Winter Park Ski Train 2019/2020

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by DSS&A, Aug 28, 2019.

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  1. Aug 28, 2019 #1

    DSS&A

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  2. Aug 28, 2019 #2

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Other than the details are in the future. I am flat out surprised to see this train running again. With all the charter trains cut and obstacles place by Amtrak. This train I was sure it was gone. However I will not be holding my breath for those details. Could be hopefully thinking by the Ski People.
     
  3. Aug 28, 2019 #3

    FreeskierInVT

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    Tickets don't seem to be bookable yet, since plugging in a random Saturday in January from DEN to WPR shows only the Zephyr to a Thruway bus at Fraser. The link on Winter Park's website to book tickets leads to a "page not found" error on Amtrak's site.
     
  4. Aug 28, 2019 #4

    Anderson

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    I'm not shocked. Limits on charters notwithstanding, Amtrak does seem to be hoping that the Front Range corridor happens. Refusing to run this train (absent a bona fide equipment shortage) would be a great way to watch Colorado start searching for alternative vendors down the line. I think Amtrak probably learned a lesson from the Indiana mess

    Also, this isn't a one-off but a lengthy lease contract, and it is on a route Amtrak already runs on, so it seems to comply with most of the charter rules and the like. Basically, this is more of a seasonal PRIIA209 (extra) train than a charter. Given that Amtrak is generally willing to lay on extra sections at Thanksgiving, I see no reason not to do something here.

    Edit: It probably doesn't hurt that this gives a few coaches and a lounge "something to do" in the dead of winter when most of the equipment would otherwise be idled. January-March is Amtrak's slowest season, after all.
     
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  5. Aug 28, 2019 #5

    Just-Thinking-51

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    AU member Anderson has some good reasons why Amtrak should run these trains.

    Some reason why I am concerned it will not.

    Effort required.
    Equipment required.
    Equipment in correct location.
    TE crew base is very limited.
    OBS and supplies required effort.
    General I don’t care attitude.
    Last contract expired.

    We might find out this ski train is someone’s baby and it will be back bigger and better than before. I hope so. Long history of these Ski Trains. A needed service imho.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2019
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  6. Aug 28, 2019 #6

    MikefromCrete

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    The new Amtrak regulations on special trains seem to be focused on trains operating off the normal Amtrak system. The ski train runs on a regular Amtrak route. Equipment seems to be available and crews have not presented a problem. Seems like a slam dunk. Also provides some much needed good publicity for Amtrak in the Denver area. I wouldn't worry about its future. After all, even a version of the New River Train will run this year in spite of all kinds of whining by railfans.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  7. Aug 28, 2019 #7

    Willbridge

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    Both U.S. senators from Colorado support this service. Yes, anything can happen, but if Amtrak wants to run the future Front Range service, this is an easy way to win friends and influence people with relatively little effort. U.P. has cooperated apparently for similar reasons. The only sad thing about the ski train is that the general public keeps oohing and aaahing about how -- in combination with the restored station and the A-Line for Denver International Airport -- "it's just like Europe!" Their assumption is that usually their fellow Americans aren't capable of putting something like this together.

    The Moffat Line has a lot of non-railfan fans. That will be celebrated on Friday, September 6th at 4 p.m. in Denver Union Station with the re-unveiling of the Moffat Cup. We may hear more about the ski train then. The cup is a reminder of an age when Europeans wanted to have projects as bold as Americans enjoyed. Be sure to visit it when in DUS.
     

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  8. Aug 29, 2019 #8

    Anderson

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    My sense is that if Amtrak really put their foot in it on this one, an appropriation might appear, UP might be nudged to provide an operating crew (with no ticketing duties) for reimbursement, RTD might be cajoled to provide the ticket inspectors (also for reimbursement), and we might wake up with either an Iowa Pacific-provided consist or a PV tangle under seasonal lease (presuming that they could slap together enough coaches), and either UP or a shortline might be bothered for a locomotive lease (sort-of like the situation in Newport News, where a few locos from a shortline in NJ are doing yard duties)...and Amtrak's name would promptly be mud in Colorado. I can't speak to the Winter Park station, but I know that Union Station in Denver isn't what you'd call an Amtrak-only facility.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2019 #9

    Willbridge

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    At today's (6 Sep 19) unveiling of the Moffat Cup, Jim Souby, President of the advocacy group ColoRail stated that things are looking positive for Amtrak's Winter Park Express. He's hoping for an announcement later this month (when customers start booking lodging, organizing ski weekends, etc.).

