After 16 years spent waiting for a proposed commuter rail line, Thornton and Northglenn residents are celebrating that the N-Line is finally here.
The 13-mile commuter rail line opened Sept. 21 with a socially distanced and live-streamed ceremony held at the Eastlake Station in Thornton, located at Claude Court and 124th Avenue.
The N-Line runs from Union Station in Denver through Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton, stopping at seven stations in a 29-minute period. Two future stops further north are proposed for creation in 2042.
The rail line is part of RTD's transit expansion program, FasTracks, which was approved by voters in 2004. Now that the N Line is open, more than 70% of FasTracks is complete, RTD Board Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede said at the opening ceremony.
In addition to providing a new level of service for northern area residents, the N-Line also represents another milestone, said Paul Ballard, RTD's interim CEO and general manager. The line is the seventh major project that RTD has completed in the past four years.
“I think it is unprecedented,” Ballard said at the Sept. 21 ceremony. “These massive transit infrastructure projects all have their own unique challenges and we work through them, and we've done just that with the N-Line. The opening of this line today is a bright spot, so let's celebrate.”
From Sept. 28 through March 27, 2021, the N-Line's fare will be discounted at $3 for a 3-hour pass and $6 for a day pass.
The line's opening is good news for Northglenn and Thornton residents, who highlighted the stations, specifically Eastlake Station, for their accessibility.
“It's easy to walk to, so we can do this instead of driving to Denver and paying for parking,” said Thornton resident Steve Peterson.
From residents who moved in two years ago to those who moved in 15 years ago, the line has been something they've been looking forward to since they first arrived in town, residents said, making the opening all the more impactful.
“I've been excited to be more connected to the restaurants downtown, and it makes it a little more realistic to live up here and work downtown,” said Thornton resident Andrew Hablewitz. “It's effectively going to connect this northern metro area to Denver.”