More Thursday morning rail news:
Fire shuts down UP line in Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon, disrupts Amtrak service
Operation of Union Pacific trains and Amtrak’s California Zephyr were disrupted Tuesday by a fire in Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon that shut down the former Denver & Rio Grande Western rail line through the canyon. The Glenwood Springs Post Independent says the Grizzly Creek Fire started in the median of Interstate 70 on Aug. 10 and has closed the highway as well as the rail lines. Wednesday’s eastbound Zephyr departure from Emeryville, Calif., terminated at Grand Junction, Colo., while the westbound train was diverted over Union Pacific’s Wyoming route between Denver and Salt Lake City. As of 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, the fire had grown to 4,800 acres, forced evacuation of several residential areas.
UP fee request ends plans for rail service to California music festivals
Plans to offer rail service to the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals in Indio, Calif., have been killed because Union Pacific requested $8 million to allow use of its route for three years. The Palm Springs Desert Sun says officials reported the UP request as they suspended the project, saying the fee proposal made it financially unfeasible. The California State Transportation Agency had made a $6 million grant for a passenger platform to be built in downtown Indio while the Riverside County Transportation commission had committed $2.7 million to the project. Those grants will be rescinded. The newspaper quoted a railroad spokesman as saying, “Union Pacific explained to the partner agencies the various operating, commercial, infrastructure and access impacts the associated Coachella Festival service proposal would have on UP’s network and franchise. Beyond that, UP does not publicly comment on business negotiations.” The music festivals have historically drawn about 100,000 people for each of three weekends; the rail proposal had hoped to address the resulting congestion on Interstate 10 and roadways near the Empire Polo Club, where the festivals are held.
Weather a factor in Scottish derailment that killed three, including two crew members
Extreme weather played a part in Wednesday’s fatal derailment near Stonehaven, Scotland, on Wednesday, according to Scotland’s transportation secretary. The Guardian reports that the minister, Michael Matheson, said climate change is bringing “an increasing number of very intense localized weather events that have a significant impact on the infrastructure” of the rail network. The BBC reports the train’s driver, Brett McCullough, and conductor, Donald Dinnie, were killed, as was 62-year-old passenger Christopher Stuchbury, identified today by police. And the Daily Record reports that four firefighters were injured at the accident scene, with two taken to a hospital, and that investigation into the cause of the derailment has begun.
— Updated at 1 p.m. with name of passenger killed in Scottish accident.