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A Texas to Colorado Train


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#1 henryj

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 06:24 PM

This is my pet peave and the big hole in Amtrak's network for those of us down here in Texas. Up until the big train-offs in the late sixties we had excellent service with the Texas Zephyr running an overnight service between Dallas/Ft Worth and Denver serving Amarillo and Colorado Springs along the way. We had two trains a day between DFW and Houston and between SAS and DFW that connected. Colorado is the number one vacation destination for Texas both winter and summer. It's an obvious ready made market.
Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.

#2 bretton88

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 07:36 PM

Well if the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority has its way, there will be 220mph rail service from Trinidad to Cheyenne by 2022. Then New Mexico has expressed interest in a rail link from El Paso to Trinidad via Railrunner. El Paso-Cheyenne could happen, but its a distance away. The website for RMRA is: Colorado High Speed Rail The site is hard to navigate but the formal study which i summarized here (5.8 billion $, finished by 2022) is to be released this month. The reason we don't have train service now is the existing line from Pueblo to Denver is really congested with coal trains.
Bring on Omaha-Lincoln train service!!
In my dreams, I guess.

#3 ALC Rail Writer

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 07:45 PM

Try the service gaps in Ohio, or South Dakota...

Amtrak Routes Travelled: Capitol Limited (x12s), Northeast Regional (x10), Pennsylvanian (x10), Empire Builder (x6), Cascades (x4), Empire Service (2), Acela Express (3), New Haven Shuttle (2), Vermonter (1), Lake Shore Limited (x3), Lincoln Service (3), Coast Starlight (x2), California Zephyr(1), Capitol Corridor(1), Southwest Chief (1), Missouri River Runner (1), Downeaster (2), Crescent (2)
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#4 Upstate

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 07:51 PM

cry me a river, atlanta only has two trains a day.
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#5 bretton88

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 09:06 PM

Try the service gaps in Ohio, or South Dakota...

Well, Ohio I can understand the service gaps there need fixing. South Dakota just doesn't have the population to justify dedicated service, hence the service gap there. I think Colorado is the worst service gap in the western system and a train from Texas to Denver will get lots of riders. Thats why I like what RMRA is doing (see post above).
Bring on Omaha-Lincoln train service!!
In my dreams, I guess.

#6 printman2000

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Posted 14 June 2009 - 09:11 PM

This is my pet peave and the big hole in Amtrak's network for those of us down here in Texas. Up until the big train-offs in the late sixties we had excellent service with the Texas Zephyr running an overnight service between Dallas/Ft Worth and Denver serving Amarillo and Colorado Springs along the way. We had two trains a day between DFW and Houston and between SAS and DFW that connected. Colorado is the number one vacation destination for Texas both winter and summer. It's an obvious ready made market.


Few years back there was a serious push for a Caprock Express.

Txarp Site

#7 jphjaxfl

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 07:12 AM

If Amtrak had been started 10 years earlier on May 1, 1961 instead of 1971, we would have a lot fewer gaps in service. There were also many more passengers riding trains 10 years earlier. In the early 60s, many trains carried Railroad Post Office cars which made a profit, even if the train lost money on passengers. With the wholesale discontinuance of RPOs in the mid 60s came train off petitions to the ICC because Railroads could justify discontinuances because of balance sheets that showed red ink for the passenger trains. In the late 1960s, Penn Central petitioned to discontinue all passenger service west of Buffalo and Harrisburg. By 1970s, the politicians finally woke up to the fact that they had problem. Amtrak was formed to continue passenger service a few more years, but the ultimate plan was to discontinue all passenger trains with the exception of a few corridors such as the NEC. Fortunately, rail passenger advocates have kept the skelatal nationwide Amtrak system going, but it will take significant amounts of investments to bring back the great passenger system that US once had.

#8 amtkstn

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 10:56 AM

One thing that will prevent this is the route is heavy with coal trains.

