Ski Train could be derailed
The Denver Post
With Sky-Hi Daily News staff reports
Amtrak said today it does not yet have an agreement with Iowa Pacific Holdings to help operate a new Ski Train service between Denver’s Union Station and Winter Park.
That service was to start Sunday and Iowa Pacific has been selling tickets for the excursion trains for a number of weeks.
Winter Park Resort officials are withholding comment pending the outcome of a court hearing scheduled for Wednesday. The resort is not an official party to the Ski Train contract, resort officials said, though the resort is a participant in package deals that were being marketed by Iowa Pacific.
More than 13,000 passengers already have made reservations for the December-March season, Iowa Pacific said in a release this afternoon.
Iowa Pacific, which operates summer excursion trains in southern Colorado is bidding to succeed the Anschutz Co. as operator of the Ski Train. Earlier this year, Anschutz company officials said they would be discontinuing operation of the Ski Train this season. The excursion train has run seasonally for 69 continuous years.
In its statement, Amtrak said it has been negotiating with Iowa Pacific for months over plans to operate the Ski Train this season, but “no final contract has been reached due to unresolved issues related to staffing requirements, passenger railcar equipment and liability.”
The initial plan called for Amtrak to supply locomotive engineers and conductors to operate train equipment supplied by Iowa Pacific on track owned by the Union Pacific Railroad.
Earlier today, Iowa Pacific filed suit in Federal District Court in Denver against Amtrak seeking a temporary restraining order and mandatory preliminary injunction that would compel the national rail service to operate the Ski Train from Sunday through March.
In its complaint, Iowa Pacific said Amtrak demanded that Iowa Pacific obtain $200 million of insurance coverage “which would cover acts of terrorism and affirmatively provide coverage for punitive damages.”
“Insurance policies containing such terms are not available to IPH on commercially reasonable terms,” Iowa Pacific said.
Jeffrey Leib: 303-954-1645 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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