• Front Range Colorado Passenger Service: Pueblo - Fort Collins

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  by Rockingham Racer
The Joint Line and the UP are kinks alright, but I would venture to say that with the reduced coal traffic, the impact is lessened. Could they even welcome the income paid by Amtrak, given the reduced traffic? Nah. :wink:
  by codasd
Well placed stations with shuttle service to business centers such as the DTC could be successful. I have friends that work up in Denver and a 50 minute commute turns into a 2 1/2 crawl with bad weather or a minor fender bender on I-25. The track is all Class 4 so trains should be able to hit 89 mph on most of the route. The three major sporting venues are all close to downtown which would provide a customer base.
The preference is to use the BNSF iron, but from Palmer Lake to Crews it's UP owned. Colorado Springs is closing the Drake coal plant by 2023 and the Nixon plant by 2030 if not sooner. Comanche 1 & 2 in Pueblo are scheduled to close by 2025. A local newspaper stated that Colorado Springs averages 23 trains a day passing through. That will certainty drop as the coal traffic dries up.
  by dgvrengineer
Backshophoss wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 5:02 pm This brings back the "Pueblo Detour" to the Chief ,or a regional Denver-Abq train running via Walsenburg to the Chief's route at Trinidad.
The "kink" is dealing with UP which shares the Joint Line with BNSF .
La Junta would require a runaround move to head north from there,also a lack of a south access track to Denver Union Station at present
It appears from looking at Google Earth, that both north and south access to Pueblo Union Station are gone. It can be accessed from a wye track on the north side, but that would be a complicated move. However, if there is a will there is a way and switches to both ends could easily be added(if any change on a RR is easy). The trick for the Chief is how to head south when westbound as there is no good connection west to south or north to east. Maybe that wye on the north end would be useful after all.
  by Arborwayfan
If there were more backpackers willing to ride trains in Colorado, the Ski Train from Denver through the Moffitt Tunnel would run year round and not just during the ski season.
Maybe so. Closer to the mark might be that in places where there are frequent trains to nearby backpacking country, relatively many backpackers will ride them, but backpackers aren't going to turn out in numbers to support frequent train service by themselves. The what-if question about hikers, backpackers, and general outdoorsiness isn't so much about the max once or twice a day ski train route, but about a hypothetical extension of the W-Line light rail a couple of miles northwest to some trailheads.

Back to topic: Isn't the key thing about whether a Front Range train (or ideally 2 or 3 or 4 trains a day) would get enough passengers to bring their subsidy down to whatever level someone thinks is acceptable this: are there 250, 500, 750, 1000 people a day who want to go from someplace near one of the stations to someplace near another of the stations. It doesn't matter if half or three quarters or ninety percent of the daily commutes or typical business daytrips or whatever start or end in a suburban office complex far from any station, as long as there are enough typical trips that end near a station. Denver may not have all its business concentrated in a mile radius of station like Boston in 1925, but Denver absolutely has a busy, dense downtown around the station, with business and pleasure destinations and good local public transit and not completely cheap or pleasant parking. Denver isn't Phoenix. If the Illini/Saluki "work" then a train in and out of Denver should work just on the strength of downtown Denver, even if most of the potential passengers drive to the station at the other end of their trip. The Old Depot at Colo Spgs looks to be in a pretty lively business district but no more than half a mile from the edge of residential neighborhoods in both directions, ie there are even potential walk-to passengers living in Colo Spgs (I don't know Colo Spgs, unlike Denver, so I'm going on satellite views here. :-) ) Etc. Etc. down the line. DUS is a bit of a problem; the state might do better to find a way to run this train in and out via one of their commuter lines rather than through the BNSF yard that ties up the CZ so much; too bad about the south tracks at DUS being all gone.

