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Glenwood Springs Amtrak station state’s second busiest

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Vail CO, Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentAn Amtrak passenger train pulls into the train station in Glenwood Springs on Wednesday afternoon. The train station in Glenwood Springs ranks as the second busiest station in Colorado by rider volume.
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GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” More than 32,000 people got on or off a train in Glenwood Springs last year, making the city’s train station the second busiest in the state, according to Amtrak’s fiscal report for 2007.

Denver was No. 1 in Colorado and Grand Junction’s train station came in at No. 3, according to Amtrak. Glenwood recorded 32,697 boarding and arrivals last year, behind Denver’s tally of 123,273. Grand Junction saw 25,115 boardings and arrivals.

Overall, Amtrak’s train service saw 208,552 passengers in Colorado in 2007.

Glenwood’s numbers were 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 is served by two long-distance, east-west train routes ” the California Zephyr, which runs through major metropolitan areas from Chicago to Denver to Emeryville, Calif. and serves the Glenwood station; and the Southwest Chief, which runs from Chicago, through Kansas City, La Junta and Trinidad, Colo., to Albuquerque, N.M. and Los Angeles. It doesn’t serve Glenwood.

Of the two lines, the Zephyr sees the higher use and smaller cities along its route often see high numbers of travelers, Magliari said.

“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.”

Whitefish, Mont. has a population of 6,700, but the town is the gateway to Glacier National Park, a popular northern destination. The Whitefish Amtrak station saw more than double Glenwood’s ridership, with 66,922 passengers in 2007.

However, compared to other states served by the California Zephyr, Glenwood 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 Glenwood Springs tallied.

Colorado’s allure is part of the reason for Glenwood’s high humbers, said Magliari, crediting the state’s majestic scenery for high ticket sales along the route.

In addition, Glenwood Springs arrivals and departures are scheduled in the afternoon, while nighttime departures and arrivals are typical in Grand Junction and Salt Lake City, he noted.

“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.”


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