GLENWOOD SPRINGS — Amtrak passenger trains will be resuming service on Saturday along the Moffat Tunnel route, which carries freight and passenger trains between Denver, Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction, according to an announcement on Thursday.
The Union Pacific Railroad had repaired and reopened its tracks between Denver and Grand Junction to rail traffic earlier this week, according to UP spokeswoman Calli Hite in Chicago. But passenger travel over those tracks was placed on hold, she said, while the railroad cleared out a backlog of freight deliveries that had stacked up since floods washed out the tracks on Sept. 11.
Since the washouts, Amtrak has been sending people westward from Denver by chartered bus, to reach stations at Fraser-Winter Park, Granby, Glenwood Springs, and Grand Junction in Colorado, as well as Green River, Helper and Provo in Utah.
On Thursday, a Woody Creek woman was the sole west-bound passenger in the station. As she prepared to hop onto the bus sitting on Seventh Street next to the station, she said she wished the timing of the resumption of service had been different.
“I wish I was taking the train,” said Deanne Vitrac-Kessler, 48, who originally was from the South of France.
“You know, they have this one car that is all glass [the observation car], and is so beautiful,” she continued, “I wanted to ride in that car.”
Known as America’s Railroad, the passenger service does not own most of the tracks over which the trains run, including the Colorado tracks that were washed out by the recent floods. Amtrak instead leases time on those tracks from the actual owners, which in the case of Colorado is Union Pacific.
Amtrak apologized for “any inconvenience” to passengers, according to a statement issued by spokesman Marc Magliari, who added that Amtrak California Zephyr trains will be leaving their home stations in Chicago and Emeryville, Calif., today.
According to Amtrak, it set a record for passenger numbers in 2012, when more than 31 million travelers rode on more than 300 daily trains around the country, including high-speed services operated by partners of Amtrak.
Rail travel connects 46 states in the U.S. as well as the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces.
Information about Amtrak is available at www.amtrak.com, or on Facebook and Twitter.