Maybe. Not sure.
  by CarterB
Would be nice to even go on to La Junta or Trinidad!!
  by west point
I have o idea of impediments but if front range service is successful then tunnel the direct route to be under Denver Union station. The Germans certainly are doing it for a lot of their stations.
  by mtuandrew
west point wrote: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:50 pm I have o idea of impediments but if front range service is successful then tunnel the direct route to be under Denver Union station. The Germans certainly are doing it for a lot of their stations.
Cherry Creek is the big obstacle there. It isn’t impossible of course, and Denver does have interest in extending transit southward - maybe someday it’ll happen with both LRT and heavy rail bores under the creek and the stadium.
  by Mollie
I think it can definitely work - but the key is going to be connectivity. If the D&RG station in CO Springs, Union Station in Pueblo, a downtown station in Fort Collins etc. can be achieved I think there is great potential. I'd be a lot more nervous about small temporary style stations in rail yards out of town. Most of the comps are commuter trains that serve walkable stations (for example Caltrain) - Fingers crossed!
  by John_Perkowski
From the Trains Newswire: Colorado Commission Advances Front Range Plans This proposed route would run Fort Collins to Pueblo, bypassing Denver Union Station for DIA.
  by Arborwayfan
Tough choice they have there: change ends at Union Station or run the Front Range service without stopping in the main pedestrian-friendly place on the whole route. Really too bad they didn't preserve a rail corridor through that newish development. Light rail goes right through/under a big building not so far away; trains could have done the same. But then again, a route centered on the airport would make for practical connections to and from planes; I guess it's partly a question of which market one wants to serve. The document, for what it's worth, says the committee or panel or whatever prefers the option that uses mostly existing ROW, shares track with Denver commuter rail, serves Boulder, and serves Union Station.
  by MikeBPRR
The commission working to establish passenger service along Colorado’s Front Range considered these three alternatives. (Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission)
— Placing tracks in the middle of or adjacent to Interstate 25 the entire distance, with a branch to Denver International Airport, shown in purple on the adjacent map;

— Utilizing existing highway and RTD transit rights-of-way north of Denver and the BNSF-UP rail corridor to the south, shown in yellow;

— A BNSF route north of Denver and the BNSF-UP tracks to the south, shown in green. This is the only alternative directly serving the city of Boulder, which last saw passenger service in 1967.

After some debate, the members passed a resolution indicating preference for the third option.
A portion of this article talks about bypassing Union Station, but a bypass certainly wouldn’t be very far out of the way. As it stands now, the Pikes Peak and Colorado Sprints subdivisions travel parallel to the light rail line that serves Denver Union Station, which is about two blocks away from the current terminal. That stretch is wide enough for four tracks, and that is separate from the light rail. Theoretically, if the southbound track was realigned so that it was on the western side of the ROW, the use of a center platform where the southbound track is now would leave enough space to keep both tracks as well as the current BNSF passing siding, with maybe even enough from for a dedicated freight bypass track. The Front Range Corridor could make that its stop instead of routing to the Union Station.
  by Jeff Smith
https://www.cpr.org/2023/02/02/pueblo-c ... n-station/
Plans for a new train station next to the historic Union Depot in Pueblo are moving ahead. The project is aimed at two proposed services, Front Range Rail that would run from Fort Collins to Pueblo and an expansion of Amtrak’s long-distance Southwest Chief line that would possibly connect La Junta to Pueblo and Colorado Springs.
  by RandallW
I think Amtrak would just reroute the Southwest Chief between La Junta and Trinadad through Pueblo.
  by Jeff Smith
Front Range Passenger Rail: Bringing Frequent Passenger Rail Service to Colorado’s Front Range

March 28th, 2023 • Projects and Planning

Something new is afoot in Colorado’s Front Range. Though the cowboys, prospectors, and mountaineers that built the state have faded into history, another group of builders from Colorado’s rich past – railroaders – may soon be returning to open a new chapter in the history of the mountain west.

In recent decades, Colorado has seen significant population growth, primarily along the front range. As a result, existing transportation systems have become strained, and new mobility options are required to keep Colorado’s people and economy moving. While the Denver area has been meeting this challenge with the creation of RTD and major expansion of light rail and commuter rail service, it is becoming clear that intercity rail will also need to feature in Colorado’s future.

Fortunately, the state has taken strong steps to initiate a new passenger rail project. The state has examined where and how to build a route connecting the major front range population centers, in several recent studies. Most recently, the 2020 Front Range Passenger Rail Alternatives Analysis report reviewed many potential alignments and identified three strong options to be advanced to the environmental permitting and review stage. The study also analyzed the feasibility and projected costs and ridership of each alignment. All potential alignments generally follow the same north-south axis connecting Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, and Fort Collins along existing transportation corridors. Future expansion could also include connections to Cheyenne, Wyoming, or New Mexico, as well as a link to the Amtrak Southwest Chief.

In 2021, the state created the Front Range Passenger Rail District for the purpose of planning, designing, developing, financing, constructing, operating, and maintaining a passenger rail system along the front range. The district covers the portion of the state that would be served by the new rail service; it has the authority to levy taxes with voter approval and to use eminent domain for land acquisition. In 2022, the District was awarded $9 million for planning work, and undertook operations and service planning studies to further advance the project.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7