Amtrak will roll in for Strawberry Days |

Amtrak will roll in for Strawberry Days

Jeremy HeimanSpecial to the Post Independentwith wire reports

Glenwood Springs business owners can heave a sigh of relief. Amtrak trains will be serving Glenwood Springs during Strawberry Days and the Fourth of July.Amtrak has announced a new schedule for maintenance work that will detour the California Zephyr away from Glenwood Springs, and none of the dates coincide with Glenwoods favorite town festival. But work on the Union Pacific tracks in and around the Moffat Tunnel west of Denver will still force the Zephyr to detour through Wyoming on several weekends throughout June and July.The work closures were originally scheduled to detour the train through Wyoming during Strawberry Days. This would have been particularly ironic, because the theme of this years Strawberry Days festival celebrates the 100th birthday of Glenwood Springs railroad station and the towns love affair with the railroad.Marianne Virgili, director of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said chamber marketing director Lori Hogan was in contact with Amtrak several times after the closures were announced, and worked with the railroad to develop a more suitable work schedule. She said the railroad was helpful throughout the process.Were really grateful for that, Virgili said. We appreciate that, on a busy tourist weekend, the trains will be running.Amtrak took Glenwood Springs economic well being into consideration, she said.Of course, wed prefer that the trains would be running every summer weekend, Virgili continued. But she said the chamber understands the need for periodic maintenance of the tracks.The new detour dates are from June 8-15, June 23-30, July 8-15 and July 23-30. Amtrak will provide bus service to connect passengers to and from Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction during the track closure dates. Zephyr schedules between Chicago and Denver and between Salt Lake City and the San Francisco Bay area will not be affected.The detour is needed to allow crews to replace 81,750 wooden railroad ties, each of which is nine feet long and weighs 285 pounds. The replacements will be on both the Denver and Winter Park approaches to the tunnel, as well as some within the 76-year-old structure.The ties made of fir, pine and oak may last 35 years outside and a bit longer inside the tunnel. During the closures, 325 railroad workers will exchange the railroad ties and replace 7 1/2 miles of curved track.The detours will occur June 8-15, June 23-30, July 8-15 and July 23-30.On those days, the California Zephyr will travel between Denver and Salt Lake City via a northern route through Wyoming, making no intermediate station stops.The detour will follow a portion of the original transcontinental Union Pacific route through Wyoming completed in 1869. While the scenery is less mountainous than the California Zephyrs regular routing, it offers broad vistas of the high plains and an opportunity to see pronghorn antelope and other wildlife.Service to Fraser, Winter Park and Granby, and to Green River, Helper, and Provo, Utah, will be suspended on the days of the trains detour. Passengers already ticketed to those stations are being notified of the service suspensions.Amtrak will also notify all passengers ticketed between Denver and Salt Lake City during the 32 days of the detour and/or the alternate transportation from Denver to and from Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction. Passengers will be offered tickets for travel on alternate days or refunds.Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext.

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