Colorado Commission Eyes Rail Expansion

A Colorado commission is studying a reroute of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief via Pueblo.

The study is part of a larger effort to restore rail passenger service along the Front Range of the Rockies between Fort Collins and Trinidad.

The commission faces a Dec. 1 deadline to submit its plan to the state legislature and is working with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Intercity rail passengers between Denver and Front Range points south of the city ended on May 1, 1971, when a Santa Fe connecting train between Denver and La Juanta, Colorado, was discontinued.

Officials are eyeing a commuter rail service between Pueblo and Fort Collins, Colorado, which would cost an estimated $5 billion to $15 billion, said David Krutsinger, deputy director of CDOT’s transit and rail program.

Rerouting the Southwest Chief via Colorado would require rehabilitating 50 miles of track and it is not clear where the millions of dollars in funding for that would come from.

An estimated 14,000 passengers a year would use the Chief if it served Pueblo.

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