All aboard the Rocky Mountaineer
Glenwood Springs welcomes new travel attraction
This August, the Rocky Mountaineer luxury train will begin its debut season for the first American route. The vacation experience is called “Rockies to the Red Rocks,” and passengers can choose to board either in Denver or Moab, Utah for their two day voyage, with an overnight in Glenwood Springs.
“This journey will appeal to people looking for a comfortable, enjoyable way to experience the unique landscapes of Colorado and Utah,” Tessa Day, Communications Manager for Rocky Mountaineer, said.
The train will be stopping in Glenwood four nights a week. If passengers boarded in Denver, they’ll arrive around 5 p.m. but if they got on in Moab, it would be closer to 7 p.m. when they get to Glenwood. Lisa Langer, Director of Tourism Promotion, said she is thrilled to welcome the Rocky Mountaineer and its passengers to Glenwood Springs and hopefully make a good impression on them so they’ll want to return.
“You’ll have people with expendable income, walking around town trying to experience a place and whether they eat and drink, or whether they soak or whatever they do, they’re going to be those extra bodies on nights when there might not otherwise be people just walking around,” Langer said.
Plans for the train’s stop in Glenwood Springs started back in 2019 when the company reached out to the board of tourism to see if they’d be interested in being a part of the vacation experience. Initially the route was going to launch in 2022 or 2023, but because of COVID-19 the plans were able to be accelerated to the end of summer and fall of 2021. Langer said she was told The addition of a route through Colorado and Utah was meant to be what would “bring back tourism,” according to the Rocky Mountaineer team. The closest route to this new one is in Canada and due to the stricter COVID-19 restrictions there, train journeys as well as other attractions are currently closed.
“We have extensive health screening and disinfecting protocols in place, so guests can be confident and comfortable during their journey. This includes health screening prior to boarding each day and use of electrostatic disinfecting of the train. Our trains are also equipped with high-end air filtration systems that ensure a steady intake and circulation of fresh air and have filters that capture 99.9% of airborne particles,” Day said.
The train will only have observation cars for passengers to sit back and take in the scenic beauty of the route. While the drive up Interestate 70 from Denver into Glenwood offers breathtaking, natural views, the train will showcase parts of Glenwood Canyon and the mountains that can’t be seen by car. There will be gourmet cuisine served for breakfast and lunch, and tour guides telling stories about the history of the area so passengers can learn more about the sights they’re experiencing.
“More money will come into the community by way of taxes that will help improve other areas of the town… and think about the environment. It’s people not traveling on the highway, not using their vehicles…they’re going to see amazing scenery and they’re not going to be in their vehicle,” Langer said.
Langer also said she has plans to speak with business owners downtown and within walking distance of the train station so that when passengers arrive they can eat and shop locally in downtown Glenwood.
“We believe our guests will benefit the local tourism industry as they will be looking to experience local shops and restaurants during their stay,” Day said.
Tickets for the experience went on sale Nov. 19, 2020 andmany already have been purchased. Due to the one-way nature of the train route, individuals will not be able to board in Glenwood Springs, however it’s still expected to benefit the local tourist economy greatly.
“We’re hoping they end up coming back to Glenwood Springs and whether they do it right after this trip or right before this trip, at least they have seen Glenwood Springs, they have a taste for Glenwood Springs and they go, ‘wow this is a community that is really neat I want to come back here and spend more time.’”
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Another sign that things are returning to normal goes up on the grassy lawn at Two Rivers Park in Glenwood Springs Wednesday evening — with an eye toward a full return next summer.