Plans to Revive Winter Park Train Gain Steam

Would run between Denver and the resort

Jul 20, 2015
Outside Magazine

The Winter Park Express route will run between Denver and the Winter Park ski area.    Photo: Loco Steve/Flickr

There’s talk of reviving the Winter Park Ski Train, which would allow skiers to go from downtown Denver to carving turns in less than two hours—without the headache of I-70 congestion.

The ski train started running between Union Station in Denver and Winter Park in 1940 but was sold off by the Anschutz Company in 2009 because of profitability problems.

Since then, there have been efforts to revive the route, but this is the first year that Amtrak, which now owns the trains, and Union Pacific, which owns the tracks, are both “at the negotiating table,” according to Colorado Public Radio. If reopened, the Grand County resort would be the only one in North America where skiers could take a train all the way to the slopes. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation said the train likely won’t make a major difference for traffic on the I-70 corridor, according to CPR. But it would provide an attractive alternative for skiers who want to enjoy a day on the slopes without sitting in traffic.

In March of this year, Winter Park and Amtrak partnered up to temporarily revive the historic Winter Park Express Route in honor of the resort’s 75th anniversary. The event was so popular that tickets sold out within hours and a second train had to be added.

But while it seems the demand is there, there are still major feasibility questions—including how the train will turn around for its return trip to Denver. Nonetheless, Winter Park says the train could start operating as soon as this ski season, according to CPR. There’s even talk of a combined ski and rail pass.

Winter Park said decisions could be made in the next few months, likely in time for ski season.

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