Amtrak seeks partnership in Colorado passenger rail service

April 13, 2021 GMT

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — Amtrak has said it is willing to participate in a partnership to provide and operate passenger railroad service along the Front Range between Pueblo, Colorado, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, as it works to expand operations.

Amtrak President Stephen Gardner said the 215-mile (345-kilometer) corridor is ready for passenger rail service and that a partnership could make the route a reality, the Daily Times-Call reported Monday.

Gardner spoke with Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn, Front Range Passenger Rail Commission Vice Chair Sal Pace, commission member Jill Gaebler and Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce CEO Dale Steenberger during a news conference on Monday.


Gardner said the route could require a combination of federal, state and regional funding. It is unclear how much the service would cost and what each partner would contribute; however, Amtrak said last week that a news conference was being convened “to talk about a vision for passenger rail service.”

The potential Front Range corridor service would be part of Amtrak’s vision of expanding passenger services across the country and providing that service to up to 160 communities currently not on company routes. Amtrak is also working with BNSF Railway to expand services, Gardner said.

Pace said he is excited about the possibility of Amtrak providing that passenger service, something the commission has been working on for years.

Colorado Public Radio reported in December that the Front Range Passenger Rail Commission received a draft report that the passenger rail service could provide up to six round trips a day between Fort Collins and Colorado Springs on trains traveling an average of 45 mph (72 kph), mostly on existing freight rail tracks.

It could cost between $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion, the draft report said. A second phase would add service between Colorado Springs and Pueblo up to $300 million.

Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia introduced a bill on Friday in the Colorado Legislature that would “implement one of the most expansive public transportation plans in Colorado history” by laying the groundwork for the rail service through the Front Range. Garcia said the state’s transportation system has been underfunded and overburdened and this service could be a long-term solution.

The bill, which was assigned to the Senate Transportation and Energy Committee, did not specifically name Amtrak as an operator. A hearing has not yet been scheduled.