Passenger rail operator Amtrak said, beginning Feb.1, it would temporarily relocate from Denver Union Station to another location to accommodate construction of the new commuter rail station at the Union Station.

Amtrak will relocate to 1800 21st St., which lies at the intersection of 21st St. and Wewatta St., behind Coors Field.

Amtrak said the temporary station is completely accessible to passengers with disabilities, offers Quik-Trak self-serve ticketing kiosks, free WiFi and vending machines with snacks and beverages.

Free parking is available at the temporary station for Amtrak passengers with proper validation. About 15 short-term parking spaces are available at the lot on the east side of the station, and 25 long-term parking spots are available on the west side of the station under the 20th Street viaduct. 

The temporary station is also served by a Regional Transportation District (RTD) bus stop, Amtrak said in a statement.

The relocation will facilitate construction of the new commuter rail station at Denver Union Station that will serve Amtrak and the East, Gold, North Metro and Northwest Rail commuter rail lines.   

Amtrak, which expects to return to Union Station in the spring of 2014, said when improvements are complete, Denver Union Station will be the centerpiece of the RTD's FasTracks transit expansion program and will serve as a multimodal hub for the region. 

FasTracks is a multi-billion dollar comprehensive transit expansion plan to build 122 miles of new commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit, 21,000 new parking spaces at light rail and bus stations, and enhance bus service for easy, convenient bus/rail connections across the eight-county district.

The $484 million Denver Union Station redevelopment project includes an eight-track Amtrak and RTD commuter rail station, 22-bay regional bus facility, new light rail station for current and future light rail lines, extension of the 16th Street Mall Shuttle and several public plazas to integrate transit services with adjacent neighborhoods.

Amtrak operates two trains daily through Denver - the westbound California Zephyr departing at 8:05 a.m. and the eastbound California Zephyr departing at 7:10 p.m.  The California Zephyr runs between Chicago and Emeryville, coursing through the plains of Nebraska to Denver, across the Rockies to Salt Lake City, and then through Reno and the Sierras to Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay.   

Last year, 128,410 Amtrak passengers used the Denver station, which was first opened in 1881. 

Meanwhile, the Union Station passenger tunnel, the underground walkway from the light rail platform to Wynkoop Street, will also be closed on Feb. 1 to allow for completion of a new underground regional bus facility.  The tunnel has provided access for passengers to reach their trains since its opening in 1926.  Passengers should use the 16th Street Mall Shuttle or the 16th Street sidewalk to get to and from the light rail platform.

Amtrak passengers can also use Amtrak Thruway Motorcoaches at Denver to connect with the Amtrak Southwest Chief at Raton, New Mexico, which will also be transferred to the temporary station at 1800 21st St.

Washington-based Amtrak is a government-owned corporation to provide intercity passenger train service in the United States. The Amtrak Auto Train holds the distinction as the longest passenger train in the world, with two locomotives and 40-plus passenger rail cars and vehicle carriers operating daily to Lorton in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.

Last fiscal year (FY 2010), the railroad carried 28.7 million passengers, making it the best year in the company's history. With 21,000 route miles in 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian provinces, Amtrak operates more than 300 trains each day.

For more information, Amtrak customers locally can call 303-825-2583 or the toll-free Amtrak contact centers at 800-USA-RAIL.