#9 MikeM

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:26 PM

Not that this is optimal, but there's continuing discussion about extending the Hearland Flyer to Kansas City. If that happened, at least you could hit the SWC from your location. Or go west on the SWC and then the connecting bus from Raton?

#10 coxm50

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Posted 15 June 2009 - 12:32 PM

This would be great, because we really do need a western north south connection.

#11 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 12:02 AM

Colorado, last time I checked, is served by 4 trains daily. Why is this a service gap compared to various other states I could mention?

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#12 lrdc9_metroplitan_sub

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 08:27 AM

I see the string of towns Denver south and I see a huge $$ (okay maybe half-a-$, but still). It should definatly be served, if not by a N-S Train w/ connections to either the CZ or SWC. At least the local gov't should invest some cash into a tourist-y commuter type train to connect to both the CZ and SWC to expand the ease of travel in that area, and to bump up potential for ski traffic in the area. (Cities such as Denver, Colorado Springs, Pueblo, etc.). Not to mention some of the great destinations to the NW of DEN.

#13 birdy

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:22 PM

Colorado just is too isolated, I think. If you look at a map, its the most isolated of our big cities. Its very easy to fly into their nice new airport, and that is what most people do. I just don't see slow speed LD trains having a significant future anywhere.

#14 sldispatcher

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:29 PM

I am all for either a Houston or New Orleans originating train that traverses Dallas / Denver/ Pacific Northwest.

It is a huge gap....and one that needs fixing. But if we keep spending ourselves further into a hole, we probably wont' be worrying about train service...more like what are we going to eat?

#15 jimhudson

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:29 PM

Colorado just is too isolated, I think. If you look at a map, its the most isolated of our big cities. Its very easy to fly into their nice new airport, and that is what most people do. I just don't see slow speed LD trains having a significant future anywhere.

Well Phoenix and Salt Lake City are pretty isolated, not many people want to pay to see the desert
so flhying there might be better but Denver has THE scenery, hence the CZ is very popular!(not to men tion
the EB which goes nowhere near a big city between Seattle and the Twin Cities!!Lots of folks use the
train since there are no airports nor even roads in some cases to get to the city!You could look it up
as Casey Stengel ised to say!@ :) :lol:
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#16 wrjensen

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Posted 16 June 2009 - 10:36 PM

Were they looking at a train to run from ABQ (and points South) to Denver? Or did I just dream that.
Total Amtrak Miles: 9,197
Trains:SWC 5, NEC 12, LSL 1, Ann Rutledge 1,

#17 henryj

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:17 AM

Colorado just is too isolated, I think. If you look at a map, its the most isolated of our big cities. Its very easy to fly into their nice new airport, and that is what most people do. I just don't see slow speed LD trains having a significant future anywhere.


They are popular as a tourist attraction mostly. Similar to cruise ships. It's a land cruise and that's how Amtrak has to approach it. They also provide basic transportation to many isolated small towns along the routes. Are they totally essential to the US transportation system? Probably not. However, as gasoline prices continue to escalate they may become more attractive verses flying or driving. But to really excel they need to become more punctual with improved scheduling. The schedules have become too padded and the freight railroads treat them like step children.
Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.

#18 henryj

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 07:36 AM

Were they looking at a train to run from ABQ (and points South) to Denver? Or did I just dream that.


