The Great Western Railway of Colorado is undertaking a $14 million project that will reduce train traffic from Fort Collins to Windsor, according to Matt Despos, the company’s divisional manager.
Work on the railroad project will begin in February and be complete before the end of the year, Despos said Monday during a Town Board work session in Windsor. Three to six trains currently run through Windsor in a 24-hour period.
To reduce that number, OmniTRAX, the Denver-based company that manages the Great Western Railway, will restore an inactive railway that runs from Windsor to Greeley.
“OmniTRAX as a whole has recognized with the industrial park growth, oil activity in this region and other things going on that we want to make a different impact on the town than we had,” Despos said. “As anyone who lives here knows, there’s been a drastic increase — a 300 percent increase — in train traffic.”
Windsor Mayor John Vazquez called that percent increase “extremely conservative” and said he looks forward to the change.
At present, trains travel southeast from Fort Collins through Windsor to the Great Western Industrial Park, near Eastman Park Drive and Colorado Highway 257. After the freight and tank cars are loaded at the park, trains travel back to Fort Collins and continue to their final destination on a larger railway.
After the railway east of Windsor is restored, a portion of Great Western’s rail business will travel west from Eighth Street in Greeley to the industrial park. After stopping there, the train will head back to Greeley to connect to the Union Pacific Railroad.
In addition to easing residents’ concerns about train noise and shrinking the time motorists have to spend waiting for passing trains, Great Western’s project will also increase safety in the area.
Lights and gates will be added to Weld County roads 23 and 233/4 and other streets where the railway crosses, Despos said.
“We’re pretty much rebuilding the line from the ground up.” he said. “It’s important to understand that OmniTRAX as a whole has a focus of increasing safety and improving its railways across the country.”
Windsor chugging along with railroad quiet zones
Windsor’s plan to reduce train noise at 13 railroad crossing within the town is on track, Town Manager Kelly Arnold said Monday evening during a Town Board work session.
During the next three months the town hopes to start accepting bids to develop the quiet zones at the crossings, Arnold said. The $3.3 million project is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015.
Article courtesy The Coloradoan and Windsor and Weld reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached at 970-224-7835.