Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak ski train’

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.”

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.

Ski Train Equipment En Route to Denver

January 8, 2020

Online reports indicate that the equipment to be used for the 2020 version of the Amtrak ski train is making its way westward on the California Zephyr.

Various posters on a railfan website reported seeing the equipment being ferried on Train No. 5 west through Chicago on Tuesday and will arrive in Denver on Wednesday morning.

One report said the equipment, which includes Superliner coaches and a Sightseer Lounge, in special wraps that will promote the service.

The first ski train of the season is slated to run on Jan. 10 and operates between Denver and Winter Park, Colorado, on the route used by the California Zephyr.

Adult fares start at $29 each way and tickets can be purchased at Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress. Each ticketed adult can bring a child age 2-12 for half the adult fare.

The ski train will operate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday through March 29.

Trains will depart Denver Union Station at 7 a.m. and arrive at the resort at approximately 9 a.m.

Return trains depart Winter Park at 4:30 p.m. and are scheduled to return to Denver at 6:40 p.m.

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.

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.

Ski Train Unaffected by Policy Change

March 30, 2018

A ski train in Colorado operated by Amtrak will not be affected by a recent policy decision to stop operating charter and special trains.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari said the change, which was revealed this week, doesn’t affect the Winter Park Express because that service is in the second year of a three-year contract.

Magliari said the announcement doesn’t affect the ski train and even if the train were to be halted after the contract expires it would be unaffected by this week’s policy change.

The ski train began operating in January 2017 after a previous service last operated in 2009.

Amtrak uses equipment for the ski train that has been removed from other trains after their consists shrink for the winter. The Winter Park Express operates between Denver Union Station and the Winter Park ski resort.

27 Ski Train Pairs to Operate in 2018

August 28, 2017

Amtrak will operate 27 trips of the Winter Park Express ski train next winter.

The service between Denver Union Station and the Winter Park ski resort west of Moffat Tunnel will begin on Jan. 5, 2018 and operate on Saturday and Sunday through March 25. Additional trips will run on Feb. 2 and March 2, both Fridays.

Tickets will cost as low as $29 for some trips. The Friday trips are designed to accommodate group travel.

With a capacity of 500, the ski train discharges and boards passengers at a platform adjacent to Winter Park’s slopeside village.

Visit amtrak.com/winterparkexpress for further information and to buy tickets.

Amtrak, Winter Park Call Ski Train a Success

March 25, 2017

Winter Park, Colorado, officials have been pleased with the public response to the revived Denver ski train this year, noting that more than 18,000 tickets have been sold.

The train, operated by Amtrak, operated between January and the last weekend in March.

“It totally exceeded our expectations,” said Winter Park Resort spokesman Steve Hurlbert. “We’ve established that there’s a demand, and the potential for this is through the roof.”

Officials expect the train to return next year.

Many trips sold out and more than a quarter of the tickets were purchased months before service began.

“It was like selling water in the desert,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari.

With a capacity of 540 passengers, the train carried a small number of the visitors that Winter Park attracts on a given weekend.

But some say the ski train took about 500 vehicles off Interstate 70 every weekend that it ran.

Although ski trains were a staple of Winter Park since 1940 when development of the resort began, no ski trains operated between 2009 and this year.

Officials cited insurance costs and other obstacles for sidetracking the train.

Winter Park head Gary DeFrange worked for tirelessly to get the service re-established. This included a $3 million investment in a platform and siding to serve the train.

Magliari said Amtrak employee Brad Swartzelter approved DeFrange with a proposal for Amtrak to provide the service.

“Brad and his union know how important this train is,” Magliari said.

The resort and Amtrak officials are exploring additional sponsorship possibilities and plan to add food and beverage service aboard the train next year.

 

UP Derailment Led to Ski Train Cancellation

March 14, 2017

A Union Pacific derailment resulted in cancellation of the Winter Park Express between Denver and Winter Park, Colorado, last Saturday.

Passengers who had tickets for the March 11 ski train were offered the opportunity to rebook on another ski train, which has two more weekends to operate.

Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told Trains magazine that about 500 seats had been sold for the trip that was canceled.

The westbound California Zephyr was held for more than four hours at Denver before it was permitted to proceed. It lost another two hours waiting for the tracks to be cleared at the derailment site.

The derailment did not materially affect the eastbound California Zephyr on Saturday. The ski train operated as scheduled on Sunday.

News reports indicate that 10 empty freight cars on a UP train derailed on a curve on the Moffat Subdivision.

Ski Train Adds President’s Day Trip

February 16, 2017

Buoyed by sellouts every weekend since its startup, Amtrak has added an extra Winter Park Express ski train trip for President’s Day (Feb. 20).

coloradoSince starting on Jan. 7, the ski train has carried 15,000 passengers between Denver Union Station and the Winter Park ski resort in Colorado.

The ski train is scheduled to operate through the end of March. Tickets are $39 one way and $59 roundtrip.

Trains operate on Saturdays and Sundays and are a partnership among Amtrak, Winter Park Resort, the Colorado Department of Transportation and the Colorado Rail Passenger Association.

“The fact that there are 15,000 people who have done this, and we’re half-way through the season — the number is eye-popping,” said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari, noting that five of the first six Saturdays have sold out.

The ski train departs Denver at 7 a.m. and arrives in Winter Park between 8:30 and 9 a.m. It leaves the resort at 4:30 p.m. and arrives back in Denver at 6 p.m. It has a capacity of 500.

Winter Park officials said that the ski train has led to a boost in lodging reservations with many non-skiers using the train to visit the resort.

About 100 of the 500 passengers who arrive on Saturday trains are staying overnight in Winter Park.

Sponsors of the ski train include CenturyLink, Noosa Yoghurt, Clif Bar and Koelbel & Company, a  real estate company.