Only a short seven years after the former Colorado & Wyoming Railway was removed from Jansen, CO, to the New Elk Mine (2003), there's talk that it may be rebuilt. In the meantime, the Jansen yard (the only remaining piece of the former C&W branch) is seeing new life.
The mine out near Stonewall, CO, at the end of the former branch - originally called the Allen Mine but now known as the New Elk Mine - was opened in 1951 by Colorado Fuel & Iron to provide metallurgical coking coal for the Pueblo steel works. CF&I shut down production in the early 1980s, but other interests periodically mined the site or used its prep plant and loadout until around 2000.
Cline Mining Corporation purchased the New Elk Mine and announced their intention in 2009 to restart production. The goal is to mine and market the high quality metallurgical coal, to the tune of 3 million tons per year initially. Rehabilitation and permitting work was done through 2010, and production commenced in February 2011.
With no rail access to the facility, currently coal is trucked to Jansen and loaded. Initially, my understanding is that they plan to load with front end loaders, and later move to a temporary flood loader. In 2012, assuming market and production conditions permit, the company intends to rebuild the line from Jansen to New Elk to permit rail haul directly from the mine.
The first pieces of this interim flood loader have appeared at the Jansen yard - a conveyer and the framework for a loader. Plus, JLCX 3312 - a former Union Pacific "Fast Forty" SD40-2 of the same number - has appeared on the property to move cars around. The yard is still owned by the Kern Valley Railroad, a subsidiary of scrapper A&K Railroad Materials who dismantled the rest of the line in 2003. KVR is leasing the facility to Cline.
I was down there yesterday, and grabbed a few shots in the low light just after sunset. My apologies on the grainy texture, but there wasn't much light to work with.
Date: 03 Mar 2011
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