Posts Tagged ‘front range passenger service’

Colo. Rail Projects Gets More Funding

September 30, 2020

A recent federal grant awarded to fund a study of intercity rail passenger along Colorado’s Front Range will be bolstered by $137,000 from state and local government agencies.

The Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission, Pueblo County, city of Trinidad, and Colorado chapter of the Rail Passengers Association will provide that money to match the $548,000 received from a federal Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Grant.

“This funding will ensure that the Front Range Passenger Rail Project can move forward into detailed stages that will help determine specific engineering and operational challenges as well as give us a far better understanding of potential benefits and costs,” said Randy Grauberger, project director for the commission.

That study will examine the types of equipment, technology and infrastructure the corridor will require for passenger operations.

Also part of the review will be an assessment of revenue projections, suggested service frequencies and estimated benefits.

Planners are expected to recommend a governance structure for the rail operator.

Front Range Service Still Years Away

August 19, 2019

Expanded intercity rail passenger service along Colorado’s Front Range is years away if it ever materializes attendees at a recent Southwest Chief Passenger Rail Commission meeting were told.

The commission recently held a public forum in Pueblo, Colorado, that commission officials described as the largest public turnout they had at such events. Attendance was described as “dozens.”

The commission’s next step is to provide the Colorado legislature with the findings of its feasibility studies during the 2020 legislative session.

The expansion would create new service between Fort Collins to Trinidad, which is a stop for Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

It is being billed as a way to relieve highway congestion in a region that is home to 85 percent of the state’s  population.

The 173-mile Front Range corridor is expected to see population growth of 35 percent in the next 25 years with much of it occurring in El Paso County and counties east and north of Denver.

Pueblo has not had intercity rail service since 1971.

SW Chief Commission Gets New Mandate

April 20, 2017

The Southwest Chief Commission in Colorado will study rail passenger service along the front range of the Rocky Mountains between Fort Collins and Trinidad.

The Colorado legislature recently passed legislation that it sent to Gov. John Hickenlooper that extends the life of the Commission, which was set to sunset on July 1.

The legislation also authorizes the Commission to continue exploring the expansion within the state of Amtrak’s Chicago-Los Angeles Southwest Chief.

Colorado rail passenger advocates have long sought to extend operation of the Chief to Pueblo.

Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace, who pushed for the legislation, said that as Colorado’s population grows passenger rail is becoming necessary.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that Amtrak’s going to be OK,” said Jim Souby, president of the Colorado Rail Passenger Association. “Nobody knows quite how Congress is going to handle the budget this year. But I think it’s a big policy declaration by the state that we need to take passenger rail seriously. It passed the (Colorado legislature) with bipartisan support.”

The Southwest Chief Commission was created at a time when the future of the Southwest Chief was in doubt due to deteriorating track conditions.

The recently passed legislation will rename the Commission as the Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission.

The Commission will be directed to recommend a rail passenger plan by late 2017 to the legislature.