Trains For America

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UPDATED: Amtrak Pioneer to Fort Collins?

There is an item in the Fort Collins paper about an idea to move the Pioneer off a section of the UP Denver-Salt Lake run. Now, before you start getting all over me; yes, I know that the Pioneer has not run in 10 years and is not running now, and that it is by no means settled that the Seattle section would split at Denver, or that the train will be restored any time soon.

Anyway, a gentleman named C. B. Hall has done a “study” and some local folks have taken notice. This one is going absolutely nowhere, but is reported on TFA so that you know it’s floating around.

Hall noted a series of drawbacks to changing the route, not the least is that it would take more than three hours to travel the 119 miles from Denver to Cheyenne via Fort Collins, compared with about two hours for the Greeley route. Hall’s analysis looks at three station options for Fort Collins.

Marc Magliari, a Chicago-based spokesman for Amtrak, said he doesn’t know whether ongoing study will incorporate suggestions to change the Pioneer route, if the train is brought back at all. Magliari was on the last eastbound Pioneer from Seattle.

The positive here is that Amtrak gets positive public reaction and good press.

UPDATE: My goodness. News certainly travels fast (note I did not say “good news”).

The Denver Colorodan has the above story with a bit lf added detail. A tidbit:

A consultant working on behalf of restoration efforts suggests that routing the trains through Fort Collins would provide greater ridership because local trains may one day connect Loveland to Fort Collins and Longmont.

According to city of Boulder officials, the study will examine whether it makes more sense to use the Burlington Northern Santa Fe tracks that run on the west side of Interstate 25, rather than the Union Pacific tracks running south from Greeley.

The Boulder city council is set to discuss the issue, and may send a letter of support for routing a restored service through Fort Collins and Boulder, next week.

A consultant, heh?

But seriously, this has “operational nightmare” written all over it. Some of you more familiar with things “on the ground” might help out here, but it seems to me that a Pioneer restoration seems a lot more likely with a train break-up in Salt Lake City.

Hopefully, Amtrak will get things settled on the Sunset soon and move forward on the Cardinal next. Just an opinion. It’s a free country, so disagree if you please.

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Filed under: Amtrak, Regional USA Passenger Rail

6 Responses

  1. Steve says:

    Pat, what would you do with the Cardinal?

  2. Mad Park says:

    The Cardinal needs to be, first and foremost, a daily train equipped with full sleeper, diner, lounge and coach options. Could be Superliner if it runs only to/from WAS, if from NYP will need to be single level cars. Amtrak clearly does not have 3 trainsets of either type of equipment, so… we wait until deliveries of new cars in 2014 or later.

  3. Marshall Dodge says:

    First of all, C.B. Hall is a good man.

    Second, running via Wyoming adds that state to the network (leaving out only South Dakota in the lower 48) and it allows for I-80 corridor service and then I-25 corridor service. Perhaps it needs to be a SLC to Denver only train? Or service it in Portland (keep it off the Seattle-Portland corridor please) along with the Builder Portland Stub.

  4. catfc says:

    I live in Fort Collins and badly want usable passenger rail. But it’s true, the freight trains through town go very slow through 4 miles of the city. Then it would have to do the same in Loveland and Longmont.

    Driving 60 miles to Denver to catch a cross country train is seldom worth it, when you factor in parking and early morning schedules. I’ve even had to factor in hotels when the train arrived after the parking garage closed.

    But driving to Cheyenne or Greeley and finding a place to park long term IS easy.

  5. [...] train took 2 hours to run from Cheyenne to Denver. If it goes through Fort Collins/Loveland, it will take more than 3 hours, they say. And that could harm overall [...]

  6. [...] train took 2 hours to run from Cheyenne to Denver. If it goes through Fort Collins/Loveland, it will take more than 3 hours, they say. And that could lower overall [...]

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