Winter Park ski train is no more

— The last Ski Train has left Union Station.

A spokesman for Denver businessman Phil Anschutz confirmed late Tuesday that the train is being bought and moved to Canada by a subsidiary of the Canadian National Railway Co.

The subsidiary, Algoma Central Railway Inc., operates a Snow Train from its headquarters in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The sale ends ski train service between Denver and Winter Park that began in 1940. The train will not run its summer schedule.

The reason for the sale was a "combination of things," said Anschutz Co. spokesman Jim Monaghan.

"There is common knowledge that the train consistently lost money in its operation, yet profitability never really was the driving issue," he said.

Monaghan would not give the sale price. He said a number of "dramatic things" arose recently, including "overall cost increases, particularly for liability coverage." The overall weakened economy also played a role.

The Ski Train also had "operating issues with freight trains," Monaghan said, referring to the need for the tourist train to lease track from the Union Pacific Railroad for its route.

He said uncertainty surrounding the redevelopment of Union Station and the Ski Train's place in that development also was a factor.

The Regional Transportation District and the city and county of Denver are spearheading Union Station redevelopment as part of RTD's plan to add six new FasTracks trains to its passenger rail network in metro Denver.

In 1940 the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad launched the Ski Train to Winter Park. Anschutz acquired the train in 1988.

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