Posts Tagged ‘travel by train’

The Amtrak Pioneer Line: Back From The Dead?

Squee #1 – Amtrak are considering reviving the Pioneer line which used to run between Denver and Seattle (discontinued 1997). Imagine that – Denver Union Station actually serving more than one long distance train route! Wouldn’t that be something? Just four years ago, I heard no common knowledge beyond “Rail travel is dying, enjoy it while you can.” I get wistful looking at those signs in the Union Station tunnel naming and dating all the routes that are no more. The idea of any Amtrak route being raised from the dead fills me with more delight than I can adequately express. And that the route under consideration serves the Denver area? Squee indeed!

Squee #2 – Boulder City Council are urging Amtrak officials to alter that old line a bit. The Pioneer used to run through Greeley, but considering all the local support surrounding FasTracks and the much-anticipated Boulder Transit Village, they suggest the revived Pioneer run instead through Boulder. Direct rail travel from Boulder to Seattle? OMGWTFBBQ!!!1!1!1!!!eleven!

I done saw it in the Daily Camera (also in the Colorado Daily, for more detail, via Twitter feed AmtrakNews) where the sole commenter as of this moment is voicing support for the reinstated line but not for “regular Amtrak trains through Boulder.” I’m not quite sure why. Do they fear the noise and congestion of 20 TRAINS DAY, I SAID TWENTY MILLION TRAINS A DAY, SINGING A BAR OF ALICE’S RESTAURANT– Dude, chill. You got any reason to expect the Pioneer will run more often than the California Zephyr, which is to say once a day in either direction? You think that’ll add any significant hullabaloo to the existing freight traffic that passes daily through town on the BNSF? Or maybe they worry that Boulder will suddenly host a super big amount of car traffic as the new Amtrak Mecca? I am confused. Enlighten me.

As for me, I totally support an Amtrak stop in Boulder. Do you? Squee here! Don’t you? Explain!

FYI: How To Reach The Baggage Department at Union Station

Since it took me for-freakin’-ever to actually get ahold of this number, but I am not under the impression that it’s, like, a secret or anything, I present:

Denver Union Station: Amtrak Baggage Department: (303) 629-6477

This number reaches a Real Live Person – as long as someone’s in the office, of course. Courtesy note! The best time to call is at least half an hour after the train has departed, I think; this should give them time to handle all luggage retrieval issues with arriving passengers. Trains depart around 8 AM (Train 5, Westbound) and 8 PM (Train 6, Eastbound). You may want to check the train status at Amtrak’s web site just to double-check the train isn’t late and you’re not calling while the staff are frantically checking luggage for impatient departing passengers.

If you just want to get train arrival/departure status by phone, dial (303) 534-2812.* This gets you a recording which is updated several times a day. But use the web site if you can. It’s a lot closer to to-the-minute up-to-dateness. It has a nifty interface for mobile devices, too!

*(If you’re curious: I got the recording number via Google and called it several times over two days hoping it would finally get picked up by a human or get a “to speak to someone, press 0″ addendum.** It didn’t. But when I flailed around pressing buttons, dialling 1 made the recording shut off with a “beep” that made me think of answering machines. So I started spewing out my name, number, and concerns in hopes that I was actually leaving a message. Turns out I was; I got called back about 2 hours later by an exceedingly nice person who gave me the baggage department number.)

**(Because I’m leaving Friday and would like to take my bike with me. And because I don’t entirely trust Amtrak’s web site to tell me how the people in Denver want me to pack my bike.)

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