OMAHA, Neb. — Traffic disruption at four rail crossings in downtown Brighton, Colo., would be reduced as part of the development of a new Union Pacific (UP) classification yard and intermodal terminal proposed between Brighton and Fort Lupton, Colo.
A classification yard and intermodal terminal currently located in Denver would be relocated to the proposed new site between Brighton and Fort Lupton in order to make way for two FasTracks commuter rail corridors, under a possible agreement between UP and the Regional Transportation District (RTD).
Plans under consideration include new sidings – a section of track parallel to the main line that allows trains to load or unload cargo or to pass each other – in both the new Brighton-Fort Lupton terminal, and in an existing automobile unloading terminal south of Brighton in Rolla, Colo.
“If the new facility is built between Brighton and Fort Lupton these new sidings would allow trains to flow through Brighton with minimal traffic disruption,” said Dick Hartman, director – public affairs “Economic development is a critical element of our proposed rail yard, and we recognize that reducing traffic disruption in downtown Brighton helps address business, safety and community concerns.”
Both upgrades are contingent upon UP and RTD’s decision to move forward with the proposed relocation. The site of the proposed rail yard and the automobile unloading facility, located near Commerce City, are both situated on the 90-mile Greeley Subdivision corridor, which has served Adams and Weld counties since 1878.
Brighton business leader Rod Fair said UP’s willingness to invest in sidings to help reduce traffic disruption demonstrates the economic development benefits of the proposed facility.
“UP has listened to our civic and business leaders and is willing to make a big investment to help us resolve a long-standing community traffic issue while it also offers Brighton a significant, long-term economic development opportunity,” Fair said.
The Fort Lupton Chamber of Commerce recently voted to endorse the proposed UP facility. Chamber President Cris Howard said UP’s investment will benefit both communities.
“UP is working closely with all of us to build a project that contributes to our economy and reflects the kind of communities we want to become in the 21st century,” Howard said. “The $1.8 billion in estimated rail related development in the next 10 years could bring more than $500 million in purchases from Fort Lupton vendors and suppliers together with the addition of more than $970 million of payroll to Fort Lupton residents. This added economic development will directly benefit Fort Lupton Chamber of Commerce members as well as all of Southern Weld County.”
Union Pacific and RTD have entered into an agreement to fund work that will allow UP to establish the feasibility and cost of its potential relocation. The work is scheduled for completion in late 2007, and a decision by RTD and UP on building the new facilities would be made shortly thereafter. If they decide to relocate to the Fort Lupton/Brighton study area, construction would take place in 2008-2009, with the new facility opening in 2010.
The proposed rail facility would consist of two types of rail yards – an intermodal terminal and a classification rail yard. A transload area will also be located in the rail yard.
An intermodal terminal is a highly secure facility used to transfer containers from rail cars to trucks or vice versa. Intermodal shipping involves moving freight by more than one mode of transportation. An example:
- An ocean-going container, loaded with consumer goods, arrives by vessel at the Port of Long Beach, Calif., from the Pacific Rim.
- The container is off-loaded from the ship and placed on a railroad flat car.
- The flat car is moved by train to the proposed Fort Lupton/Brighton intermodal terminal.
- The container is removed from the flat car and placed on an over-the-road truck chassis.
- The container is driven over-the-road to the customer in the Fort Lupton/Brighton or Denver area.
A classification yard is a sorting facility where inbound trains are broken down and reassembled into new outbound trains serving Front Range businesses. Goods such as lumber from the Pacific Northwest; steel from Utah and Texas and cement from Kansas and Wyoming are examples of shipments destined for area businesses. The proposed yard would consist of tracks:
- For arriving and departing trains
- Used to sort rail cars by destination
- For making minor repairs to rail cars
- For locomotive servicing and inspections
A transload area consists of several tracks where rail cars are positioned for Front Range customers to load or unload them.
— Special to Railfanning.org News Wire