Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

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Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby E Runs » Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:02 pm

Looks like the popular Ski Train is back for one weekend only: http://www.amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress.What was to be a one day only event http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_27596939/amtrak-revives-ski-train-one-day-celebrate-winter
Amtrak and Winter Park ski area are reviving the venerable Ski Train with a one-day round-trip between Denver's Union Station and the Grand County resort March 14.
was extended to the weekend after the 450 seats sold out in 10 hours. The second train sold out in 4 hours http://www.denverpost.com/News/ci_27631595/2nd-Ski-Train-sells-out-in-4-hours-stirs-hope-of-DenvertoWinter-Park-rail-service-revival
The strong response from Denver-area customers, filling two seven-car Amtrak trains carrying more 450 passengers, will certainly be a consideration by Amtrak and the resort for next ski season, Winter Park said in a news release Tuesday.

The Ski Train, which closed in 2009 after almost 70 years of seasonal operation, was revived in celebration of the Winter Park's 75th anniversary. The $75 ticket price includes $15 to spend at the resort.


Will be interesting to see if this one-off event spurs Amtrak to consider reviving the Ski Train full time. I know the Ski Train was a private enterprise, and Amtrak struggles with equipment shortages as it is, but this could be a large untapped revenue stream.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby GWoodle » Tue Mar 03, 2015 9:46 pm

7 cars & 450 riders

I hope the editors change the caption quick. Passengers boarding the locomotive? Should get everyone reading this to ride shotgun?
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:45 am

There are two trains now. One Saturday and the other Sunday. Both sold out in hours.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby jp1822 » Wed Mar 04, 2015 10:50 pm

If Amtrak continues with the "down-sizing" of LD consists in the winter, there would be enough Superliners around to offer this service - even if the cars stay "parked" during the weekdays, and only run on weekends (or Friday through Sunday perhaps).

If a private entity were to operate the Ski Train, Amtrak would have to be paid a fee right - which could tip the scales and make the service less economical?

Why Amtrak isn't running at least a Superliner Cross Country Café is a little baffling. They could use local food purveyors in the Denver area I would think. Hopefully the food service contract isn't written so strict that this would be a hurdle for Amtrak. The Reno Fun Train offers food service (although supplied out of Oakland I am sure). One would think the return trip would be carrying passengers interested in buying food and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Even if a Superliner Sightseer Lounge car is used and just the upper deck is used for beverage service.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby MACTRAXX » Thu Mar 05, 2015 7:23 pm

Everyone:

Reviving Winter Park Ski Train service has the potential of becoming very popular: From Curbed Ski
Thursday March 5th,2015 (Megan Barber)

See: http://m.ski.curbed.com/archives/2015/0 ... -again.php

Amtrak could provide this service under contract with local operators like RTD or perhaps there
could be another service like the previous Ski Train was that used the former VIA/CN Tempo cars...

This could be a good seasonal rail operation noting that the demand is definitely there...

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EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby deathtopumpkins » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:10 pm

I think Amtrak should be pursuing as many ideas like this as possible. If it sells out in a few hours, even after they add a second train, then there is clearly demand, and it certainly warrants at least a look at reviving a regular service. Based on the success of things like the fall foliage specials, and other agencies' special trains (like the CapeFLYER), I think that's likely going to be a key part of Amtrak's strategy to make a profit in the future.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby jp1822 » Thu Mar 05, 2015 10:26 pm

MACTRAXX wrote:Everyone:

Reviving Winter Park Ski Train service has the potential of becoming very popular: From Curbed Ski
Thursday March 5th,2015 (Megan Barber)

See: http://m.ski.curbed.com/archives/2015/0 ... -again.php

Amtrak could provide this service under contract with local operators like RTD or perhaps there
could be another service like the previous Ski Train was that used the former VIA/CN Tempo cars...

This could be a good seasonal rail operation noting that the demand is definitely there...

MACTRAXX



Yes, but "any other service" may have to pay additional fees to Amtrak making the financials less attractive if Amtrak operated the service directly. Mr. Ellis is not operating cars behind the CONOL without paying Amtrak $$$. Even the former tour operator companies that ran on Amtrak routes, yet owned by freight RR, were required to have Amtrak staff or pay Amtrak a fee (almost like a fee of entry). I don't know the mechanics on this, but it is out there. Amtrak could operate the Ski Train directly IF it wanted too. Superliners could even be ferried out on the Zephyr the day before extended weekend operations.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby Jeff Smith » Thu Sep 01, 2016 10:51 am

Return of the ski train: Denver Post

Thanks to the Winter Park Express, Denver just became a ski-in, ski-out town
The rail link from Denver International Airport means tourists can fly in and hit the ski hill — no cars involved

...
More than seven years later DeFrange, the longtime captain of the Denver-owned ski area in Grand County, stood in the same spot. Heavy machinery growled behind him, tearing down a berm separating the ski area from the Union Pacific train tracks. Within months, a heated, 950-foot heated cement rail platform will be ready for skiers arriving from Denver on the new Winter Park Express Amtrak double-decker Superliner train.

