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Is There a Ski Train in Summit County's Future?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
The Summit Daily News has already come out against this. Hopefully, nobody pays attention. I've already been late for work three times because of moronic traffic mess ups.

Full story
post #2 of 40
From the article (referring to a candidate who supported a train in a recent election):


"In fact, here in Summit County, he was actually quite popular amongst the more intelligent faction of liberal democrats, and less so amongst the more racist faction of republicans and soccer moms"

You left out nazi and baby killers. This passes for journalism?

Later in the same article:

"Nothing like making the tax payers foot the bill for your kids education. But I digress..."

I thought the debate on public funding of education ended decades ago but I guess no one was considering the implications of you having to leave home ten minutes earlier.
post #3 of 40
Wow that article was insulting......but what do you expect from that rag.

Life is so simple

Democrat = Good
Republicans = racist children starving dumbasses

What color is the sky in your world?
post #4 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
Wow that article was insulting......but what do you expect from that rag.

Life is so simple

Democrat = Good
Republicans = racist children starving dumbasses

What color is the sky in your world?
Considering that it was written in favor of both a Republican and a Democrat, I respectfully say that you are missing the point, by a longshot.

But the real issue here is that at least 70% of the people who drive here to visit are clueless as to how to go about doing so. How many more deaths can we have on the road because some clueless yahoo can't control his vehicle? For those of us who choose not to drive, and instead take the bus, it's not a question of leaving 10 minutes earlier. It's a question of catching the bus on time to get from one job to the next.

God bless you if you're wealthy enough to be one of the few Colorado residents who is lucky enough to be able to survive on one job.
post #5 of 40
What I don't get is why the plan doesn't include a stop at LL or abasin, yet it passes through loveland and right by abasin, but there are HUGE offshoots to serve the mega resorts. Would suck to have a train running right through town that I would almost never use. Shame it seems to be all about money with not much practicality for residents. I guess it would at least reduce traffic, making the drive safer.
post #6 of 40
Is this based upon an existing maintained rail line? If not you are looking at enormous costs. I could imagine a rail line serving the Dillon area and points West would be quite a boon for the Colorado ski industry though. Back when I was skiing in that area all traffic went over Loveland Pass. You can imagine how interesting that was. I recall seeing huge semi trailer rigs turned upside down and way way down off the road.
post #7 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post
What I don't get is why the plan doesn't include a stop at LL or abasin, yet it passes through loveland and right by abasin, but there are HUGE offshoots to serve the mega resorts. Would suck to have a train running right through town that I would almost never use. Shame it seems to be all about money with not much practicality for residents. I guess it would at least reduce traffic, making the drive safer.
You do have a point on this, but then again, I suspect that Loveland and A-Basin would prefer to be a bit less accessible. However, as you said, cutting down on at least some of the traffic would make the drive safer, and no matter how expensive this project might be, the cost of accidents, lost wages, etc. makes it all worth it.
post #8 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
Is this based upon an existing maintained rail line? If not you are looking at enormous costs. I could imagine a rail line serving the Dillon area and points West would be quite a boon for the Colorado ski industry though. Back when I was skiing in that area all traffic went over Loveland Pass. You can imagine how interesting that was. I recall seeing huge semi trailer rigs turned upside down and way way down off the road.
It's not just the ski industry who would profit. Although the new hospital in Frisco means big improvements in the medical industry, there are still services that need to come in from Denver. On Tuesday, I needed to take a day off because I had to go for a thoracic sonogram. Well, the physicians couldn't get here from Denver, so that was a day off for nothing, which had to be followed by another day off.

Contrary to popular belief, this is less about self indulgent skiers and more about the general health and safety of locals.
post #9 of 40
Hidebound 19thcenturythink.


Ski Train?

You need a car train.


Fewer stations, more options, more mobility once there.


Fewer stations served - faster train times and lower initial outlay.
More options at arrival and at destination for passenger - more passengers, more practicality for residents.
post #10 of 40
They need to work on an efficient bus system first!



