Gore Canyon rockslide stops Grand County train traffic in its tracks
March 27, 2008
Train traffic ground to a halt for most of Wednesday in Grand County because of a major rockslide in Gore Canyon.
Repair crews were forced to use explosives to blast several large boulders to re-open the railway.
An Amtrak passenger train bound for Emeryville, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay area had to be halted in Granby. A second passenger train, the eastbound California Zephyr, was delayed west of the canyon. Nine freight trains were also halted.
The railroad was alerted about 10 a.m. Wednesday that “something had happened” along its tracks in Gore Canyon west of Kremmling, said Mark Davis, a Union Pacific Railroad spokesman. What sparked the alert was a break in the railroad’s “slide detection fence,” which is an electronic warning system positioned along the railroad in mountainous areas.
Union Pacific Railroad maintenance crews were immediately dispatched to the investigate the problem in Gore Canyon. There they discovered that several large boulders had fallen onto the tracks.
Informed of the problem, dispatchers with the railroad radioed the message to the trains scheduled to go through the canyon.
Due to the size of the boulders, the Union Pacific Railroad crews “had to blast” to make them smaller so they could be moved off the tracks, Davis said. Some damage to the tracks had occurred and needed to be repaired.
Davis said the railroad expected to be able to open the tracks through Gore Canyon by 7 p.m. Wednesday.