Southwest Chief Commission Prepares to Meet

Credit Maggie Spencer / 91.5 KRCC

Colorado’s commission to look at preserving Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line is gearing up to start its meetings. 

The commission’s been tasked with coordinating efforts to try and save the line, which faces possible rerouting out of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico if necessary infrastructure upgrades aren’t completed.

Jim Souby is the President of the Colorado Rail Passenger Association, and was appointed to the commission to represent the tourism industry.

"I can’t imagine that we’re not going to have to have some skin in the game to make what we want to do happen," says Souby. "It may well be tourism funding, or there may be other ways to support the train that both make it a better business proposition and also increase the benefits to Colorado."

Souby says they first need to take a closer look at the true cost of the upgrades, which are currently estimated at $200 million across rail lines in three states.  The commission is also charged with looking at adding a stop in Pueblo, and possibly one in Walsenburg.

The complete list of people named to the commission is as follows:

Sal Pace, Pueblo County CommissionerRick Klein, La Junta City ManagerJim Souby of Denver, representing tourism interestsPeter James Rickershauser of Denver, representing the freight rail industry Wilken of Denver, representing public rail transportation interests