Who would pay for a train?
post #11 of 40
I hope they do build a train. Property values will soar and we can sell out and move to someplace less liberal.
post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
They need to work on an efficient bus system first!
Why? That

- robs tourists of cargo capacity,

- forces them to either congregate and funnel into the pickup zone or wait for the bus to circle around dozens of pickup zones

- leaves those same tourists without mobility at the destination.

Quote:
Who would pay for a train?
The Auto Train is Amtrak's best paying train.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie View Post
Considering that it was written in favor of both a Republican and a Democrat, I respectfully say that you are missing the point, by a longshot.

But the real issue here is that at least 70% of the people who drive here to visit are clueless as to how to go about doing so. How many more deaths can we have on the road because some clueless yahoo can't control his vehicle? For those of us who choose not to drive, and instead take the bus, it's not a question of leaving 10 minutes earlier. It's a question of catching the bus on time to get from one job to the next.

God bless you if you're wealthy enough to be one of the few Colorado residents who is lucky enough to be able to survive on one job.
Lisa,

I am a huge fan of balanced journalism so I find myself compelled to comment here. FWIW, I do not have a dog in this fight...I'm pretty new to this area and have nothing to say either way on this subject, or even on local politics in general. But, I don't agree that this article presented a balanced viewpoint.

Let's outline this article:

1) This was an interesting year because
a) Denver had DNC
b) Obama won

2) Ali Hasan was an interesting candidate
a) Surprise expressed that a Muslim can be Republican
b) Implicit praise for not being very conservative.
c) Is supported by intelligent liberal democrats

3) Christine Scanlan supporters are racist and soccer-mom republicans
a) A seemingly negative comment about tax payers paying for public education (not sure what this is about since I don't know local politics but am guessing it's a snipe at Scanlan's proposals).

4) Hasan is popular because he wants a ski monorail
a) Traffic tie-ups are bad for resort business.
b) The idea is being reconsidered
c) European and Japanese models being considered.
d) Quote from another paper with monorail details (quote is almost as long as the main article)

Doing some simple arithmetic on the article and how space was allotted in it, I would say that someone who is offended by snipes at Republicans and conservatives may be excused for having trouble getting to the monorail part of this article with any trust left in the objectivity of the author.

Some completely un-asked-for advice to the author: If you want people to have a higher chance of paying attention to the real reason you wrote this article, I would suggest leaving out your personal political views and focus on the monorail.

Sorry...the pedant is satiated for the moment and will go back to being quiet.
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by comprex View Post
The Auto Train is Amtrak's best paying train.
Great, so Amtrak's going to pay the 6.2 billion. But isn't Amtrak broke?
post #15 of 40
Hmm. Does the ski train make traffic in Winter Park any less hellish? I'll say it again. Until demand can be controlled, there is no possibility of any transit solution working because none of them can scale with endless demand. If Summit County gets a train, some people will ride it. Then all of their cars will be replaced by others who notice that I-70 isn't quite as bad now. In a really short amount of time, we'll be back to people complaining about the I-70 mess. Seattle went through the same thing back in the 90's. We spent tons of money to add all this extra capacity and within five years we were right back where we started: gridlock. There is no free lunch here.
post #16 of 40
Here's the article from the Summit Daily:

Hasan lost because he creeped people out, and had too many ties to Bush. His pledge to stay celebate during the campaign was one of the weirdest things I ever heard. I do use the nifty shopping bags, however.

I think the Mono-rail is a bit pie-in-the-sky. I still have never heard of one working in a mountain/snow environment. I don't think we want to be the billion dollar "test track." I still think of the boondoggle that was the DIA baggage system when anyone mentions the mono-rail.
post #17 of 40
Wannabe,
Nice analysis. However, anyone that can describe two voting groups as:

a) more intelligent faction of liberal democrats

b) more racist faction of republicans and soccer moms

and view that as balanced reporting is well beyond your sage advice.

