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Trains detoured through Cheyenne due to flood damaged tracks

Department of Energy EIA

Travelers might notice more trains crossing roadways and slowing traffic between Cheyenne and Denver during the next few weeks. That's because Colorado floods wiped out a large section of train track between Grand Junction and Denver, and Union Pacific Railroad is detouring trains through Cheyenne's station.

More than ten extra trains per day are passing through, and will continue to be detoured for another several weeks until Colorado's many disabled rail lines are repaired. Mark Davis, a spokesman for Union Pacific, says all the busy train activity may cause traffic delays for commuters. 

“When there are additional trains, we always want to remind drivers to be patient,” Davis says. “Because some of those trains on the line between Cheyenne and Denver have to stop in some areas to deliver some of this rock to side tracks so it can be used especially on the Fort Collins lines.” 

Many of the extra trains are making a 600-mile detour to deliver Colorado coal to Southern power plants.  Or they’re transporting rock to fill holes in the tracks brought from Cheyenne's quarry, which Davis says was the most accessible quarry around.

Melodie Edwards is the host and producer of WPM's award-winning podcast The Modern West. Her Ghost Town(ing) series looks at rural despair and resilience through the lens of her hometown of Walden, Colorado. She has been a radio reporter at WPM since 2013, covering topics from wildlife to Native American issues to agriculture.

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