Colorado is looking at service down the 'front range' along I25 to serve Denver to Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Walsenberg. New Mexico already has the railrunner coming the other way from ABQ as far as Santa Fe. The long term plan is to someday go the whole distance. They are also looking at service from El Paso north to Denver. The Texas Assoc of Rail Passengers(TXARP) came up with this boondoggle called the Caproc Express that wandered all about the state to serve Lubbock, Amarillo, then connecting with the SWC at La Junta and finally running up the front range to Denver. Timing was almost 24 hours to go 900 miles often on unsignalled freight only track north of Lubbock whereas the old Texas Zephyr route up the BNSF from Fort Worth through Amarillo was only 800 miles and took only 18 hours. Problem with both these routes is they have to go up the front range which is plugged with coal trains. As it stands now the trains would never run on time and the service would be unreliable. The BNSF in a short sighted economy move years ago single tracked the line south of Palmer Lake before the coal business became what it is today and created a huge bottle neck that is still unsolved to this day. There have been plans circulated to reroute these coal trains east of Denver away from the Palmer Lake joint line, but nothing has come of it. It takes $$$$$ and so far no one thinks it is a priority.
Henryj. Trains I have ridden: Sunbeam, Sam Houston Zephyr, Valley Eagle, Houstonian, Sunset Limited, Twin Star Rocket, Texas Eagle, Texas Zephyr, Texas Chief, California Zephyr, City of Portland, City of San Francisco, Coast Daylight, Canadian, Winnipeger, San Diegan, Flying Crow, Spirit of St. Louis, Pennsy NEC. Amtrak: Lone Star, Crescent, NEC, Broadway Ltd, LSL, Maple Leaf, The International, EB, CS, Sunset Limited, City of New Orleans, CZ, Cascade, Eagle, Cardinal, Meteor, Acela plus many excursions.  Latest, Alaska Railroad and White Pass & Yukon.

#19 wrjensen

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 10:43 AM

Were they looking at a train to run from ABQ (and points South) to Denver? Or did I just dream that.


Colorado is looking at service down the 'front range' along I25 to serve Denver to Colorado Springs, Pueblo and Walsenberg. New Mexico already has the railrunner coming the other way from ABQ as far as Santa Fe. The long term plan is to someday go the whole distance. They are also looking at service from El Paso north to Denver. The Texas Assoc of Rail Passengers(TXARP) came up with this boondoggle called the Caproc Express that wandered all about the state to serve Lubbock, Amarillo, then connecting with the SWC at La Junta and finally running up the front range to Denver. Timing was almost 24 hours to go 900 miles often on unsignalled freight only track north of Lubbock whereas the old Texas Zephyr route up the BNSF from Fort Worth through Amarillo was only 800 miles and took only 18 hours. Problem with both these routes is they have to go up the front range which is plugged with coal trains. As it stands now the trains would never run on time and the service would be unreliable. The BNSF in a short sighted economy move years ago single tracked the line south of Palmer Lake before the coal business became what it is today and created a huge bottle neck that is still unsolved to this day. There have been plans circulated to reroute these coal trains east of Denver away from the Palmer Lake joint line, but nothing has come of it. It takes $$$$$ and so far no one thinks it is a priority.


I thought the Caprock Express was a waste. It seem to be to political based. A train to hit every city on Texas and it could never compete with Southwest Airlines. If you ever drive from Lubbock to Amarillo the 100 ish miles can be done in 90 min no problem (It can be done in it in about a hour if you have a lead foot) and the plainview sub is not that fast BNSF for a while (I do not know is the still to do but was runing north on the boise city sub and south on the Dahart sub). This does not means train go the the out way but a Amtrak train would be backflowing in one direction. If you wanted to do trains in west texas the TZ from DFW to Denver, a train from DFW to El Paso and maybe a train from Houston to ABQ.

Edited by wrjensen, 17 June 2009 - 10:46 AM.

Total Amtrak Miles: 9,197
Trains:SWC 5, NEC 12, LSL 1, Ann Rutledge 1,

#20 MikeM

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Posted 17 June 2009 - 11:25 AM

Colorado, last time I checked, is served by 4 trains daily. Why is this a service gap compared to various other states I could mention?


FOUR trains???? The California Zephyr serves the state, and that's it. Unless we're counting tourist trains, which I don't think we should. It also used to have the tail end of the Pioneer route when that left from Denver and crossed Wyoming, but that's more of an honorary mention since it only stopped in Denver and Greeley.



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