Doesn't Shelbyville have a monorail?
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post
Hmm. Does the ski train make traffic in Winter Park any less hellish? I'll say it again. Until demand can be controlled, there is no possibility of any transit solution working because none of them can scale with endless demand. If Summit County gets a train, some people will ride it. Then all of their cars will be replaced by others who notice that I-70 isn't quite as bad now. In a really short amount of time, we'll be back to people complaining about the I-70 mess. Seattle went through the same thing back in the 90's. We spent tons of money to add all this extra capacity and within five years we were right back where we started: gridlock. There is no free lunch here.
Only thing I could see working is a toll for tourist traffic on 70 or the resorts adding $20 or something to lift tickets if you can't produce a train ticket stub, but those are both so full of problems that I would prefer no one takes what I said seriously.
post #19 of 40
LM,

I know lots of people from CO and almost no one I know works 2 jobs. If you are having to work 2 jobs to make ends meet.....maybe you should reexamine your career choices.

I might support a train (depending on the details and what other transportation improvements go with it) but I won't read your trash again. It's simplistic Dems good Pubs bad crap.

I generally believe that liberals are wrong about most things. That doesn't make them bad people with bad motives....it just makes them wrong (and even that is just my opinion).

Hope you have a great holiday season but I won't be reading your stuff anymore.
post #20 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffda View Post
Hmm. Does the ski train make traffic in Winter Park any less hellish? I'll say it again. Until demand can be controlled, there is no possibility of any transit solution working because none of them can scale with endless demand. If Summit County gets a train, some people will ride it. Then all of their cars will be replaced by others who notice that I-70 isn't quite as bad now. In a really short amount of time, we'll be back to people complaining about the I-70 mess. Seattle went through the same thing back in the 90's. We spent tons of money to add all this extra capacity and within five years we were right back where we started: gridlock. There is no free lunch here.
I agree that a ski train isn't the cure-all solution for all of I-70's problems. But your logic is a little circular. Why not build it if it will alleviate some of the gridlock? I think your point is better aimed at the idea of widening freeways to add more lanes. All that does is encourage more people to drive it. But a solid public transportation option isn't the same thing. One big positive would be to give people an option who really aren't good at driving in snow/ice, and end up causing accidents.

I'm a lot more optimistic about the success of public transportation than you I guess. Interesting topic for sure since there is no magic solution.
post #21 of 40
Wish we could turn the time machine back to 1978, where did all these people come from? Didn't have traffic jambs back then.
"My baby love's a Train!"
The commute from Alamosa used to be a Killer!
Time for Tax Ridder to step in!
post #22 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StopGo211 View Post
I agree that a ski train isn't the cure-all solution for all of I-70's problems. But your logic is a little circular. Why not build it if it will alleviate some of the gridlock? I think your point is better aimed at the idea of widening freeways to add more lanes. All that does is encourage more people to drive it. But a solid public transportation option isn't the same thing. One big positive would be to give people an option who really aren't good at driving in snow/ice, and end up causing accidents.

I'm a lot more optimistic about the success of public transportation than you I guess. Interesting topic for sure since there is no magic solution.
Superb analysis! And you are correct that widening the lanes will give people a false sense of confidence. I've seen out of towners skid straight across a wide driveway.

