Latest News – May 22
Red Bull Gives You Wings, But Not in the “S” Curve
Red Bull gives you wings? That was probably not the case when this semi-truck full of Red Bull ran off the road at the “S” curve, north of Ski Cooper on Highway 24 yesterday, May 21 at approximately 7 a.m.
According to Sergeant Parker with the Colorado State Patrol there were no injuries. The popular energy drink was cleaned up off the highway, although morning commuters might have enjoyed the pick-me-up!
St. Vincent Hospital Long Term Care Bus A Reality
New Rails on Old High Line Makes for One Smooth Ride
The echo of the train whistle off the surrounding mountains, is always a signal to Leadvillites that the Summer season for the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad (LCSR) is about to get underway. But for residents on the east side of town, it’s been all of the recent rail work, that has folks asking, what’s going on at the railroad?
Well, the track crew has been out in full force, that’s for sure. In fact, the old back-breaking tune “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” has probably been ringing a bit true for the Track Crew these past few weeks in preparation for the tourist attraction’s Opening Day, this Saturday, May 24.
So what are they doing? Leadville Today caught up with Track Crew boss and Engineer Derek Olsen for the latest.
“We’ve rebuilt the track crossing on the west side rail from 12th Street to 8th Street. The purpose was to smooth out the crossings for the town of Leadville,” explained Olsen. In the process of doing that they’ve also upped the poundage that the rail lines can take, perhaps a sign of future growth for the tourist train, which celebrated 25 years in business last season.
The month-long track improvement project, which had to weave in and out of several spring storms dumping more than a few inches of snow, included replacing over 200 railroad ties. And they’re not done either, said Olsen. In mid-June, “we’re going to go through and do the other side of the track crossing on E. 11th and 12th Streets and, most likely, get rid of the 9th Street crossing on the east side.” So why do they even need two sets of track?
“The reason that we have a double track through town, isn’t just to annoy people,” explains Olsen, “There are two tracks so that if we have a problem with one engine, we can go around the entire train with the other engine to switch things out in the quickest time.”
But at this early point of the season, it isn’t the engines, but the track that seems to be catching everyone’s attention and hard work.
It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter, which means that the Track Crew had their work cut out for them, especially when it came to opening the rail line to the top. In fact, the first day up on Monday, May 19, Engineer Derek Olsen came across a snow slide at mile marker 1.48. The barrier was packed tight with lodge pole pines and aspens, encased in a icy snow slide that was going to require an excavator to get through. But by Tuesday afternoon the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad crew had made it to the end of the line at the Headwaters of the Arkansas River, near Fremont Pass.
It’s an incredible trek, and certainly one worth taking yourself, with family or visitors. The Leadville train opens for the 2014 season May 24 with their one-a-day schedule in place, departing daily at 1 p.m. In mid-June the schedule changes to two-a-days. The train also offers some great special trips, including Wildflower Tours, a BBQ Special and the very-popular Fall Photo Weekends.
In addition, the railroad has also partnered with Noah’s Ark Rafting company for a adventurous Raft & Ride package deal or you can mix it up with a morning zipline tour and afternoon train ride. Be sure to check out their website for all the details, prices and special package deals.
No matter how you mix it up or just kick back enjoy the view, it’s sure to be one smooth ride on those new rails for the Leadville, Colorado and Southern Railroad. All Aboard!