2016-05-25

Colorado Legislature Shows Support For Reviving the Ski Train

Last month, the Colorado State Legislature, in what could be termed a show of support for the growing interest in resuming the Ski Train, put forward a grant to build a platform for service, aimed at resolving Amtrak's objection for direct service to the slopes of Winter Park.

Amtrak? Not that Amtrak?

Yes, that Amtrak, although there has been nothing to indicate that Amtrak has the initiative to begin its service or when. If and when it does, it could be a partnership between Amtrak and the state as in North Carolina, Maine, or California.

Whatever form a revival will take, it probably won't be like the old Ski Train, because the old Ski Train lost money. The new service, if it comes at all, will likely not run all season, and it will likely be a tighter fit for those riding in coach. Will it be better than running the gauntlet that is I-70 in winter? Oh yeah! But I guarantee it will be different (and likely more expensive) than the old way under Ansco. Amtrak and Winter Park are likely to have differing ideas about rail service to Winter Park, especially in terms of dates and times of service. Hopefully, riders will have more options than under the old system, and service will run frequently and fast.

Ski Train Rio Grande Denver to Winter Park in winter and summer
How many years did the Ski Train run both summer and winter? The glory of summer day trips to Winter Park to escape the heat of the city made the summer runs a special treat for residents of the Mile High City. Artwork: SkiTrain.com




In the video above, Walt Loevy gives us a brief show of a Ski Train in its final 2009 season. There is nothing like the unmistakable sound of an EMD F40 whipping by! Watching it, I can't help but remember another Rio Grande train, the Rio Grande Zephyr, with a similarly painted EMD F9 on the point and single level cars whipping by. I think Ansco did that on purpose. ;)

Here's one last video, click for a look at what the coach service was like in summer 2007.⚒