    Moffat finally gets into DUS:
    Photo 844 = the cash bar was open.
    Photo 846 = event was held in the Waiting (drinking) Room.
    Photo 847 = Brad Swartzwelter (aka "Conductor Brad" on duty) organized the event and told the story of turning up the long-forgotten cup in a secret warehouse.
    Photo 848 = Jim Souby spoke on behalf of ColoRail, which handled the donations. ColoRail was organized in the late 1980's when developers tried to move Amtrak and the Ski Train out of DUS. ColoRail was successful over a three-decade battle, but lost its effort to retain tracks leading south. Souby is a member of the state commission for retention of the Southwest Chief and a study of Front Range regional rail.
    Photo 854 = At last, the Moffat Cup itself! It's hard to take a photo of it due to the security glass and mirror around it, but that did not discourage everyone with a cellphone.

    {The reference to Moffat finally getting into DUS -- his railroad, the Denver & Salt Lake, was blackballed by the established rail companies, which felt that as a UP official once said "Denver will always be a dead-end town." Rivals Cheyenne, Pueblo and Colorado Springs all were on main lines over the Continental Divide. Denver only had narrow-gauge lines west. Moffat built a separate station on the wrong side of the DUS tracks, which is now preserved as part of the Balfour/Riverfront retirement home.}



    P1050844 (2).JPG P1050846 (2).JPG P1050847 (2).JPG P1050848 (2).JPG P1050854 (2).JPG
     
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  10. Sep 8, 2019 #10

    railiner

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    Thanks for that interesting post...I always love to see current photo's of the place I spent a decade working in....:)
     
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  11. Sep 9, 2019 #11

    Palmetto

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    This service makes money for Amtrak, doesn't it?
     
  12. Sep 9, 2019 #12

    crescent-zephyr

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    Private Charters and private cars do as well....
     
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  13. Sep 10, 2019 #13

    VentureForth

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    Very sad that the old D&RG livery trainset is no longer used...
     
  14. Sep 10, 2019 #14

    Eric S

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    Where did that equipment end up - Algoma Central Railway?
     
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  15. Sep 10, 2019 #15

    MikefromCrete

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    You answered your own question.
     
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  16. Sep 10, 2019 #16

    railiner

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    Back where it came from, eh?

    By that, I mean most of the cars were originally “Tempo” cars, built for CN by Hawker-Siddeley in Ontario, of aluminium.
     
  17. Sep 10, 2019 #17

    Willbridge

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    It's always hard to tell, but this is the type of thing that is most likely to make money. Years ago when I was working on getting the Portland-California connection set up for the Empire Builder we found that the ideal new service usually is built on top of some existing service. Of course that isn't always the case, but it's a good point to consider. Whenever I found an Amtrak official who understood that, progress was made.
     
  18. Oct 4, 2019 #18

    DSS&A

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  19. Oct 4, 2019 #19

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Excellent news.
    Surprisingly but welcome.
     
  20. Jan 8, 2020 #20

    DSS&A

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  21. Jan 8, 2020 #21

    Agent

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    The equipment for the Winter Park Express is traveling westward on the front of Amtrak #5(07). Looks like there are two engines, six coaches, and a sightseer lounge. Three coaches have wrap advertisements.
     
  22. Jan 8, 2020 #22

    Agent

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    Here's a video by Mike Jensen 80701 of the westbound California Zephyr with the Winter Park Express equipment stopping at Fort Morgan, Colorado this morning.

     
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  23. Jan 10, 2020 #23

    Agent

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    Here's a news report on this year's first run of the Winter Park Express today.

     
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  24. Jan 11, 2020 #24

    como

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    Willbridge, has there been any discussion on bringing back the Ski Train stop near Rocky Flats / Highway 93? Years ago the original Ski Train stopped there and served a lot of passengers from Boulder and some of the western Denver suburbs.
     
  25. Jan 12, 2020 #25

    Willbridge

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    There's been discussion, but no action. There'd be some expenses now to bring it up to ADA standards. For years RTD also owned property for a future park-n-Ride at 88th Avenue adjacent to the Moffat Line and consideration was given to designing it to function for buses and trains. There were some interests opposed to that and the land may have quietly been sold.

    Improvements at Eldora may also be a factor for day-skier traffic. CU students can get there free on RTD with their university's pass program.
     

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