mtuandrew wrote:Never understood why Cheyenne was so "out there" since it's not even 100 miles from Denver. Seems much more reasonable and easier to start with Cheyenne - Denver - Pueblo (and possibly Trinidad or La Junta) service than trying to wrangle both Texas and New Mexico into agreements. Colorado would be the sole driver, with Wyoming coming along as a minority partner if it chooses.
When you look at the Front Range Urban Corridor
, and its 4.7m people, the most natural rail system would serve about 3.6m people "near" a 180mile spine between Ft Collins and Pueblo. That's 200,000 people per mile.
Adding Cheyenne adds 50 route-miles for barely 100,000 people: 2,000 people per mile, or just 1/100th of the density of the rest of the Front Range line. So Cheyenne ads big costs, small population, interstate complexity, and a junior partner (WY) with no history or expertise of big transit, and would run along a stretch of I-25 that probably works perfectly fine for bus or car.
Same goes for the southern end: Pueblo to Santa Fe is also a whole lot of nothing populated by a whole lot of nobody, but having a big, commuter-free interstate.
For reference, New Mexico's Rail Runner
is a 100 mile system serving about 1m people. 100k per mile has proven kind of marginal.
I think Colorado has a good case for Ft Collins to Pueblo but not beyond. And its an interesting question of whether it should be operated by Amtrak or by a Transit Authority (as NM's Rail Runner is)