Amtrak to Colorado Springs?

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toddinde

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Done the backup move on the CZ quite a few times....
There is some nutty, irrational fear of backing trains in the US. We used to do it all the time. St. Louis Union for example. It’s done routinely all the time throughout Europe. The Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof is a prime example. We have to stop thinking that backing a train into a station is somehow impossible.
 

jebr

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This is generally true, but I don't think it will have a major impact on downtown Denver, particularly when the suburbs are experiencing as much growth as the urban core. The airport is miles away from downtown and people still come to downtown to take the "Train To The Plane", while others still readily make the trek by passenger vehicle---and others by rideshare or taxi.

Similarly, there have been private services which run shuttles to Fort Collins and Colorado Springs since Stapleton International Airport was in existence---all of which have bypassed downtown. Likewise, I expect that after north-south rail service is established, there will still be people who will rent a vehicle at DIA to go to Colorado Springs or Fort Collins, just as there will be some commuters who will not give up their car to go to either place. But there will be plenty more who will be enticed to travel another way. This doesn't take into consideration that more individuals--particularly the young and those without a nuclear family in their household--don't own cars and rely exclusively on public transportation or for-hire alternatives.
Even with the suburbs expanding, having the train avoid downtown entirely would have a major dampening impact on ridership. It's one thing to take a train to/from the airport, where the door-to-door trip time is still far more advantageous for plane + train/shuttle than private automobile. It's quite another to have to make significant extra transit time from the station when a private automobile will do it in a couple of hours. Sure, there's some people that have no access to a vehicle, but the vast majority of people can still drive to some extent, even if it would involve renting a car for the journey.

There's no one part of suburban Denver that has the density or draw that downtown Denver has. Downtown Denver is also much easier to get around by non-automobile forms of transportation than most of the suburbs, and with parking costing a decent amount of money downtown there's an incentive not to drive into downtown. It doesn't need to go into Union Station itself, but it needs to go downtown to be successful. Looking at maps, the trackage from Colorado Springs appears to go near the Union Station light rail station. That seems like an obvious place to put the station - it still connects into the Union Station complex area, but wouldn't require nearly as much money as bringing it in to the rest of the heavy rail area.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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Looking at maps, the trackage from Colorado Springs appears to go near the Union Station light rail station. That seems like an obvious place to put the station - it still connects into the Union Station complex area, but wouldn't require nearly as much money as bringing it in to the rest of the heavy rail area.
Those are the through-tracks the freight railroads use (they are also the only through-tracks between Denver south to Colorado Springs and Denver north to Cheyenne), and I'm not sure if the freight railroads would allow them to put a station right there.
 

neroden

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Those are the through-tracks the freight railroads use (they are also the only through-tracks between Denver south to Colorado Springs and Denver north to Cheyenne), and I'm not sure if the freight railroads would allow them to put a station right there.
The answer is that in practice it's totally dependent on the death of coal traffic. That line is almost all coal and oil traffic now.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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The answer is that in practice it's totally dependent on the death of coal traffic. That line is almost all coal and oil traffic now.
There appears to be 3 tracks in the Union Station segment (not sure if that will be enough to host a frequency of passenger trains needed to offset congestion on I-25 and I-70). Of course once the coal and oil freights are gone for good, they can remake the Denver railway landscape since the only freights left after that are east-west freights.
 

sttom

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Coal traffic aside, it's not like it would be out of the question to walk between the main line and Union Station, it's only two blocks. I had to walk at least that far at DIA just to get from the drop off point to Terminal C not including riding the people mover. For that matter, it's not like they couldn't add a people mover between the bus terminal and the through platforms anyways. It's not like Colorado is going to be funding a full train line in the next 5 years. And with their frankly stupidity of having to use P3s, I doubt the public would go for one. After having been to Denver and talking to locals, a lot of them are turning against having to use P3s with the frankly bungling of FasTracks and the DIA remodel.
 

jis

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Two tracks with proper signaling is good enough for 20 - 30 tph in each direction. How much traffic is there on I-25? What part of I-70 traffic do you believe will be impacted by the North-South line through Denver?
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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Two tracks with proper signaling is good enough for 20 - 30 tph in each direction. How much traffic is there on I-25? What part of I-70 traffic do you believe will be impacted by the North-South line through Denver?
Traffic on I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument has become similar to that of what's on the LA freeways, so it's pretty congested.
As for I-70 traffic, most likely within the Denver area but there's a good amount of congestion on I-70 in the mountains.
 

sttom

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A Front Range Corridor would be approximately 170 miles and have a similar population as the Capitol Corridor living near it. Colorado also has highways with far fewer lanes than in California and they already have a toll lane along their highways. From what I've been told, the two non tolled lanes get as bad as Bay Area highways at peak times. Also given the geographic features of the area, which are the towns not being huge yet and fairly close together, I could see an Amtrak line from Fort Collins to Pueblo doing well if the state could scrap up the funds to replace the Bustang frequencies with trains. So far there are 10 of those per day from Fort Collins to Denver and Denver to Colorado Springs. That would put it on par with the Capitol Corridor on weekends.
 

