Glenwood Springs Amtrak station state’s 2nd busiest |

Glenwood Springs Amtrak station state’s 2nd busiest

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/ Post Independent

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Trains are a frequent site in Glenwood Springs.

According to the Amtrak fiscal year 2007 report for Colorado, Glenwood Springs was the second most used train station in the state between No. 1 Denver and No. 3 Grand Junction. Glenwood recorded 32,697 boarding and alightings (or arrivals) behind Denver with 123,273 during 2007. Grand Junction, in third, had 25,115.

Colorado overall saw 208,552 Amtrak passengers in 2007.

It’s nothing out of the ordinary according to Amtrak media relations manager Marc Magliari.

“We see strong business in Glenwood consistently,” Magliari said. “It’s a popular destination but it’s also a gateway to places in Colorado beyond Glenwood like Aspen and Grand Junction.”

Colorado has two long-distance train routes running east and west; The California Zephyr, which runs through major metropolitan areas from Chicago, Denver, to Emeryville, Calif.. And the Southwest Chief, which runs from Chicago, through Kansas City, La Junta and Trinidad, Colo. and Albuquerque, N.M., to Los Angeles.

Of the two lines, the Zephyr has the highest use of the two and includes all three of the state’s top stops. It’s also not unusual for a smaller city, like Glenwood Springs, to see higher numbers of travelers at the train station.

“There are some places in Iowa along the same route with more ridership at the station than people in the city,” Magliari said. “We see that in a lot of places, like Glenwood, where the city is a gateway to a larger area.”

Cities like Whitefish, Mont., with a population of 6,700, the town is the gateway to Glacier National Park, which is a popular northern destination. The Whitefish Amtrak station saw nearly double Glenwood’s ridership, with 66,922 for 2007.

However, in comparison to other states that the California Zephyr runs through, Glenwood alone had more passengers than Salt Lake City (27,292), Omaha (25,982) and Lincoln, Neb., (11,937). The entire state of Utah recorded only 34,756 boarding and alightings, just 1,306 more than that of Glenwood Springs.

However, part of the reason for Glenwood’s high numbers is of no surprise to Magliari. He said the pure beauty of the route through some of Colorado’s most majestic scenery is the reason for high ticket sales along the route. And it’s that way for a reason.

Glenwood Springs arrivals and departures are scheduled in the afternoon, according to Magliari. Compared to Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, which are typically scheduled for nighttime departures and arrivals.

“The train schedule is built on the presumption that we want people to see how attractive the Glenwood area is, and it’s a lot easier to see in the daylight,” Magliari said. “It’s scheduled like that intentionally so people can see how gorgeous the mountains and waters of Colorado are.”

And that turns into high ticket sales along the route.

Magliari said the route is the fourth busiest east-west route from Chicago to the West Coast. From 2006 to 2007, the route jumped in ridership by 16 percent. Nationwide, Amtrak ridership was up 11 percent in May from October. The California Zephyr route was up 10 percent over the same time period.

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