FWIW, they (Railstar) must be well run to be chosen to operate this with no equipment to start with!
Railstar chosen to run Georgetown Loop line
DENVER, Colo. – Railstar Corp. of Cape Vincent, N.Y. has been selected by the state of Colorado to operate the Colorado Historical Society’s (CHS) Georgetown Loop Historic Railroad beginning with the 2005 operating season. The current operator, Georgetown Loop Railroad, Inc., which is running the line until October 3, the end of the 2004 season, had a contractual impasse between it and the CHS. Georgetown Loop Railroad, Inc. owns the five locomotives and about 50 pieces of rolling stock currently on the line.
According to a story in the Denver Post, Mark Greksa, co-owner of Georgetown Loop Railroad Inc., said his company would not make its equipment available to the new operator and that the locomotives and rolling stock would go to either a railroad museum or another location where he could continue to grow his business.
"This equipment is our children, and after the way we've been treated by the historical society, no way, never," Greksa said to the Post, adding that his team's negotiations with the CHS broke down after they were unable to agree on $100,000 in expenses.
When contacted by Trains magazine, Ron Trottier, vice president and general manager of Railstar, said the subject of new rolling stock to operate the line was not open for public discussion yet, but he did say that his company and the CHS were looking into equipment currently in park settings either owned by the Society or capable of being leased for operation.
"We think it [the railway] has been a very well-run operation, and we don’t tend to move that around much," said Trottier. Railstar’s contract is for 10 years with a 10-year renewable option. "We’re in it for the long haul," he said.
The Georgetown park, which has been operating for three decades, re-creates 3.5 miles of the 1877 narrow-gauge line that originally provided freight and passenger service to silver mining camps between Denver and Silver Plume, Colo. In an effort to reach the mines, railroads including the Colorado Central began construction to Golden, Colo., with the intention of extending to the mining town of Leadville. This line never reached that goal, settling for providing freight and passenger service to the mining camps around Silver Plume. The Georgetown line was abandoned in 1939.
Although just 2 miles separate Georgetown and Silver Plume, the elevation difference is over 600 feet. The original railroad twisted and turned to gain the elevation, including a spiral on which it crossed over itself on the Devil's Gate Viaduct, 300 feet long and almost 100 feet high. Today's operation takes place on a re-laid portion of the original railroad, and crosses a reconstructed Devil's Gate bridge over Clear Creek and the track below. The Park includes nearly 1,000 acres, 12 buildings and bridges, and 4.5 miles of track.
"We are looking forward to competing against a company we helped create," Greska said to the Post. His company also operates the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, a 12-mile standard-gauge, diesel-powered tourist train operation from Canon City, Colo. to the Royal Gorge on former Union Pacific track previously part of the Denver & Rio Grande Western.
Railstar currently operates the Belfast & Moosehead Lake Railroad in Maine, and owns and operates the Erie Canal Village Historic Park and Museum in Rome, N.Y., which includes a 2-foot narrow gauge steam railway.