jis

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Traffic on I-25 between Castle Rock and Monument has become similar to that of what's on the LA freeways, so it's pretty congested.
My point is that a two track railroad can carry the raw demand fine with properly configured trains and signaling. The problem will be dispersal of those folks once they arrive at the stations on the route to get them to/from their final destinations.
As for I-70 traffic, most likely within the Denver area but there's a good amount of congestion on I-70 in the mountains.
True. But none of that is going to be addressed by a north-south oriented front range system. So while an interesting side note, it has not much to do with a Fort Collins - Denver - Colorado Springs - Pueblo system
 

sttom

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True. But none of that is going to be addressed by a north-south oriented front range system. So while an interesting side note, it has not much to do with a Fort Collins - Denver - Colorado Springs - Pueblo system
Colorado already has a fairly substantial bus service: https://ridebustang.com/routes-maps/
And they already have shuttle buses that link the Front Range to the mountains along with the Winter Park Express. Adding train service to the mountains seems to need only the will of the voters to accomplish. Most people in Colorado are starting to accept that the success of the Bustang service will mean full train service at some point in the future. And looking at https://www.openrailwaymap.org/ there are tracks to replace at least 4 of the 7 Bustang routes with trains if the state wanted to.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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My point is that a two track railroad can carry the raw demand fine with properly configured trains and signaling. The problem will be dispersal of those folks once they arrive at the stations on the route to get them to/from their final destinations.
Dont forget the Spanish Solution.

Colorado already has a fairly substantial bus service: https://ridebustang.com/routes-maps/
And they already have shuttle buses that link the Front Range to the mountains along with the Winter Park Express. Adding train service to the mountains seems to need only the will of the voters to accomplish. Most people in Colorado are starting to accept that the success of the Bustang service will mean full train service at some point in the future. And looking at https://www.openrailwaymap.org/ there are tracks to replace at least 4 of the 7 Bustang routes with trains if the state wanted to.
Looking at the map, for an I-70 rail line (between Denver and Grand Junction), the existing tracks that Amtrak uses follow I-70 from Grand Junction east before diverging north at Dotsero. There are tracks do that continue to follow I-70 east (serving Eagle) before diverging south at the I-70/US 24 junction at Miniturn all the way to around Colorado Springs. This is the Tennessee Pass line, which is currently owned by the Union Pacific after acquiring Southern Pacific (who acquired its builder D&RGW), but it hasn't seen any trains at all since 1997 (as UP preferred the more direct Moffat Subdivision). A company called Colorado Pacific has been trying to buy the rail line to use for transporting import and export grain from Kansas heading West to Dotsero and head en route to California, Nevada and Utah. Colorado DOT can try to buy the Tennesee Pass line between Dotsero and Miniturn (with Colorado Pacific receiving trackage rights to it) and modernize and rebuild the line. This also includes building a direct rail line serving Vail and reaching to Denver (as the existing line detours north between Denver and Dotsero). Given the steep gradients and numerous long tunnels, only electric trains can use the line (and multiple units are going to be the best choice unless you like running locomotive trains that are double-headed and banked). As Vail is a ski resort like Winter Park, Amtrak can run a Ski Train to Vail.
 

sttom

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Dont forget the Spanish Solution.



Looking at the map, for an I-70 rail line (between Denver and Grand Junction), the existing tracks that Amtrak uses follow I-70 from Grand Junction east before diverging north at Dotsero. There are tracks do that continue to follow I-70 east (serving Eagle) before diverging south at the I-70/US 24 junction at Miniturn all the way to around Colorado Springs. This is the Tennessee Pass line, which is currently owned by the Union Pacific after acquiring Southern Pacific (who acquired its builder D&RGW), but it hasn't seen any trains at all since 1997 (as UP preferred the more direct Moffat Subdivision). A company called Colorado Pacific has been trying to buy the rail line to use for transporting import and export grain from Kansas heading West to Dotsero and head en route to California, Nevada and Utah. Colorado DOT can try to buy the Tennesee Pass line between Dotsero and Miniturn (with Colorado Pacific receiving trackage rights to it) and modernize and rebuild the line. This also includes building a direct rail line serving Vail and reaching to Denver (as the existing line detours north between Denver and Dotsero). Given the steep gradients and numerous long tunnels, only electric trains can use the line (and multiple units are going to be the best choice unless you like running locomotive trains that are double-headed and banked). As Vail is a ski resort like Winter Park, Amtrak can run a Ski Train to Vail.
Electrifying a line that might only see two extra trains a day would be out of the question for any state. That's also assuming that Colorado would want to replace the one bus a day with a train instead of running more buses. I know you like recommending emus and tunnels for everything, but Colorado couldn't even spare $450 million to prevent FasTracks from requiring a P3, electrifying a rail line through sparsely populated mountains would be out of the question for the legislature in Colorado. Not to be a jerk about it, but Colorado isn't even at the point of working with Amtrak for standard equipment let alone committing to at least a mutli-million dollar project in the mountains that would require what would essentially be special order equipment in the US.
 

