Sitting trains derailing completion of Bijou demo

       There are 43 trains a day through Colorado Springs. Bijou bridge demolition crews knew that going in and factored it into the COSMIX schedule. What they didn't expect was trains stopping for no apparent reason under the bridge and sitting there for two hours or more.
       The resulting work stoppages are not just an “aggravation”; they are starting to jeopardize plans for the Cimarron-Conejos bridge demolition, which had been scheduled to start when the Bijou work was finished, according to Bill Badger of COSMIX contractor Rockrimmon Constructors.
       “There is a chance it could push the Cimarron start date (Feb. 26) back,” he said this week.
       Efforts to talk to railroad officials are continuing, but so far have been unsuccessful. “Their (the railroad's) attitude is that they were here first,” Badger said.
       Another complication in such talks is that while the tracks are owned by Union Pacific, 90 percent of the trains that use them are Burlington-Northern.
       Another problem, Badger explained, is that there is no exact schedule for most of the trains (stopping or not). He said Rockrimmon pays a Union Pacific flagger who reports oncoming trains, giving demo crews at least 15 minutes notice to clean debris off the track.
       When providing the Pioneer with a phone number for Union Pacific, Badger quipped, “If you can get anywhere, we'll hire you.”
       The Pioneer did not get “anywhere.” Calls to the Union Pacific number failed to contact a railroad official who could comment on the issue
       While waiting for railroad relief, Rockrimmon Constructors will be meeting with its demolition subcontractor, Backhoe Serv-ices, on a plan to circumvent the situation by assigning workers to both bridges - moving them back and forth depending on which bridge doesn't have a train under it, he said.
       Rockrimmon is widening I-25, including replacing the Bijou interchange, on a $150 million contract with the Colorado Department of Transporta-tion. The company has a separate contract to demolish the south half of the Cimarron bridge.

Westside Pioneer article