Best route for high-speed rail: Bypass downtown Springs

Filed under: Daily News |

An 18-month study for the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority says the most feasible option would have passengers pay about $40, or an average of about 35 cents a mile, for one-way trips from downtown Denver to Vail on the Interstate 70 corridor or from Denver to Pueblo in the I-25 corridor.

But, Colorado Springs residents who may have wistfully dreamed of sleek passenger trains departing every 30 minutes from downtown’s core may be disappointed.

The proposed route would bypass downtown.

Stops are planned at Woodmen near Powers and at Colorado Springs Airport.

The study says the bypass is intended to avoid  conflict with freight lines.

Still, the study went on to say that the economic benefits of such a rail investment are considerable.

“While the costs of implementing high‐speed rail are large,” the study noted, “as would be expected, given the mountainous conditions in the I‐70 corridor ($16 billion to $21 billion for service in both corridors), analysis indicates that investing in high‐speed rail would generate an impressive $33 billion of benefits to Colorado. These benefits are generated by the rapid growth of the state and its need to accommodate a doubling of its population over the next 30‐40 years.”

If built, the recommended system is estimated to carry nearly 35 million passengers annually and generate more than $750 million in revenue by 2035.

The detailed plan is available at

15 Responses to Best route for high-speed rail: Bypass downtown Springs

  1. Where are our local elected reps in Denver on this one??

    This plan is unacceptable. If the high-speed rail can be routed through downtown Denver then it can also be routed through downtown Colorado Springs. To circumvent the city’s downtown core and business district makes no sense whatsoever.

    March 30, 2010 at 9:08 am

  2. Liam:

    The top priority locally is infighting between parties.
    The number of local ‘leadership groups’ producing no leaders should answer your question.
    There is no direction or long term planning.
    We are currently in a leadership vacuum.
    National press is noticing.
    The locals are not.

    Rick Wehner
    March 30, 2010 at 10:16 am

  3. Powers?

    From Old Colorado City it would be faster to drive to Vail from the Westside right up US24!

    Dave Hughes
    March 30, 2010 at 11:10 am

  4. Simply astounding, that our downtown could be excluded from this kind of service…am I naive to think that this is being considered by City of Colorado Springs? Economic Development Council? Convention & Visitor’s Bureau?

    March 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm

  5. Once again we manage to get overlooked and under-appreciated. We should start over fresh and name the city “werenotthatimportant, CO”. At least then we’d be honest with ourselves…

    Bob Blaw Law
    March 30, 2010 at 12:25 pm

  6. council (MOSTLY WEEVERA) gave a big efu to rail when bus system wanted to build new terminal. used terms sim to not needed, rail not in future…

    joanne peterson
    March 30, 2010 at 12:28 pm

  7. I’m glad that they did the study, but it is ridiculous to bypass downtown Colorado Springs! The ridership is going to come from the people who live in or around downton, not the suburbs. I hope our City did not encourage this in a poor attempt to boost the Colorado Springs Airport. More short-sighted decisions are being made and it is very disappointing.

    John W. Olson
    March 30, 2010 at 12:42 pm

  8. As Ed Duffy’s youtube video portrays maybe the Springs is second fiddle to the Springs. But at least the Simpson’s town of Springfield all got behind the project. DOH!

    March 30, 2010 at 12:57 pm

  9. Doesn’t this presuppose that continued rail freight traffic (ie. coal trains) will continue to run on the existing rail lines without any scaling down in the future?

    My hope would be that alternative energy sources would be the saving of our city, the greening of our state, and include the existing rail lines to be upgraded and used for high speed transportation along the front range as dirty coal energy is discarded. To have a new line go out to OUR airport is just ridiculous, too. It will never be a major airport.

    Our leaders are being too shortsighted to see the benefits of having a high speed railway close to downtown. It would be just the ticket to boost our core downtown area, which as everyone knows, is the major factor in determining how healthy and vital a city truly is. They should be working hard to change this plan, if indeed, it ever happens.

    March 30, 2010 at 1:24 pm

  10. A possible solution:


    For the first time in fifty years, I have seen local elected officials decisions become alarming to the poiint where significant, non-partisan members of the community stand up, take notice and propose action.

