UP cutting back. Why on earth would the railroad spend millions on their steam program and and keep no less than three classic locomotives operating along with a fine fleet of passenger equipment? I would have expected Big Boy to participate in the Frontier Days run if anything.

  19. It appears the Denver Post is ending its sponsorship of the CFD special. They try to place at least some of the blame on UP but this may be a PR attempt to deflect any negative public reaction. Perhaps the solution is CFD finding a new sponsor for the special. Selling tickets certainly isn’t the problem.

  20. With all due respect. The fact that Amtrack has placed equipment up for sale and I’m certain more can be found on the North American market I fail to see why the popular Cheyenne Frontier Days event must be cancelled indefinitely.

    Item: Was BNSF even approached to be considered as a participant and/or co-sponsor? Even in Diesel, the event would remain popular. Imigine if you will, a three unit lashup of Great Northern power on lease from the Minnesota Transportation Museum to move the train from Denver to Cheyenne or perhaps the former Rio Grande F units at the Colorado Railroad Museum that pulled the Rio Grande Zephyr? Impossible? Once upon a time in America the answer would have been NO!

    As I mentioned earlier, I am going to refrain from spreading any idle speculation why this event has been cancelled, but the excuses given thus far certainly appear to be quite lame in my opinion.

  21. The Denver Post MADE money on this train. The newspaper was told over a year ago that equipment would not be made available anymore. For whatever reason the Post did not make the announcement until now. It was the U.P. responsible for this ending of over a 100 year tradition. Editor of Denver’s alternate weekly says “sad times in which we live”.

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