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Series: Railroad West
Amtrak's Southwest Chief runs from Chicago to Los Angeles, passing through towns in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. The future of the route is in question, as the current rail lines require upgrades in order to maintain passenger rail speeds. A partnership is on the table to share expenses for the upgrades; as proposed, Colorado’s portion would be about $40 million over the course of ten years.
The alternative is that Amtrak would likely reroute the service, bypassing Western Kansas, Colorado and Northern New Mexico entirely.
KRCC News interns Martha Perez-Sanz and Maggie Spencer have been looking into the issue as part of their journalism curriculum at Colorado College. Their reports are supplemented by reports from capitol reporter Bente Birkeland, news director Andrea Chalfin, as well as freelancers.