Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Denver Area Light and Heavy Rail (RTD) systems

Postby arnstg » Sat Nov 13, 2004 8:38 pm

Admin note: combined some Denver area topics.

The NY Times reports that a $4.7B transit project financed by local sales tax was approved by 58% the voters in the Denver area.

The article is available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/11/national/11rail.html

A map of the project is available at:

http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2004/ ... GRAPH.html
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Denver RTD

Postby San Diego Transit » Thu Dec 21, 2006 3:46 pm

Does anyone have any pics of the new service that began there recently? Any shots of the service in the blizzard over the past few days?

Also, I am unaware of a place to discuss Denver RTD besides the General Commuter and Transit Forum on RR.net.. any other sites of forums discussing RTD?
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New service ?

Postby Head-end View » Mon Dec 25, 2006 3:28 pm

Hmmmm, are you talking about the new branch down the I-25 corridor thru the Denver Tech Center? If so, I didn't know that had opened. Nothing about it in Trains Magazine. It was under construction in the Fall of 2004 when I visited there. I rode the other parts of that system. All very interesting and scenic. Well worth a visit to that area, in the warmer season (chuckle). And I don't know of any forums re: light-rail in that part of the country; please let us know if you find one.

Thanks, Ian R. (New York) :wink:
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Denver RTD Light Rail

Postby TB Diamond » Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:56 pm

The Denver newspapers have been featuring articles on a proposed RTD light rail line from downtown Denver to Golden. This will utilize much of the old trolley line which, after abandonment of passenger service, was used as a freight line out to the Denver Federal Center until some years ago (Associated RR). Land acquisition for park & ride stations at Wadsworth and at Sheridan are presently under negotiation.
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RTD Wreck, Denver, CO - 12/11/07

Postby TB Diamond » Tue Dec 11, 2007 12:01 pm

The Denver TV news programs this morning reported an accident on the RTD lite rail line in Littleton, CO near Mineral and Santa Fe.

A s/b BNSF coal train derailed about fifteen cars at the above location, fouling the lite rail tracks. A lite rail train which had just departed the Mineral station and which had twenty-eight passengers aboard struck the derailed cars. There were no injuries as a result of the accident.

No cause has been given for the derailment.
You can't go home again- Thomas Wolfe
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Postby .Taurus. » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:40 am

User avatar
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Northwest Rail (Denver Heavy Rail)

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun May 03, 2009 7:45 am

This linked material concerning the redevelopment of Denver Union Station and the apparently consequential discontinuance of the Anschutz Ski Train, suggests that Denver will have "heavy rail' mass transit in the near future;

http://denver.bizjournals.com/denver/st ... tml?page=1

Having visited Denver during July '08, i am mindful they have a "light rail' system, and I'm sure "there's talk" about heavy rail. While of course any metropolitan area much larger than Podunk had 'talked' about commuter rail, is there any foundation to the inference that "heavy" commuter rail is in Denver's future?

Enquiring mind wants to know.
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby gt7348b » Sun May 03, 2009 10:37 am

Denver has a FasTracks program of LRT and Commuter rail under construction:

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/main_1

Some are new LRT lines or extensions of existing lines while there are about four commuter rail lines (potentially DMU on some lines) including one out to the Airport.
Atlanta - within two and a half hours of . . . the edge of its suburbs
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby TB Diamond » Sun May 03, 2009 8:31 pm

Back in the early 1980s there was talk of initiating commuter service on the old C&S Denver-Boulder. For various reasons the plan never came to be.
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby neroden » Wed Aug 26, 2009 1:23 am

gt7348b wrote:Denver has a FasTracks program of LRT and Commuter rail under construction:

http://www.rtd-fastracks.com/main_1

Some are new LRT lines or extensions of existing lines while there are about four commuter rail lines (potentially DMU on some lines) including one out to the Airport.


Current plans are for the Airport line, and one of the others, to be *electric* multiple unit (with the other two commuter rail lines being DMU). This would be the first "world standard" 25KV overhead EMU line in the United States outside the Northeast, if I'm not mistaken.

The two EMU lines are likely to get built before the DMU lines. The Boulder route is scheduled to be DMU largely because of overhead clearance issues on a line shared with freight; the other one due to low ridership only, I believe. I do wonder if, if they find themselves with extra money or can't find DMUs, if they'll end up making them all EMUs and deal with the overhead clearance.
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby lpetrich » Sat Aug 29, 2009 3:21 am

I checked the FasTracks site, and I found:

The West Corridor line is an extension of the existing light-rail system. It branches off near the Auraria West station and then goes 12 miles west to the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden. It is currently under construction, and it should be done by 2013.

