Skiers and snowboarders in Denver tired of battling with crippling traffic on the I-70 highway to the ski resorts of the Colorado Rockies may soon get some relief: The Colorado Transportation Commission has officially pledged a $1.5 million grant to try to revive the now-defunct, iconic Ski Train to the Winter Park Resort.
The Ski Train operated continuously between 1940 and 2009, ferrying skiers and snowboarders 62 miles out to Winter Park, the closest resort to the city of Denver. Service on the train was terminated in 2009 by entrepreneur Philip Anschutz, who owned the rail line at the time, due to excessive costs.
But in March of this year, the Ski Train hosted two more sold-out rides, leading state and resort officials to realize that there was still a significant demand for the train.
The $1.5 million won’t guarantee that the train will reopen, but it is money that is necessary for building a boarding platform and implementing rail improvements that are essential for negotiations between Amtrak and Union Pacific, the current owner of the railway, to continue talks about relaunching service.
According to the Denver Business Journal, the goal is to restart service on the Ski Train in January 2017.
“This project has significant long-term benefits for our state and local communities, and contributes greatly to regional passenger rail service and economic growth,” Democratic Colorado Senator Michael Bennet told the Denver Business Journal.
And apparently the excitement over the Ski Train is nonpartisan, because Bennet’s sentiments were echoed by Republican Senator Cory Gardner.
“While the Ski Train will not resolve all of the I-70 congestion issues we face in getting to the mountains, I am pleased the local and state entities involved decided the Ski Train must be part of a broader solution,” Gardner told the Denver Business Journal.
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