Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak in Colorado’

California Zephyr in Colorado

January 15, 2021

It is late June 1988. The photographer and a friend had ridden Amtrak’s California Zephyr to Denver to spend a week railfanning Denver & Rio Grande Western lines in Colorado.

They managed to catch Amtrak Nos. 5 and 6 numerous times on the Moffat Tunnel route. In those days three F40PH locomotives was the standard motive power consist.

In the top photograph, No. 6 is cruising along the Colorado River in Byers Canyon. In the middle, No. 5 is coming into Winter Park as it exits Moffat Tunnel. In the bottom image, the westbound Zephyr is at Rollins, Colorado.

Photographs by Edward Ribinskas

Denver Ski Train Won’t Operate in 2021

October 1, 2020

Amtrak announced this week is has canceled its Winter Park Express ski train for the 2021 season, citing the COVID-19 pandemic.

A joint statement by Amtrak, host railroad Union Pacific and the Winter Park Resort said the train will return between Denver and the ski resort in 2022.

The statement said in lieu of a train a shuttle bus will operate between Fraser, Colorado, which is a stop for Amtrak’s California Zephyr, and Winter Park.

Amtrak’s policy during the pandemic of operating trains at reduced capacity in order to maintain social distancing also was cited in the statement, which said, “it was not possible to operate the train successfully this season.”

Calif. Zephyr Back to Running Through Colorado

August 21, 2020

The California Zephyr resumed on Tuesday operating between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Nos. 5 and 6 had been either detoured or canceled between the two cities over the past week due to wild fires that affected Glenwood Canyon in Colorado.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Raquel Espinoza told reporters that the first freight train to travel through the canyon did so on Monday but was limited to 5 mph.

The Zephyr detoured via UP lines across Wyoming on some days but on other days the train was canceled and no alternative service was provided to the missed stations between Denver and Salt Lake City.

Wildfire Continues to Hinder Calif. Zephyr

August 18, 2020

The route used by Amtrak’s California Zephyr between Denver and Salt Lake City remained closed on Monday due to a wildfire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Although Amtrak last week detoured Nos. 5 and 6 via Wyoming it canceled the past fours days service between Denver and Salt Lake City without any alternative service.

News reports indicate that more than 500 firefighters have been battling the blaze, which had burned more than 25,600 acres. Four fires in the state have affected 130,000 acres.

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon remains closed for 24 miles.

Glenwood Springs Station Closed

April 2, 2020

The Amtrak station in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, closed temporarily on April 1.

The California Zephyr will continue stopping at the station once it resumes operating west of Denver on April 12.

There will be no access to the inside of the station during this time.

Nos. 5 and 6 have been suspended between Denver and Emeryville, California, due to a crew shortage after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19.

 

More Amtrak Service Cuts Announced

March 16, 2020

Amtrak updated its service reduction plans on Sunday and added the Colorado ski train to the list of cuts.

The service advisory said that the ski train, which operates between Denver and Winter Park, would be canceled for the remainder of the season.

Ski resorts in the state have closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amtrak also said that café car service in the Northeast Corridor will be suspended on some trains operating between New York and Washington.

The carrier had earlier said that starting March 16 Northeast Corridor service will be reduced to 40 percent of its typical weekday operations.

In addition, Keystone Service will operate on a Saturday schedule between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Amtrak will not provide service to the Pennsylvania cities of Ardmore, Paoli, Downingtown, Parkesburg, Coatesville and Exton.

The Hartford Line and Valley Flyer will operate  on a Saturday scheduled seven days a week.

On the Empire corridor, the Maple Leaf will operate only between New York and Niagara Falls, New York, with service to Toronto suspended.

The New York-Montreal Adirondack will operate only between New York and Albany-Rensselaer, New York.

Amtrak said other services may be affected by service cuts and changes as circumstances surrounding the coronavis pandemic change.

Amtrak Service to Colorado Springs to be Studied

March 3, 2020

The U.S. Department of transportation had awarded a $225,000 grant to be used to study extending a section of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The study would be an extension of ongoing efforts to bring Amtrak service to Pueblo, Colorado.

Colorado Springs Councilwoman Jill Gaebler, who serves on the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, said Amtrak proposed extending the Pueblo service to Colorado Springs, which is the second largest city in the state.

Colorado Springs has not had intercity rail passenger service since 1971.

“They approached us about the idea of not just having the spur go up to Pueblo, but then come the extra 30 miles into Colorado Springs,” Gaebler said.

She said the feasibility study will determine the costs of providing service to Pueblo and Colorado Springs.

Gaebler said a side benefit of the study would be to consider the cost of rebuilding the rail infrastructure needed for a passenger rail line from Pueblo to Fort Collins via Denver.

Ski Train Tickets Now on Sale

October 2, 2019

Tickets are now on sale for Amtrak’s annual Winter Park Express, which will operate between Denver Union Station and the Winter Park ski resort starting in January.

The two-hour trip follows the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr and passes through Moffat Tunnel.

Trains leave Denver at 7 a.m. and Winter Park at 4:30 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Jan. 10 and March 29, 2020.

Tickets can be purchased at www.amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress.

Fares range from $29 to $59 depending on the date of purchase and the date of travel.

Last year’s ski train got off to a slow start, but gained popularity with some trains selling out.

The typical consist for the 2019 ski train was six Superliner coaches and a Sightseer Lounge selling beverages and snacks.

SW Chief Funding Request Tabled

June 24, 2019

Commissioners of Bent County Colorado had tabled for now consideration of a request from La Junta City Manager Rick Klein for a matching funding commitment needed to land a federal grant to continue rebuilding the route of Amtrak’s Southwest Chief.

Klein told the commissioners that the grant is needed to finish rebuilding the route, a process that began in 2011 when Amtrak threatened to remove the train from its current route through western Kansas, southeast Colorado and northern New Mexico after BNSF said it would not longer maintain the tracks to passenger train speeds.

Local government interests supporting the route rebuilding have won federal grants in recent years that have gone toward track rehabilitation.

Klein said Amtrak has informed the Southwest Chief and Front Range Rail Commission that the numbers for a through-train from La Junta to Pueblo, Colorado, are feasible.

“We are hoping to have a ballot question for Front Range rail from Cheyenne to Trinidad in 2020,” he said.

Winter Park Express Ridership up 7%

April 23, 2019

Ridership of Amtrak’s weekend Winter Park Express was up 7 percent this year as more than 19,200 rode between Denver and the Winter Park ski resort in Colorado.

In a news release, Amtrak attributed the increased patronage to improved onboard services as well as an outstanding ski season that kept skiers coming back.

The 2019 ridership was 8 percent higher than that recorded in the inaugural year of the train in 2017. More than 52,000 people have ridden the train since 2017.

New this year was a lounge car. The train typically uses Superliner equipment idled during the winter travel season.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the carrier expects to begin talks soon about operating the ski train in 2020.

It uses the route of the California Zephyr over former Denver & Rio Grande Western tracks through Moffat Tunnel that are now owned by Union Pacific.

This year the Winter Park Express made 32 roundtrips.