Worried about Glenwood Canyon closures? Consider Amtrak | PostIndependent.com

Worried about Glenwood Canyon closures? Consider Amtrak

Westbound Amtrak California Zephyr passengers arrive at their destination at the Glenwood Springs station on the afternoon of June 29.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

So far, Amtrak services have gone unhindered by recent debris flows through Glenwood Canyon — and might be a viable alternative for those worried about interstate closures while traveling from Denver to Glenwood Springs.

“We’re in constant communication with Union Pacific, who owns the tracks from Glenwood Springs to Denver,” said Marc Magliari, Amtrak spokesman.

“They’re letting us know what the conditions are, but right now we’re operating, and we will be as much as possible.”

Magliari said if something occurs where Amtrak cannot operate, ticketed passengers will be notified, sales will be blocked and substitute transportation will be arranged when it’s required and available.

Robynn Tysver, spokeswoman for Union Pacific Railroad, said the company acts to strengthen their network’s resilience from the potential effects of extreme weather events, such as blizzards, floods and hurricanes, which could lead to slower train speeds, service interruptions, track damage and recovery costs.

“We have emergency response procedures, which include moving required resources to regions likely to be affected,” Tysver said.

“If Interstate 70 is closed, then there would be no available substitute transportation,” Magliari said. “It really will depend on their situation at the time, should it come to that.”

Lisa Langer, director of tourism and promotion for Visit Glenwood Springs, said Amtrak delivers dozens of guests daily to Glenwood Springs via the California Zephyr from both east and west routes.

“With an ever-changing range of traffic issues on Interstate 70, the train is an excellent alternative to driving,” Langer said. “Although train traffic is heaviest in summer months, the year-round availability of this route is very important to Glenwood Springs and brings guests to us throughout the seasons.”

Debra and Allen Frost, of Moab, Utah, said they were held up on I-70 last year due to wildfires.

So how were the Frosts planning to get back home from Glenwood Springs on Friday? Amtrak.

“We were coming back from visiting our kids. We had to go through all the crazy mountainous roads and had to take all the windy passes,” Debra Frost said.

“We passed two semi trucks that had tipped over on those little roads, because they’re so narrow,” Allen Frost added.

The Frosts both commented that their Amtrak experience so far had been wonderful, noting the only hiccup was a roughly 90-minute delay.

Reporter Shannon Marvel can be reached at 605-350-8355 or smarvel@postindependent.com.

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