railiner

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A ski train to Vail???
Even if new construction built a line from Minturn to Vail, whether restoring service via Tennessee Pass, or running via Dotsero, the train would probably take well over 5 hours, compared to a 2 hour drive.
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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A ski train to Vail???
Even if new construction built a line from Minturn to Vail, whether restoring service via Tennessee Pass, or running via Dotsero, the train would probably take well over 5 hours, compared to a 2 hour drive.
Since it transports people from Vail to a sparsely populated area in the west whilst the other has to go down to Colorado Springs before going north to Denver in the east, hence the need for a wholly new rail line to Denver to make a Vail Ski Train work. How much skigoers does Vail get compared to Winter Park? Given that the Winter Park Ski Train performs well enough, I think a Vail Ski train would work.

Electrifying a line that might only see two extra trains a day would be out of the question for any state. That's also assuming that Colorado would want to replace the one bus a day with a train instead of running more buses.
The whole point of an I-70 rail line is to relieve traffic on I-70 between Denver and the Rocky Mountain towns, since congestion has gotten pretty bad, and I never assumed it would outright replace the Bustang service. Seems the best option would make it part of a greater project.
 

railiner

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Since it transports people from Vail to a sparsely populated area in the west whilst the other has to go down to Colorado Springs before going north to Denver in the east, hence the need for a wholly new rail line to Denver to make a Vail Ski Train work. How much skigoers does Vail get compared to Winter Park? Given that the Winter Park Ski Train performs well enough, I think a Vail Ski train would work.



The whole point of an I-70 rail line is to relieve traffic on I-70 between Denver and the Rocky Mountain towns, since congestion has gotten pretty bad, and I never assumed it would outright replace the Bustang service. Seems the best option would make it part of a greater project.
What route from Vail are you proposing?
A standard (non-cog) railroad could never follow the steep grades (over 7%) of I-70.
Going via Colorado Springs?? What, restore the Colorado Midland?? A whole new railroad would require lots of long tunnels and prohibitively expensive construction.
Just basically for a seasonal ski train?
Never going to happen in this century, at least...
 

jis

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What route from Vail are you proposing?
A standard (non-cog) railroad could never follow the steep grades (over 7%) of I-70.
Going via Colorado Springs?? What, restore the Colorado Midland?? A whole new railroad would require lots of long tunnels and prohibitively expensive construction.
Just basically for a seasonal ski train?
Never going to happen in this century, at least...
Yup. Lots of unbounded fantasies floating around. Not unusual here though.

Frankly I would be delighted to see a well organized north south corridor around Denver within Colorado as a starter get off the ground and succeed first. That seems quite doable and viable if folks around there put their minds to it.

Incidentally, that would also be closer to the subject matter of this thread than some of these other flights of fancy. ;).
 

sttom

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Since it transports people from Vail to a sparsely populated area in the west whilst the other has to go down to Colorado Springs before going north to Denver in the east, hence the need for a wholly new rail line to Denver to make a Vail Ski Train work. How much skigoers does Vail get compared to Winter Park? Given that the Winter Park Ski Train performs well enough, I think a Vail Ski train would work.



The whole point of an I-70 rail line is to relieve traffic on I-70 between Denver and the Rocky Mountain towns, since congestion has gotten pretty bad, and I never assumed it would outright replace the Bustang service. Seems the best option would make it part of a greater project.
Electrification isn't remotely necessary for starting a corridor service. After the CalIDOT cars come in, Amtrak might have the equipment for train service in Colorado. Colorado would only need about 8 train sets to maintain hourly frequencies along the Front Range, and I doubt that Colorado would start with that high of a frequency.

As for Vail, on open railway maps, there isn't a line there, nor has there been. At best an industrial line passes nearby at Avon and that's assuming the line isn't abandoned. The sad thing is, Colorado doesn't have the capacity to build an electrified commuter line without the private sector fleecing them, a corridor service would be just as bad. At this point there is even a good chance another FasTracks tax gets voted down, a multi million dollar project to the mountains would get voted down on a statewide ballot for sure. It would be one thing to ask for funding to replace the Front Bustang routes, but a train to Vail, why? That makes no sense from a business or public transit stand point, why put $13 million per mile, excluding tunnels into a line virtually no one would use?
 

NeueAmtrakCalifornia

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What route from Vail are you proposing?
A standard (non-cog) railroad could never follow the steep grades (over 7%) of I-70.
Going via Colorado Springs?? What, restore the Colorado Midland?? A whole new railroad would require lots of long tunnels and prohibitively expensive construction.
Just basically for a seasonal ski train?
Never going to happen in this century, at least...
It goes from Denver to Vail through the I-70 alignment. I'm not proposing bringing back the Tennessee Pass route (i.e. via Colorado Springs). Looks like someone made an I-70 rail alignment
But yeah I got way over my head with an I-70 intercity rail idea.
 
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