You know, having traveled all through Europe, Asia, South America and the Middle East, I find that the lack of high speed rail service in the U.S is somewhat ironic. Even odder, working for the history society and knowing the history of the railroad in Breckenridge, it's a bit weird that we could have a railroad that went over Boreas Pass during the three month snowstorm of 1898-99, but we can't have one now.
post #23 of 40
I think a rail line makes a lot of sense whenever a great many travelers are concentrated along a single corridor and headed for a limited number of destination "nodes". The environmental impact to construct it will likely be less than widening the I-70 corridor to accomodate more traffic. The air pollution and energy consumption to run it will be less. Wouldn't it be great to fly into Denver and Not have to rent a car and drive through traffic in winter conditions to get to the Colorado ski areas? I would accuse its opponents inversely of "hidebound 1950s thinking".
post #24 of 40
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
I think a rail line makes a lot of sense whenever a great many travelers are concentrated along a single corridor and headed for a limited number of destination "nodes". The environmental impact to construct it will likely be less than widening the I-70 corridor to accomodate more traffic. The air pollution and energy consumption to run it will be less. Wouldn't it be great to fly into Denver and Not have to rent a car and drive through traffic in winter conditions to get to the Colorado ski areas? I would accuse its opponents inversely of "hidebound 1950s thinking".
AMEN! Especially since you can go car free in Summit.
post #25 of 40
i forgot to mention the secondary effects of increasing the capacity of the I-70 corridor to handle more traffic:the necessity of increased capacity of interchanges, increasing the capacity of secondary roads to handle the additional traffic, increased number and size of parking lots at destinations,not to mention the increase in air pollution in these mountain valleys with their inversion layers. None of these are things you would like to see more of in an area whose physical beauty and environmental attributes are the primary reason they are travel destinations. A rail line, by contrast, is a bit analogous to a one or two lane road that can handle a high volume of travelers without any (or at least without most) of the associated secondary requirements. Even the far less amount of air pollution in the mountains caused by the relatively fewer locomotive engines (vs autos)could be held to a minimum by electrifying the line. Looking at it that way, from an overall economic as well as from pollution impacts, it would be foolhardy (or at least hidebound) to consider any further increase in I-70 capacity. It will be difficult to divert the transportation authorities from their interstate highway thinking. These folks cut their teeth on that one form of transportation. Its almost the only thing they've known and resorting to the same old solution, however impractical, expensive or self defeating is almost a reflex for them. Think of Boston's "Big Dig" for an especially absurd example of these folks at work. These people pretty much control all the transportation money which is why fighting them will be the hardest part of this.
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by oisin View Post
I would accuse its opponents inversely of "hidebound 1950s thinking".
IMO, the train might be a good solution for some of the weekend ski traffic but there's no traffic problem the other five days a week. It is really wise to spend billions on a train so that "maybe" car traffic is reduced two days/week, four months/year ? If the train does take some cars off the road on sat/sun during ski season, I think the road will quickly fill up with more cars. So the traffic will be the same, just more people in the mountains.

Imagine the security nightmare as people bring ski gear, kayaks, bikes, camping gear, liquids, etc on a train. Think security at DIA is bad?

Those bringing up dogs, guns, 4-wheelers, jeeps, etc, will still have to drive.

IMO, the train will never happen. If they're going to bore the pass, two lanes of HOV would be better.
post #27 of 40
There is no source for funding for it, but millions of $ will be wasted on endless "studies" which will provide jobs for consultants, which will never have to get anything to actually work. If you think advanced technology is so great, the rocket-science United Airlines Denver airport baggage handling system burned through several hundred million dollars before being trashed.
post #28 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by breckview View Post
IMO, the train might be a good solution for some of the weekend ski traffic but there's no traffic problem the other five days a week. It is really wise to spend billions on a train so that "maybe" car traffic is reduced two days/week, four months/year ? If the train does take some cars off the road on sat/sun during ski season, I think the road will quickly fill up with more cars. So the traffic will be the same, just more people in the mountains.

Imagine the security nightmare as people bring ski gear, kayaks, bikes, camping gear, liquids, etc on a train. Think security at DIA is bad?

Those bringing up dogs, guns, 4-wheelers, jeeps, etc, will still have to drive.

IMO, the train will never happen. If they're going to bore the pass, two lanes of HOV would be better.
Have you ridden a train lately? There's virtually no security on Amtrak lines (at least those in Colorado and further west). I do think it's very worthwile to try to fix the weekend traffic problem on I-70. It's so bad it gives me flashbacks to LA Freeways. Any widening of I-70 without being combined with other solutions would be a really bad move, like putting a band aid on someone gushing blood. And you know, as much as many locals hate the idea of more people traveling in the mountains, more people=more money for the Colorado economy.

A few years ago I worked at an International Hostel, and the one thing I heard from virtually all Europeans was the shock at how poor the public transit system is in the US. It was a foreign concept to them that you couldn't hop on a train after landing at the airport and get to virtually wherever you want.
post #29 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by StopGo211 View Post
There's virtually no security on Amtrak lines (at least those in Colorado and further west).
I'm no expert but I'd think that a train like this would be a big target for terrorists and would require a similar level of security to airports. You wouldn't believe the security issues going on right now in the county with the Dillion Dam.

