Throughout the 1950s and 1960s,
the Ski Train was youth-oriented dominated by the Eskimo Ski Club, whose
members ranged in age from 7 to 17.
Today, many older Denver natives credit the Ski Train and the Eskimo Ski
Club for introducing them to skiing.
The 1980s brought hard times to
the Ski Train. Ridership steadily
declined, and the 1915 vintage railcars began to show their age. In 1988, Ansco Investment Company, a
Denver-based company, acquired the train with its purchase by its parent
company of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad.
Under the management of Ansco
Investment Company, the New Ski Train was born. The old cars were sold to the Napa Valley Railroad Co. (now the
Napa Valley Wine Train) and replaced by "Tempo" cars purchased from Canada. A new business plan aimed to rejuvenate the
train in all respects complete with upgraded cars, improved customer service,
a computerized ticket system and the introduction of Club class and luxury
private car service.
Ski Train ridership doubled the
first year and tripled the second. The Denver Partnership awarded the Ski Train the Downtown Award of Honor
for this unique fifty-year downtown mainstay and its vital linkage between the
City Center and Colorado mountains.
The Ski Train aptly dubed
itself a Denver Tradition for Generations, and each year introduced a new
generation of skiers not just to the joys of skiing, but to the joys of
traveling by train, as well. They had such great winter success, they
expanded to operate Saturdays in the Summer!
The Ski Train made
is final run to Winter Park on March 29, 2009
The Ski Train
been sold to
Algoma Central Railway Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian National Railway.
The Ski Train has
operated at a consistent loss over 21 years. Profitability had never been
the controlling issue with the Ski Train. However, more recently it had
faced additional, serious challenges including, escalating costs - particularly
liability coverage; operational conflicts with freight traffic, substantial
uncertainties posed by redevelopment of Denver's Union Station; as well as
long-term impacts resulting from the nation's economic crisis in 2009.
Regrettably, the Ski Train could no longer be operated under these conditions.
Thanks Denver for 69 years!
Amtrak has announced the return of rail service to Winter Park Resort as the Winter Park Express!
Begun in 1940, the Ski Train has
a history of over 69 years of regular, scheduled trips to Winter Park Resort.
The last trip was March 29, 2009.
14 passenger cars
class, one retreat class, three Club Car class; two Cafe Lounge cars). Transports 750 passengers, the largest capacity of any scheduled
passenger train in the U.S.
over one-quarter mile.
From Denvers Union Station,
the 56 mile route heads west through northwest suburban Denver and then
generally parallel to South Boulder Creek, past Pinecliffe and Rollinsville. The route climbs about 4,000
feet and passes through 28 tunnels before reaching the final mountain
underpass, the 6.2 mile long Moffat Tunnel.
It is the highest railroad tunnel in the United States and passes under
the Continental Divide. The train stops
less than 100 yards from the base of the ski lifts of Winter Park.
A little over two hours approximately the same time as
by car from central Denver to Winter Park via Berthoud Pass, with clear
roads. (56 miles by rail; 67 miles by
*The SKI TRAIN by Steve Patterson
& Kenton Forrest
An excellent comprehensive book about the Ski
Train and its history.
COLORADO RAILROAD MUSEUM;
P.O. Box 10; Golden, CO 80402
*Published by Tramway Press, Inc;
3611 Newton Street; Denver, CO 80211