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Try it; you’ll like it

Your article in Dispatches in The Aspen Times Weekly, entitled “A railroad buff’s alps,” by Paul and Elizabeth Fabry, brought back happy memories of travel by rail in the Swiss Alps. However, one need not be a “buff” to enjoy the quality of rail travel.

Certainly we in America have lost the art of quality travel. Today, we only experience the hazards of congested highways or the dangers of flying. Travel is no longer a pleasure, having been lost to the fear of terrorism and international conflict so prevalent in today’s world.

Some years ago I made an extensive rail journey into Sweden and Denmark for the purpose of experiencing their efficient rail operations. While in Sweden I rode a “Tilt Train” from Stockholm to Goteborg in comfort; at a speed that made air travel between these cities obsolete.

One can board a train in Stockholm, relaxing in spacious seats, enjoying a delicious breakfast and morning paper while viewing the scenic countryside prior to arrival in Goteborg. This journey, greater than the distance between Grand Junction and Denver, was made in under four hours and on time, averaging 80 mph with several stops at towns en route.

In Denmark the trains are ultra modern, light-weight, self-propelled vehicles in two- and three-car train sets. In 1996 Amtrak and ABB Scandia demonstrated an Inter-City IC3 train set in the United States. In the fall of ’96 this unit was routed through Colorado on its way to the Northwest.

Amtrak invited Aspenites aboard this train at Glenwood Springs. For a brief moment we experienced “the quality of travel” and what could be possible with inter-city rail service connecting the ski areas of Colorado.

Randy Parten’s “Roaring Fork Railroad” luxury train, once his dream for our valley, is now operating as the Acadian out of Montreal in Canada during the summer. In the winter, this train travels within the magnificent Copper Canyon of Mexico.

In 1988 this fine train operated between Denver and Salt Lake while Randy struggled with an intractable bureaucracy to place his fine luxury train into service to Aspen. Think about how nice it could be, if we had this kind of train service into Aspen.

Today, Winter Park is the only ski resort in Colorado served by train. The “ski train” is very popular and most enjoyable. Try it! You’ll like it!

Jim Markalunas

Aspen


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