ColoRail, a non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to preserving & expanding passenger rail in Colorado, has set its Winter meeting for Saturday, February 17th. The session runs from 8am to Noon, and will be held at the Kimpton Hotel Born, just southwest of Denver Union Station. This writer, who spends significant time in the state, is a proud member of ColoRail (since 2016).
The meeting’s agenda includes three guest speakers. Rick Clarke of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will share news on expansion of the LA metro system. Andrew Karsian, a liaison for the Colorado Department of Transport, will provide an update on funding options for transportation in the state. Finally, Barbara Schroeder, of Alstom Transportation Inc., will discuss the use of hydrogen fuel cells for locomotive power.
In addition to the guest speakers, ColoRail president Jim Souby will provide an update on the organization and members will commemorate the life of Ira Schreiber, a former president of ColoRail, who passed on January 9th.
Prior to the meeting, interested attendees can gather at Track 5 of Union Station to observe ColoRail car hosts prepping for the 7am departure of Amtrak’s Winter Park Express (WPE) train. That seasonal weekend return-service brings skiers and outdoor enthusiasts to the slopes of Winter Park Resort, some 67 miles west of Denver.
ColoRail was a key advocate in the return of the WPE in 2017, after ski train service under a private operator ended in 2009. The advocacy group runs a successful “car host” program in which nine volunteers ride the WPE to give information to passengers about the route and amenities at the resort. More than 500 passengers can be accommodated on the train.
In 2017, CenturyLink, a telecommunications provider, was the presenting sponsor for Winter Park Express – that title sponsor is now Lyft, the ride-sharing service. In the following report from USA Today, when the train first re-started, some of the features of the Winter Park Express (and train travel) are highlighted:
For further information about the work of ColoRail, visit the official website at COLORAIL.ORG.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)