New owner of SLRG comes to the valley, gives insight into plans

Hyrailing up La Veta Pass Courtesy photo by Stefan Soloviev.

ALAMOSA — Less than 24 hours after the bankruptcy judge approved sale of the San Luis Rio Grande Railroad to the Soloviev Group for $10.7 million, Stefan Soloviev, chairman of the Soloviev Group and owner of the Colorado Pacific Railroad, came to the San Luis Valley to meet with a group of railroad employees and get a more in-depth, firsthand look at the railroad he just purchased.

Soloviev, who attended the three-hour bankruptcy hearing in person, has announced the railroad will now operate as Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad.

While in the valley, Soloviev was accompanied by Matt Prince, president of CWC Rail, who will be the general manager of the Colorado Pacific Rio Grande Railroad in much of the same capacity as he currently operates for the Colorado Pacific, a line that runs from just east of Pueblo to the Kansas state line.

Just as the Colorado Pacific Rio Grande will operate in the valley, the Colorado Pacific serves a robust agricultural community on the plains of southeastern Colorado and western Kansas.

On Tuesday, Soloviev and Prince traveled the length of the railroad, via hyrail truck, up La Veta Pass along with railroad employees including David Hanke (superintendent), Ron Atencio (roadmaster), Bryce Decker and Dave Trujillo (foreman). 

“We look forward to working with shippers in the territory served by the line to meet their agricultural and other transport needs efficiently and cost-effectively,” Soloviev said. “We are planning significant upgrades to the service so the line can operate at the highest possible level of efficiency.”

The specifics of those upgrades have not yet been provided.

The Soloviev Group looks forward to serving the needs of agricultural and other freight customers in the five-county area served by the San Luis & Rio Grande Railroad and will be involved and work with the local communities,” he said.

The Soloviev Group is the holding company for several businesses operated by Soloviev and encompasses divisions that include realty and development, hospitality, transportation and railroad, and agriculture and ranching operations.

In addition to operating in New York City and on the east end of Long Island — including Shelter Island — the company owns Crossroads Agriculture, a large-scale integrated farming and ranching operation based in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico. That company is one of the country’s largest privately held agribusinesses, making Soloviev the 26th-largest landowner in the United States.

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