There are some light-rail extensions in planning:
A short southwest extension from Littleton
A short southeast extension from Lincoln
An extension along I-225 from Nine Mile to Aurora and the East Corridor line. Its Draft Environmental Evaluation has been released.
A central extension from 30th and Downing to the East Corridor line.

All the other lines are in existing intercity railroad track.

The Gold Line will run a few miles north from Denver Union Station then some miles west in the UP/BNSF tracks to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, for a total of 11 mi. It will be electric. Its Final Environmental Impact Statement has been released.

The East Corridor line goes 24 miles from DUS to Denver International Airport, in UP tracks for part of the way. It will be electric. Its Draft EIS has been released.

The North Metro Corridor line goes 18 miles northward from DUS in UP tracks. It will be diesel. Its Draft EIS is still being worked on, but it is almost ready for release.

The Northwest Corridor line goes 41 mi from DUS to Boulder and Longmont. It will be diesel.

FasTracks's planners decided to make some lines electric and some lines diesel as a result of their cost-effectiveness calculations. These included the current price of diesel fuel at when the calculations were made, but that has proven to be rather volatile over the last year. I suspect that they may make the North Metro line electric, but likely not the Northwest Line -- it's the longest.
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby neroden » Mon Sep 14, 2009 12:29 pm

lpetrich wrote:FasTracks's planners decided to make some lines electric and some lines diesel as a result of their cost-effectiveness calculations. These included the current price of diesel fuel at when the calculations were made, but that has proven to be rather volatile over the last year. I suspect that they may make the North Metro line electric, but likely not the Northwest Line -- it's the longest.


The Northwest Line is also the only one which is sharing its track with doublestack freight trains. It has to fit under existing bridges. Apparently after deciding to probably make the North Metro electric, and finding that the Gold Line (which shares track with the Northwest) was going to be electric, they re-analyzed the Northwest -- and they might have made it electric too, except for the overhead clearance issue. It wasn't worth it to have the line totally separate from the freight line (a double track line has much better capacity than two single-track lines).
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Nov 06, 2009 7:57 am

Unfortunately, there is less than optimistic reporting about the state of the Denver rail mass transit initiative printed in Today's New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/06/us/06transit.html

Brief passage:

    DENVER — One of the most ambitious one-time mass-transit projects in the nation’s history, called FasTracks — $4.7 billion, 122 miles of passenger rail and a hectic construction schedule of only 12 years — was approved by voters here in 2004 along with a regionwide sales tax to pay for it.

    But these days, swagger has been replaced by supplication. Projected costs have ballooned to nearly $7 billion, and the system faces a budget gap of $2.2 billion, mainly because of a sharp drop in sales tax revenues. Worse still, most rail lines are still on the drawing board, and the 10,000 or so workers needed when construction reaches full swing beginning in 2011 have not yet been hired, muting the economic stimulus.

    Voters could be presented with a proposed sales tax increase as early as next year to finish a system that remains mostly an idea.

    “The world has changed,” said Phillip A. Washington, the chief executive of the Regional Transportation District in Denver, which is managing the project. “But that’s all the more reason to do this stimulus package we call FasTracks.”
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby neroden » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:57 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Unfortunately, there is less than optimistic reporting about the state of the Denver rail mass transit initiative printed in Today's New York Times:

Old news.

They already faced this problem several months ago, and offered the member municipalities several options, including several "cut back" and delayed plans, and an increase in sales taxes. The municipalities universally told them to increase sales taxes (!), so expect another ballot measure.

However, even the most delayed plans involve complete construction of the Gold Line and East Corridor on schedule. The EISes are finished, the existing funding is enough to build those two, land purchases are already taking place, and they're going to go to bidding very soon. The other parts of the plans may be delayed until funding is secured, but they were all supposed to start later anyway.
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Re: Denver - Heavy Rail?

Postby ne plus ultra » Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:49 pm

neroden wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Unfortunately, there is less than optimistic reporting about the state of the Denver rail mass transit initiative printed in Today's New York Times:

Old news.

They already faced this problem several months ago, and offered the member municipalities several options, including several "cut back" and delayed plans, and an increase in sales taxes. The municipalities universally told them to increase sales taxes (!), so expect another ballot measure.

However, even the most delayed plans involve complete construction of the Gold Line and East Corridor on schedule. The EISes are finished, the existing funding is enough to build those two, land purchases are already taking place, and they're going to go to bidding very soon. The other parts of the plans may be delayed until funding is secured, but they were all supposed to start later anyway.

I think there's more to what Mr. Norman points out in the Times than your reply gives credit. The Denver Post had a massive editorial/feature urging cancellation of portions or all of the program when I was out there three weeks or so ago, lamenting cost overruns, delays & lower than expected ridership.
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