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Home / News & Reviews / News Wire / News photos: Union Pacific reopens route after Colorado mudslides (second update)

News photos: Union Pacific reopens route after Colorado mudslides (second update)

By | August 4, 2021

First Amtrak trains to pass through Glenwood Canyon slide area on Friday

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Hi-Rail truck on tracks surrounded by mudslide
Hi-Rail truck on tracks surrounded by mudslide
A Hi-Rail vehicle makes its way along UP’s Glenwood Canyon line. (Union Pacific, via Facebook)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Union Pacific has posted photos to its social media accounts, including Facebook, showing its work to dig out from mudslides last week that closed its route through Colorado’s Glenwood Canyon.

Clearing of debris and rebuilding track was completed early this morning, with the first freight train passing through the slide area about 6 a.m., UP spokeswoman Kristen South reports. The slides followed heavy rains in an area where foliage burned during wildfires last year.

While the former Denver & Rio Grande Western line is a secondary route for freight traffic, it is used by Amtrak’s California Zephyr, which since Friday, July 30, has been unable to operate beyond Denver for westbound trains and Grand Junction for eastbounds [see “‘California Zephyr’ route closed …,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 2, 2021]. Zephyrs leaving Chicago and Emeryville, Calif., on Thursday will be

Heavy machinery working in mudslide
Only a small sliver of track is visible during digging to reopen UP’s line through Glenwood Canyon. (Union Pacific via Facebook)

the first to offer service over the full route, meaning the first passenger trains to pass through the slide area will do so on Friday. Those trains will have limited space available, as they pick up passengers who have been stranded since the slides occured.

Adjacent Interstate 70 has also been closed by slides, a closure Colorado Public Radio reports could extend for several more days or weeks. The highway closure has prevented Amtrak from operating a bus bridge between the two operating segments of the Zephyr.

— Updated at 4:05 p.m. CDT with reopening of line; updated at 5:35 p.m. with details on resumption of Amtrak service







5 thoughts on “News photos: Union Pacific reopens route after Colorado mudslides (second update)

    1. According to what others have said on another post, UP couldn’t spare pilot engineers to accompany the Amtrak engineers who aren’t qualified on that route. That is the official line. What it may really mean is they couldn’t or didn’t want to handle more traffic.

  1. A track with ballast covered in mud has the quaint look of a secondary branch line, except with larger rails.

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