    We have Mr. Bartolin and Mr. Fowler concerned enough to offer, at their expense to review accounting procedures. We have Chuck Murphy sufficiently concerned over the need to have a revision from council-manager to a strong manager form of city government in order to ensure accountabillity, we have another group looking at a merger of the county with the city to ensure we lose no further services.

    The public can only choose to elect from among those who choose to run. We have been forced, in many cases, to choose what might be the lesser of two evils, ie: Sallie Clark or Lionel Rivera for Mayor and we can see that has not worked out! We have wound up with Tom Huffman, Betty Beedy, Chuck Brown and Doug Bruce.

    In November,we are going to have to choose among many county term-limited county officials jut moving from one elected office to the next. The same ones responsible for the tax structure that has crippled the local revenue stream creating today’s local financial crisis and leaving half a billion dollars worth of infrastructure needs unmet.

    Judging by who has announced to run, the well seems to have run dry and we have a plethora of the same career politicians running.

    In order to overcome the lack of qualified people running for office, perhaps we can form, from within the private sector, the business community, a REGIONAL ADVISORY BOARD.

    Yes. Take one or two members from each of the 100 or so ‘leadership’ groups and planning groups and form a review board that will be responsible for reviewing each and every decision made by city or county officials before action is taken.

    A group that will exist for the sole purpose of providing the planning expertise that is not present with the current crop of officials. A group that is in existance on a year round basis and one that will be able to ensure stability as ‘administrations’ change from one group to another.

    This is the only way I see that the ‘regionalism, coordination, and cooperation’ that has been brought up in so many civic meetings can happen.

    The question is which member of all the groups has the testosterone to stand up and call for the formation of a private review board to supervise what has been, to date, a lack of performance from the city and the county?

    With such a group, we might have the advance knowlwedge to address matters such as a proposed lightrail bypassing the city downtown! Might even get past cleavage and marijuana and start dealing with substantative issues.

    Rick Wehner
    March 30, 2010 at 1:33 pm

  11. The study chose the eastern bypass route because the RR rights of way that run through the city are used by the coal trains that service our city power plants, as well cities to the south. Moving those tracks to eastern Colorado might be feasible, but not as long as we need coal to provide power-and I doubt whether we’ll phase out coal in my lifetime.

    Oth, I’m really old…

    John Hazlehurst
    March 30, 2010 at 3:51 pm

  12. And of course all the people in the 60’s who said we would never be able to get to the moon had to be moved out of the way of the people getting there.

    Rick Wehner
    March 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm

  13. The City of Denver is undergoing a savage financial experience with their Rapid Transit District program, which is 1) A huge financial disaster, completely out of control, and many times over budget. 2) The Denver RTD is wildly short of riders. Ridership is 90% below projections. In english, they have to increase ridership by 1000% to get close to their passenger projections.

    The City of Colorado Springs is undergoing a savage financial experience with our silly programs, like spending $54 million to build 20 private offices for the USOC.

    The State of Colorado is dangerously over budget and experiencing major financial shortfalls. 48 out of 50 states in the United States are in the same boat.

    Apparently, the answer to these financial problems is a government sponsored fantasy island project that has literally NO CHANCE of working.

    There is NOT ONE single passenger rail system anywhere in the world that is even close to breaking even. None make money. There are significant problems with the european rail systems, and they need three dollars of subsidies for every dollar they get from riders. And the non-riders are starting to complain about having to bear the costs. Let’s hope they try to build it from Denver to Vail. Then we can make the ski resorts pretend to pay for it.

    March 30, 2010 at 8:50 pm

  14. As stated in the article:

    It is important to note that, as a feasibility study, this study does not make any absolute decisions. Its focus is to determine if feasible options exist and warrant additional analysis. Future studies (e.g. a State Rail Plan, a local transit integration plan and necessary environmental clearance studies) will be responsible for making the ultimate decisions about alignments, technologies, station locations, financing approaches and implementation schedules. Therefore, it is important to recognize that the options analyzed in this report are not the only options that should be reviewed in future studies.

    Sounds as if the powers to be need to get moving

    John Hauber
    March 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm