N-Line testing ramps up

RTD moves to 30 minute testing as 2020 opening stays on track

Scott Taylor
staylor@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 6/3/20

Work on RTD’s Northern Metro Commuter rail line is set to reach a new stage this month as testing on the tracks and trains moves to every 30 minutes. Project Manager Lisa Trujillo said plans call …

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N-Line testing ramps up

RTD moves to 30 minute testing as 2020 opening stays on track

Posted

Work on RTD’s Northern Metro Commuter rail line is set to reach a new stage this month as testing on the tracks and trains moves to every 30 minutes.

Project Manager Lisa Trujillo said plans call for the rail line, connecting downtown Denver with Northglenn and Thornton, to open in September.

“It means we are running more frequently than we have been,” Trujillo said. “We are in a little bit of a holding pattern, but we’ll know just when that starts in the next couple of weeks.”

Trujillo said the bulk of the work on the track construction done and crews are working on details now.

“It’s mostly punch-list items, like when you get a new home and have to go back in and do some last projects,” she said. “They do a drive through and then go back and adjust and double check and then re-check. It’s that kind of work now.”

The N-Line was announced in 2013 and was originally scheduled to begin service in 2018. Track testing began in March 2019, with powered cars moving along the route in April. That testing has continued ever since, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday — with occasional Saturdays as well.

The 13-mile-long route leaves Union Station and travels northeast to the National Western Center at 48th and Brighton. There, it turns north and snakes it way through Commerce City and Northglenn before ending at Thornton’s Eastlake Station at about 124th and Claude Court.

There are five stops between the Eastlake and Union Station stops and plans call for the trains to run every 20 minutes during morning and evening rushes, taking 29 minutes from Eastlake south to Union Station. Train service will run every 30 minutes during off-peak hours.

RTD has plans to extend rail service north to Highway 7 eventually.

The train will run from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 4 a.m to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, according to the current schedule. Service will run from 5 a.m to 2:30 a.m. Saturdays and from 5 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.

Trujillo said the COVID-19 outbreak has done little to slow the work.

“It has continued, but I do believe we’ve had to be cautious to make sure the contractors had proper (protective equipment),”  she said. “But I know things are moving along.”

Horns aplenty

Trujillo we said the trains will sound their horns during testing to warn oncoming traffic. People around the tracks need to cautious be cautious, especially when they see or hear a train. Only cross the tracks at designated crossing, wait for the trains to pass and check for a second train coming from the opposite direction before proceeding.

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