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Is There a Ski Train in Summit County's Future? - Page 2

post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by breckview View Post
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.


I'd think that more throughput on I70 would mean more front rangers which destination skiers (who spend money) strongly dislike.


They're lucky that their cities and transportation systems weren't designed in the automobile age.
The entire rail system as a whole is extremely vulnerable and there's been relatively no attempts at beefing up security. I really don't see it having any more security than subway stations (which are far more of a target). But that's definately debatable.

Destination skiers would love to have an easy transportation option out of Denver instead of having to rent a car or deal with shuttles. The easier you make it for people, the more money they'll spend.

And really, the effectiveness of the rail system in Europe has nothing to do with when their cities/transportation systems were designed. It has to do with their commitment to providing a vital service to the public. European countries are constantly upgrading and improving public transportation. Riding an Amtrak train is liking taking a trip back in time (and by no means in a good way). I used to ride Amtrak a lot and I never once rode a train that arrived on time.
post #32 of 40
Thread Starter 
I take surveys at Copper, and many of our former season pass holders have switched to four packs. The main reason is surprising. In most cases, it has noting to do with elevated price of season passes. It has more to do with the price of gas and parking, and even more to do with the amount of accidents that happen on the road, that end up killing half a day of skiing.

Contrary to popular belief, the tie ups don't only happen on the weekends. I had two three-hour rides from Breckenridge to Dillon, and both have been mid-week. As far as the trains in Europe are concerned, I have to respectfully disagree. I went to school in Perugia, Italy, and I found the trains to be a godsend. We also traveled overnight from France to Italy, which was incredibly convenient. I guess if you've spent most of your life in NYC or Boston, you're not quite so fragile that you are bothered by a 30-minute train ride. Suburbanites tend to be quite concerned about their creature comforts.

What about the idea that a new rail line can create new jobs? Is that not important?

Widening the highways is like widening the trails without fixing the lifts. What good is it if you can't get there from here? And besides, anything that encourages incapable drivers to drive in winter conditions is a very bad thing.
post #33 of 40
It certainly seems like a good idea to improve public transit options in a heavily-traveled, dangerous corridor. One way of distributing options would be from cheapest and least convenient to most expensive and most convenient. People who value convenience pay more; those who are willing to put up with a little hassle pay less.

For example, one might dissuade clueless tourists from sliding sideways across the freeway by offering an inexpensive train (or bus) option, and pay for it with a high toll on I-70. Or require ski resorts to charge exorbitant prices for parking. CO residents could pay a reduced toll or get cheaper parking.

There are lots of other approaches. Highway on-ramps could be metered, only allowing a certain number of vehicles on the road at one time. Bus passengers could be offered discounted storage for their gear at the resort; or lift line cutting privileges; or reserve the first chairs for people who took the train.

I'm not saying any of these approaches is the right one. But with the right mix of incentives and options, it should be possible to make driving a less attractive option and public transit a more attractive one, thus reducing traffic and improving safety on I-70, while maintaining or increasing skier numbers at the resorts.
post #34 of 40
I just slogged through this whole thread. Now I will admit I did not read the article. I can remember being stuck once between Denver and Silverthorne, that was traffic related and not weather related, only because I come and go at hours that are not typical for the rest of the world using I-70. Something does need to be done between Breckenridge and Frisco.

I am a bit amazed that no one has viewed this thing from a perspective of those who are not from CO, except Oisin who mentioned flying into Denver and possibly taking the train vs renting a car. Great idea.......but.

For all the years I worked in Summit If I had a dollar from all the people I met that drove in for their weeks vacation I'd be a very rich man. In order to use this train, all these folks would drive into Denver (?) and hop on a train . I don't think so.

The security issues have already been addressed as have what I would personally like to take a picture of......everybody loading with all their gear. (Not you local and Denverites, but all the once a year tourists.) Now that would be a funny scene.

You are not going to take the American public out of their cars.

People may carpool if they are local (meaning Denver or Summit County) but other than that, families that ski most of the areas in and around Summit County generally hit Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek. If they drive in from the plains states they won't park in Denver and get on a train. If they fly in, odds are they will rent a car so they have the freedom to do what they want in ski country and plan to visit different areas and aren't aware or want to use the local transprotation. After all, they aren't coming to ski as much as have a vacation. They will all still drive sideways when they aren't stuck or moving 9 mph.

Any guesses how full this train will be from mid-April through early December? By the way, all you CME drivers, better start job hunting if they build a train.
post #35 of 40
The worst traffic jam I endured on I-70 had nothing to do with snow, skiing, or winter: it was a rockslide that closed I-70WB for miles. I'd just moved to Dillon 2 months prior and only knew 1 way home from DIA. It took 7 hours, driving a manual transmission car with an ankle still in PT. Guess how long it took me to find alternative routes home after that?!

