WP Planning Commission considers return of ski train
May 24, 2016
The Winter Park Planning Commission discussed the return of the ski train during their May 24 meeting. The topic was on the agenda since Winter Park Resort requested $100,000 through the Commercial Enhancement Grant Program fund. The fund was introduced in 2000 and can be utilized by local organizations or businesses to beautify their property. The idea is to encourage pedestrian and business activity in commercial areas. Winter Park Resort PR and Communications Director Steve Hurlbert presented the request to the commission.
The money requested by the resort will go towards a 900 square-foot platform near the existing drop-off point for the train. According to the report presented to the Planning Commission, the platform will enable the rail service to grow. It will run on weekends and holiday Mondays at first with the intent of traveling more often.
Winter Park Resort is working closely with Amtrak and Union Pacific to finalize details of service to Winter Park.
By request of Amtrak, the platform will have a heated coil so little snow removal will be necessary.
According to the report, CDOT estimates the train would remove over 400 vehicles from Interstate-70 during peak travel each weekend. The ski train sold out in a total of 14 hours during March so there is plenty of demand for an alternative to driving. The new University of Colorado A Line from DIA to Union Station would allow visitors the opportunity to travel from the airport to the mountains with no additional transportation services needed.
The permanent infrastructure creates potential for more Winter Park Resort stops and larger trains with "zero capital investment beyond the cost of construction."
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The train would run from January through March every weekend and Monday holidays for the first three years, if approved. This would be about 36 trips per year. The train would be scheduled to leave Union Station at 7 a.m. and arrive at the resort by 8:45 a.m. Departure would be at 4:30 p.m. and travelers would be back to Denver by 6:30 p.m. One-way tickets would be available. The platform would accommodate a large number of NSCD skiers that come to the resort and would make the base area easily accessible to them. The Planning Commission passed a motion to send the request to the Town Council.
This story has been updated to clarify details about Amtrak.