With the platform about 30 yards from the Gemini lift, downtown Denver is now ski-in, ski-out. (Of course, there’s a two-hour train ride in between those steps, but why sweat the details?)

After 18 months of intensive negotiations between Amtrak, Winter Park and rail-owner Union Pacific, and some not-subtle lobbying by Colorado’s U.S. senators, the governor, Denver’s mayor and rail fans across the state, the ski-train revival was made official on Thursday.

The 500-passenger Amtrak Superliners will leave Denver Union Station at 7 a.m. and return at 6:40 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday from Jan. 7 through March 26, and on three Monday holidays in January and February. One-way fares start at $39 and kids riding with ticketed adults pay half. Tickets go on sale Aug. 30 at Amtrak.com/WinterParkExpress.


Apparently, there were some special excursions as a "test" recently:

After a test run of the Winter Park Express in March 2015 sold out two weekends in a matter of a few hours, both Amtrak and Winter Park knew demand was high.
Next stop, Willoughby
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Sep 01, 2016 11:19 am

jp1822: I recall seeing somewhere that DRGW retained rights to operate the Ski Train on its own account, but whether those rights remain with UP I know not. Omaha is an unlikely-at-best operator, of course.

EDIT: and don't Amtrak signatory railroads (like UP, BN/ATSF, etc.) still retain rights to operate in-state trains generally? I'm thinking the commuter services around Chicago and LA particularly.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby CHTT1 » Thu Sep 01, 2016 1:28 pm

Those commuter services are operated under contract with government agencies. BNSF doesn't run the trains under their own account. Commuter trains didn't come under the Amtrak act.
As far as the ski train is concerned, it is an excursion train, just like steam and railfan excursions. Some excursions run under Amtrak authority for insurance purposes, others like the NS steam specials have nothing to do with Amtrak.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby deathtopumpkins » Fri Sep 02, 2016 12:42 pm

The linked article implies that Amtrak is running trains from Winter Park to DIA, via Denver Union Station. Is this in fact true? Or are they just advertising a connection via the RTD A-line?
Last edited by deathtopumpkins on Sat Sep 03, 2016 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Sep 02, 2016 9:15 pm

DIA to DUS via the RTD A line service,the Superliners wont fit under the wire,and RTD "Heavy" Rail is high level platformed.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby electricron » Fri Sep 02, 2016 10:54 pm

So most likely someone flying in will have to transfer trains in downtown Denver.
I wonder if it will be possible to make that transfer?
Snow train leaves downtown Denver at 7:00 am and arrives in Winter Park by 9:00 am.
There are six trains leaving the airport that reaches downtown Denver before 7:00 am, the latest leaves at 6:11 am and arrives at 6:48 am.
I wonder how many flights land before 6:00 am so you would have enough time to reach the train - assuming 11 minutes is sufficient time to reach the train?
Besides those arriving before 1:00 am, there's only one scheduled flight arriving before 6:00 am, a Boutique Air flight arriving at 5:50 am from McCook, Nebraska.
So, for all practical purposes, you aren't going to be able to fly in and catch the Ski Train on the same day.
You're going to have to spend at least one night in Denver.
Therefore, riding the airport commuter train into downtown overnight and catching the Ski Train the following morning is how you're going to have to do it, and the present arrangement of leaving downtown Denver at 7:00 am works.
There's no reason to start the Ski Train at the airport because there is no flight arriving before the train must leave the airport to reach Winter Park by 9:00 am.
For all practical purposes, the scheduling of the Ski Train is set for local Denver residences to go skiing and returning home over a weekend.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Sep 03, 2016 6:16 am

I believe that Denver, unlike cities further east, has no red-eye flights arriving very early in the morning. I just checked Flightaware, and the last arrival was a 4:56 AM UPS plane. The one before that was around midnight--Frontier. There are planes in the air that will land around 6:30 AM coming from the east, mainly Frontier and United, but that's too late to make a 7:00 departures from DUS.
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Re: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train One Time Weekend Revival

Postby Tadman » Thu Sep 08, 2016 12:07 pm

Winter Park is also not much of a ski destination for out-of-state patrons compared to Vail, Breck, Telluride, Aspen, etc... The mix of locals to vacationers at Winter Park is more heavily weighted toward locals. Ergo a commuter ski train from central Denver makes sense to Winter Park, but a DIA-Winter Park not so much. People flying into DIA generally rent something like a Blazer or Explorer and head for Vail or Breck.
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