Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby eolesen » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:12 am

Glad to see that this seasonal subsidized service remained in light of all the other changes that have happened with regard to charters.

Hopefully it meets expectations, covers its costs and returns for 2019-2020.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby tk48states » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:44 am

Even though I live in Denver the new ski train remains somewhat of a mystery, Phil Anchutz the mogul who controlled the SP lost all my respect when he ordered the old ski train equipment sold to Canada, an irreplaceable loss. Now I note the new ski train uses regular Amtrak equipment, so my question is what happens to it during the week when ski train does not operate. With an equipment shortage I can’t believe ATRK would allow the train simply to sit in a coach yard unused.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby electricron » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:50 am

tk48states wrote:Even though I live in Denver the new ski train remains somewhat of a mystery, Phil Anchutz the mogul who controlled the SP lost all my respect when he ordered the old ski train equipment sold to Canada, an irreplaceable loss. Now I note the new ski train uses regular Amtrak equipment, so my question is what happens to it during the week when ski train does not operate. With an equipment shortage I can’t believe ATRK would allow the train simply to sit in a coach yard unused.

Why not leave the unused rolling stock in a coach yard unused for the rest of the week The rest of Amtrak trains during this period of time the Ski Train exists have their lowest ridership and Amtrak pulls the coaches and places them into a coach yard anyways. There is a reason why the Ski Train does not start up until after the Christmas holiday rush while many families enjoy a Christmas ski trip to Colorado.

The only difference is where they sit idle, now some sit idle in Colorado vs California or Illinois.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:38 pm

tk48states wrote:Even though I live in Denver the new ski train remains somewhat of a mystery, Phil Anchutz the mogul who controlled the SP lost all my respect when he ordered the old ski train equipment sold to Canada, an irreplaceable loss. Now I note the new ski train uses regular Amtrak equipment, so my question is what happens to it during the week when ski train does not operate. With an equipment shortage I can’t believe ATRK would allow the train simply to sit in a coach yard unused.



I've been told the train sits on Track 5 in Denver Union Station during the week.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:51 pm

Gosh, I can't of many viable businesses that would just use productive assets for 4 hours and 20 minutes per week and let them sit idle the rest of the time.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby gokeefe » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:53 pm

U-Haul.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:36 pm

In February, Amtrak uses the equipment for 10 round trips (one each Saturday and each Sunday, and one each of the first two Fridays).

Even if the equipment ran only 2 round trips a day, that would be 56 round trips (and it would still be non-revenue generating a majority of the time).

So Amtrak could be earning 5.6 times the revenue from that equipment than it does.

Yes, some U-Haul equipment sits around, as do some rental cars,but generally an industry that has high fixed costs, such as railroads, can generate large profits once it starts generating revenue above those fixed costs. It would be ideal if Amtrak could find some kind of use for that equipment during its down time.

So, with low equipment usage plus low load factors (I think below 60% overall):

If Amtrak could fill its seats by even a few more percentage points (based on passenger miles), it could be operationally profitable.

If Amtrak could fill its seats by a significant number of percentage points (based on passenger miles), it could be very profitable. At least it's using equipment for this ski train instead of just letting the equipment sit idle all the time, so this is a start.

If Amtrak could use its equipment more and fill more of its seats, it could be very profitable.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby gokeefe » Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:51 pm

This equipment would sit empty and completely unused if not for utilization on the Winter Park Express. Amtrak agrees with your thinking, hence the decision to run this service (contingent on sufficient operational support from the resort operator).
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 05, 2019 6:02 pm

Right, we're on the same page.

It just seems to me as though Amtrak ought to be doing everything it can to find ways to run its paid-off equipment more, and fill more of its seats through whatever ways it can. If successful, those strategies could solve all of its financial problems and reduce or eliminate its dependence on government.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby andrewjw » Sat Jan 05, 2019 8:48 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:In February, Amtrak uses the equipment for 10 round trips (one each Saturday and each Sunday, and one each of the first two Fridays).

Even if the equipment ran only 2 round trips a day, that would be 56 round trips (and it would still be non-revenue generating a majority of the time).

So Amtrak could be earning 5.6 times the revenue from that equipment than it does.

Not to quibble too much, but I doubt your math. Presumably, they use the equipment for the 10 most profitable round trips.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:23 pm

andrewjw wrote:
SouthernRailway wrote:In February, Amtrak uses the equipment for 10 round trips (one each Saturday and each Sunday, and one each of the first two Fridays).

Even if the equipment ran only 2 round trips a day, that would be 56 round trips (and it would still be non-revenue generating a majority of the time).

So Amtrak could be earning 5.6 times the revenue from that equipment than it does.

Not to quibble too much, but I doubt your math. Presumably, they use the equipment for the 10 most profitable round trips.


Before you "doubt [my] math", you should carefully read my post. You didn't. My math is 100% correct.

56 round trips (2 round trips a day) is 5.6 times the 10 round trips that the Winter Park Express equipment runs in February.

Amtrak Could earn 5.6 times the revenue. Not Would; Could. That means that Amtrak might earn 5.6 times the revenue, but will not necessarily do so.

Perhaps Amtrak could earn more; perhaps less. It sells seats on the ski train as low as about 43.9 cents per mile, which is decent, but far lower than it charges in some areas of the US.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby gokeefe » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:59 pm

Part of the reason for that pricing is the level of operational support. It's a bad example to draw conclusions from due to the fact that the resort is probably determining the fare pricing.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:02 pm

Thanks, gokeefe- very interesting. You always make good points.
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby east point » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:08 pm

Just remember with the equipment laying over in DEN that give Amtrak an ability to substitute any CAL Z equipment that has a problem before getting to DEN. That definitely applies to the P-42s
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Re: Winter Park Express: Denver-Winter Park Ski Train

Postby benboston » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:08 pm

They could also run a Fort Collins to Pueblo service using the equipment that isn't in use during the week from the ski train. Minimal construction should be necessary for such a project as the trackage is there and a deal must be met with the freight companies.

Here is an image of where construction needs to be done.

Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 10.01.44 PM.png

Screen Shot 2019-01-05 at 10.03.10 PM.png
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