DENVER — Investigators are trying to determine what a pedestrian was doing near the railroad tracks at 124th Avenue and U.S. Highway 85 Saturday night, when she was struck and killed by one of Union Pacific's historic steam trains, which was returning to Denver from an excursion to Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming.
The train, called the 'Denver Post Special,' because the trip was sponsored by the newspaper the Denver Post, was southbound, and had just arrived at the 124th Avenue crossing at 7:45 pm, when the accident happened.
UP Steam tweeted about the incident shortly afterward.
UP No. 844 was involved in a pedestrian fatality. Busses are en route to pick up guests on board the train. UP Police will be on scene for several hours assisting local authorities with the investigation.
— UP Steam (@UP_Steam) July 22, 2018
Company Issues a Response
"We are working with local authorities to see what happened leading up to the crash," said Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South.
The Adams County Sheriff's Office and Commerce City Police were at the scene, but the Sheriff's Office stated that "Union Pacific is leading the investigation."
While passengers were bussed back to Denver, railroad and local officers remained at the scene.
South said the train itself would remain at the site for several hours.
History of Union Pacific's historic steam train
Steam Engine 844 is perhaps the country's most famous steam locomotive.
It was originally built for passenger service, operating between Omaha and Los Angeles, and Omaha and Portland.
When diesels took over, it was relegated to freight service in Nebraska.
Unlike other steam locomotives, it never made it to the scrap heap, instead it was saved and is now used as an "ambassador of goodwill" by Union Pacific.
Steam aficionados travel alongside the train, or line the right-of-way to take pictures, or videotape the excursions.
It's not known yet whether the pedestrian was among those taking pictures of the "Denver Post Special."
To learn more about UP's steam program, click on this link.