I doubt the ski train will ever happen. Too expensive, too many unknowns, and let's face it: we like our cars and we will go when and where we want to go. And just because the car you drive has CO plates doesn't mean you know how to drive in snowy conditions.
post #36 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie View Post
Widening the highways is like widening the trails without fixing the lifts. What good is it if you can't get there from here? And besides, anything that encourages incapable drivers to drive in winter conditions is a very bad thing.
The questions nobody ever seems to want to answer are:

What will the construction costs be?

What will the operational costs be?

What will it's utilization as a percent of its capacity be? Not only during ski and prime summer season but during the rest of the year?

Will it financially self sufficient or require subsidies?

Who will fund the bonds necessary for construction costs? The state, the Denver area, Clear Creek, Summit and Eagle Counties?

How will visitors who arrive by train get around within the counties-for example, how would you get to a trail head in summer?

On and on. While the idea is intriguing there are so many detailed questions that need to be explored and answered.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisamarie View Post
As far as the trains in Europe are concerned, I have to respectfully disagree. I went to school in Perugia, Italy, and I found the trains to be a godsend. We also traveled overnight from France to Italy, which was incredibly convenient. I guess if you've spent most of your life in NYC or Boston, you're not quite so fragile that you are bothered by a 30-minute train ride. Suburbanites tend to be quite concerned about their creature comforts.
I would dare say that the majority of people tying up I-70 did not spend most of their lives in NYC or Boston and are people who enjoy their creature comforts. So, while it would be great if there were a heavily used train that took pressure off the interstate, I doubt if people would choose it.

BTW, during your time in Italy did you ever own a car? Did you ever have a job or any other activity that required you to absolutely be at a certain location ASAP (students with few responsibilities aren't going to feel the pinch of public transport)? When I was dealing with European public transport, I found that not having any other option helps keep your attitude toward the trains positive. Where I worked, someone had to be on-call 24/7 to go into work and fix broken electronics. Public transport was so useless my boss had to lease a car and give it to whoever was on-call. Once we got used to having a car available, people would actually willingly trade getting called at 3am for having a car at their disposal.

Anyway, I ask again...what is the usage on the Winter Park ski train? I would think the answer to this question would be very instructive for those thinking about a Summit ski train. I haven't found any usage statistics online but in looking at the schedule and fares their website, I'm guessing the people using it isn't a huge of a fraction of skiers visiting WP. http://www.skitrain.com/winter.html Their reservations page indicates a fair amount of sold-out days...but since it's only one trip a day w/ max 750 passengers, it can't be a huge number of people being taken off the roads... Why is there only one trip a day? Is it that they can't sell out more trips due to lack of demand?
post #38 of 40
Thread Starter 
LOL! I lost 10 pounds that summer, because the buses were infrequent, but at least I knew that they were available. Then again, I am more than willing to admit that having spent most of my life in Manhattan, my perspective is a bit different. You'd have to be out of your mind to own a car there. In fact, I never even bothered to learn to drive until I knew I was moving here.

You know how we pass driving tests in Boston? Start car, signal , drive 20mph uphill, signal, turn, signal , stop. That's it. Once I moved here, I decided that I had enough love and respect for my fellow human beings to avoid inflicting myself on them on the road. I wish that more visitors felt the same way. When I see someone skidding about the road, I have to wonder about their sense of control on the slopes.
post #39 of 40
I should think that if this train could use existing rail lines tied to bus shuttles to the various destination resorts that it would be a reasonable and appealing option for skiing vacationers who fly in to Denver. If a reasonable and cost effective scheme could be devised it would be a boon to the Colorado resort business and probably a a good alternative to widening the I70 corridor if traffic volume has increased to the extent that that becomes necessary. The real payback of such a scheme lies in not having to increase the width, the interchanges and the other changes required to handle increased volume on the secondary roads, not to mention the added parking lots. The biggest downside, if you can call it that, would be an increase in the numbers of people vacationing in the area. The best way to approach this is in the context of transportation and economic planning IMO.

As for driving in the mountains; I have a lasting image etched in my memory of the experience, as a passenger of a van crossing Loveland Pass, of the yawning drop off passing repeatedly before my eyes as the vehicle rotated in both lanes of the snowpacked road. Colorado drivers and Loveland Pass! You don't know how lucky you are to have the tunnel.
post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarCube View Post
The worst traffic jam I endured on I-70 had nothing to do with snow, skiing, or winter: it was a rockslide that closed I-70WB for miles. I'd just moved to Dillon 2 months prior and only knew 1 way home from DIA. It took 7 hours, driving a manual transmission car with an ankle still in PT. Guess how long it took me to find alternative routes home after that?!

I doubt the ski train will ever happen. Too expensive, too many unknowns, and let's face it: we like our cars and we will go when and where we want to go. And just because the car you drive has CO plates doesn't mean you know how to drive in snowy conditions.
That the one that had three separate slides? If so that was my first time ever in CO, whipped the map out and saw I could go through RMNP, noticed I was just coming around the corner to the central city parkway exit and had a really nice drive through the mountains on surprisingly empty roads and still got to WP hours before the first people made it through. Hows that for luck? At least the worst of the CO drivers are nice enough to label themselves with those transplant, native and local stickers.
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