Quote:
And you know, as much as many locals hate the idea of more people traveling in the mountains, more people=more money for the Colorado economy.
I'd think that more throughput on I70 would mean more front rangers which destination skiers (who spend money) strongly dislike.

Quote:
... and the one thing I heard from virtually all Europeans was the shock at how poor the public transit system is in the US.
They're lucky that their cities and transportation systems weren't designed in the automobile age.
post #30 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by breckview View Post
They're lucky that their cities and transportation systems weren't designed in the automobile age.
It's interesting how people always like to point to European public transport as the shining example of what we should be like in the US. I lived in Germany for 4 years and in Switzerland for 2 years. I went without a car for the 2 years in Switzerland and for the first year in Germany...and it SUCKED! Almost all the locals I knew either owned a car or made sure to have access to one (some by begging me for the keys to mine). Let me give some details:

1) My commute-to-work choices in Germany
a) Bus + train + bus = 45 minutes if you catch it perfectly
b) Bus + bus = 30 minutes if you catch it perfectly
c) Bicycle = 20 minutes any time
d) Car = 10 minutes any time (and climate controled)

2) My wife's commute-to-work choices in Germany
a) Bus + train + train + bus = 120 minutes if you catch it perfectly
b) This one's a little hazy in the memory, but I think she could take a number of different bus routes and if the timing worked perfectly she should get there in an hour...if she missed one, it was more than 2 hours.
c) Car = 20 minutes almost any time (traffic could mess it up...I think the worst for her was about 45 minutes in the car)

3) My commute-to-work choices in Switzerland
a) Bus = 30 minutes if you catch it perfectly
b) Bicycle = 20 minutes any time
c) Car = 10 minutes any time

4) Going shopping
a) Yeah...carrying your groceries on the bus sucks.
b) Carrying something bulky is impossible.
c) Car wins massively here...you can go when you want to go, where you want to go, faster, and carry something home easily.

OK...I hear you asking...what about longer journeys? How bout going on vacation, or going somewhere for the weekend? Well, any time we did anything out of town we found that a car was more convenient, faster AND cheaper (by quite a bit usually, even with the very high gas prices over there + the cost of renting a car) than trains. Not only were train trips more expensive, they were often a pain, with lots of connections in weird places at weird times of day. There were times when plane tickets were actually cheaper and of course didn't have nearly the number of connections. If you worked real hard at it, you could lower the train cost if you picked the exact right times to go...but it was such a pain to figure out that it wasn't worth it.

So, I would say that if you're going to try to propose public transport in the US, don't point to Europe and say, "Let's be like them!" Not only are the systems over there not that great, they are dealing with much smaller distances than we typically deal with in the US. If you look at the US cities with the most effective public transport systems, they are the ones that are highly compact (mostly in the northeast). Even in Chicago, a city that really came into its prime due to rail, public transport times/convenience vs. the horrible traffic are still not all that favorable (e.g. when you're late to a meeting, you drive).

Again, I don't know what the correct solution is for the I-70 corridor...but if it's a train, don't think that the European models will automagically fix things here...they don't even work that well over there.

The thing with public transport that is undeniably sucky is that you have to fix your schedule to theirs, and once you get to your destination, you have little to no flexibility. The suggestion about a car-train is interesting though...at least you get the flexibility at your destination back. I'd wonder how many people you could pack into one train that way though...it might make it too inefficient at moving lots of people.

Anyway, I'm in principle a supporter of public transport...I just have very rarely seen implementations that I want to use regularly. I think this attitude matches the vast majority of Americans who don't live in a very compact urban center (and even many of them would rather use their car if something could be done about traffic/parking issues). So I'd guess it's going to be really hard to come up with something that people will really use...

Does anyone have usage statistics on the Winter Park ski train as compared to total skier visits to WP?
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