• Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

  • 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 east point
Trip to WPR Saturday sold out. Find it interesting that you cannot book from WPR to any station east of Denver even though both trains scheduled into DEN within 5 minutes. Other way of course not possible.
  by electricron
Amtrak considers the Winter Park Express an Excursion train. Are there any other excursions trains, like the Autumn Classisc, which Amtrak allows scheduling beyond the terminus city?
  by gokeefe
Clarification in the latest story on "accomodations":
"We're also working on ways where a group could get exclusive occupancy of a railcar, which is good for ski clubs," says Magliari.
And now, a word of warning to those looking forward to some après-ski drinking, since they won't have to drive: There's no alcohol on the train.
"It's a family environment," Magliari says, though he adds that options may open up when groups can charter their own car.
Apparently the Downeaster would not qualify as a "family environment" ... the alcohol policy really is quite surprising.
  by Backshophoss
Seems like the "Ski Train" will run as a "push-pull",NPCU 406 is wrapped and at Denver already(CNN photo).
Most if not all of the Superliner Coaches have the MU trainline installed.
406 has a F59 HEP genset pallet installed,if UP power is needed to tow the "Ski Train",there will be HEP!
  by Rockingham Racer
They mentioned Wachusett as an example of ski train service. I always thought there was a van transfer involved.
  by Arborwayfan
Amtrak pax are never allowed to bring and drink their own alcoholic drinks in coach, or anywhere else except in sleepers "for which they have a ticket": https://www.amtrak.com/personal-food-be ... medication" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;. Really all the no-alcohol policy on this train means is that there's no food-and-drink service and Amtrak is following it's own normal rules. That bit about the family environment is probably just a misinterpretation of the reason, or maybe it made more sense in the context of the full interview.

Are there no spare Superliner food service cars? A two-hour ride just before or after a ski day would seem like a great dinner-train opportunity: If they sold meal+table seating (made the food service cars a seating car), while selling take-out to other passengers, could they make money? I'm thinking of the Iowa Pacific Hoosier State model.

Re connections to east of Denver and connections in general:
I wondered whether it would make sense to have a stop at the Fraser station, too, since the train's probably going right past it to lay over. It wouldn't cost anything or slow down the main route, and it might lure some passengers who actually want to go to Fraser but don't find the CZ schedule convenient (a little too early, but then likely to be late). It doesn't look like they have any trouble filling the seats, though, so maybe there's no reason to do it.

If the CZ gets rerouted on a day the Ski Train runs, could Amtrak use the Ski Train to move passengers with tickets to Fraser? If the blockage were, hypothetically, beyond Glenwood Springs, could Amtrak use the Ski train to serve Fraser, Granby, and Glenwood Springs, maybe moving a coach from the CZ to the Ski Train? Usually they use buses. (Schedule might be tight? Hours of service? Extra crews?)

Likewise, I wonder if the CZ will ever stop at Winter Park now that there's a platform. One situation I'm imagining is one where the Ski Train is sold out in one direction or the other but there's space on the CZ, so a day or two before the trip they open up Winter Park-Denver as an option on the CZ and get a little extra revenue for no extra cost. I guess that would only make sense if there were a lot of CZ seats or Amtrak had pretty good statistical reasons to think that the remaining seats were very unlikely to be bought by passengers going further and paying more. Another situation I'm imagining is that people, maybe groups, want to go from some other CZ stop to the slopes at Winter Park, and for some reason find that much more attractive that getting off at Fraser. Why not accommodate them?

Some of the stories about this train say that now you can go from plane to slope by rail; I bet that's only true if you count staying in Denver overnight. I wonder if the hotel in Union Station is doing any special marketing along those lines--fly in on Friday, train to hotel, on Sat train to Winter Park, stay up there, on Sun back to Denver, stay there, fly out on Mon, that kind of thing.
  by gokeefe
I didn't have any doubts about personal "supplies". I'm just surprised they aren't serving alcohol in the cafe car.
  by CHTT1
This is an excursion train. The sponsor sets the rules. Having a "family" atmosphere is important since this train service is designed for families wishing to experience a day of skiing without having to drive on mountain roads.
Many privately sponsored excursion trains don't allow alcohol sales. For instance, alcohol is never sold on railfan excursions, probably for insurance reasons since you don't want drunken railfans sticking their heads out of open windows or vestibules and getting decapitated.
  by EdSchweppe
gokeefe wrote:I didn't have any doubts about personal "supplies". I'm just surprised they aren't serving alcohol in the cafe car.
Probably because there's no cafe car. As the Winter Park Express Passenger Information popup notes:
Food and beverages will not be available for purchase on the Winter Park Express.
  by gokeefe
That's surprising as well to an extent. I'm assuming that's something the resort wanted.
  by electricron
The resort wants to sell the food and beverages at their locations, not on the train. ;)
It's cheaper for them to provide that service,and therefore more profitable for them.
The purpose of the train is to get more customers to them, and the train makes it easier for that to happen.
  by Jeff Smith
Nice write-up by: CNN.com

Warning: obnoxious, auto-play video. Story is a video story.

Brief, fair-use quote per railroad.net policy:
Beat the traffic and ditch the car: Amtrak's "Winter Park Express" takes skiers--and their gear-- from downtown Denver, Colorado, to the Winter Park Resort, literally steps away from mountain chair lifts. The train climbs nearly 4,000 feet above Denver, cruises through 28 tunnels and gets you back to the city in time for dinner.
  by Tadman
gokeefe wrote: Still wondering what the last new Superliner route was ... the Kentucky Cardinal started running in 1999 ... Of routes not related to the M&E initiative and still running today the Pere Marquette which started service in August 1984 appears to be the last truly "new" Superliner route initiated by Amtrak.
The PM is not really a Superliner route. You see them perhaps half the time but it seems like whatever is rolling at 14th street goes out on the PM. It was usually an Amfleet game before they were migrated east, then pretty solid Horizons with the Automat throughout the late 1990's. The last 15 years have seen just about anything, with Superliners becoming fare more prevalent but not the rule by any means.
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