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Monthly Construction Newsletter

East Rail Line News
Construction Update - January 2016
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The University of Colorado A Line is a 22.8-mile electric commuter rail line that will connect Union Station to Denver International Airport (DIA), passing through Denver and Aurora. It is scheduled to open April 22, 2016. The eight stations are:
  • Union Station
  • 38th/Blake
  • 40th/Colorado
  • Central Park
  • Peoria
  • 40th Ave. & Airport Blvd • Gateway Park
  • 61st & Peña
  • Denver Airport

Approach to Airport Station at DIA
Approach to Airport Station at Denver International Airport

CU A Line chugging along toward opening day

With opening day of the University of Colorado A Line occurring on April 22, 2016, the project is starting to come to a close. Over the past few months and heading toward opening day, the focus of the project has shifted from mainly construction to primarily testing the new rail line.

Although most of the construction has been completed, there are a few areas still left to finish prior to opening day.

The CU A Line's final roadway project is taking place at Smith Road and Monaco Street Parkway in Denver. This construction activity is expected to be completed by the end of January 2016.

This will end a long line of roadway improvement projects that have occurred as a result of construction of the rail line - 40th Avenue between Blake and York streets, Smith Road reconstruction between Kearney Street and Colorado Boulevard and East 33rd Avenue/Moline Street reconstruction.

Additionally, the finishing work is occurring on all of the stations, including placing platform benches, signage and landscaping. The installation of station artwork is anticipated to occur in the first part of 2016 as well.

Currently, testing is happening on the entirety of the line. This is to ensure that the system is verified upon opening day.

This includes our vehicle burn-in time, training operators on how to control the trains and become familiarized with the routes, and confirming that every piece of signaling and safety equipment works appropriately.

During testing, train horns will continue to blow prior to becoming quiet zones once the system opens to the public. Quiet zones mean that a train does not have to blow its horn when approaching a railroad crossing but are required to in case of any hazard or other potential safety risk.

For more project information:
  • University of Colorado A Line Public Information Office: 303-297-5284
  • 24-hour Construction Info: 1-855-EAGLE-P3 (324-5373)
  • www.RTD-FasTracks.com/EC_1


Commuter train on CU A Line
Commuter train on CU A Line

Positive Train Control: High tech safety on CU A Line

As part of the testing of the CU A Line, positive train control, or PTC, is an important technology that utilizes a system like GPS and communications technology with the purpose of ensuring a safe system.

PTC technology is a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) requirement for all passenger rail systems in the country.

RTD is proud to be the first in the U.S. to have PTC built into a commuter rail system "from the ground up," complying with the new federal requirements.

"This system is literally life-saving and will prevent the use of unsafe speeds on the rail alignment, train-to-train collisions, trains unsafely crossing rail switches, and unsafe train operations in the vicinity of maintenance workers who are on or near the alignment," said Greg Straight, project director for the RTD FasTracks Eagle P3 Project.

PTC prevents these failures through use of a complex GPS and communications-based system. The tracking system verifies the position of the train so that the train "knows" what speed is appropriate to follow on different parts of the alignment.

For example, if a train operator is approaching a curve too fast, the system will identify the potentially unsafe condition.

Train operators will be given a warning by the PTC system to slow the train and if the operator does not respond within eight seconds, the train will automatically be brought safely to a stop.

PTC was nationally mandated in 2008 after 25 people were killed in a train-to-train collision in Chatsworth, Calif. The collision was caused by a train operator's failure to abide by a red light signal. PTC technology could have prevented the accident.

This innovative safety technology will keep RTD's commuter rail system safe, but it is also important for the public to remember the following key safety tips when around any train system:
  • Never trespass! Stay on public sidewalks and roadways only-it is not only illegal to trespass on train tracks, but it can be harmful (or even deadly) to you and others.
  • Always look both ways when getting ready to cross a train track, even if the red lights and gates are not activated.
  • Follow all warning signs and signals at the crossings.
  • If you see a train approaching, wait for the train to pass and the gates and lights to deactivate before you cross. Never try to beat a train!
  • RTD's trains are powered by overhead electrical lines-do not touch the wires! Remember, if the overhead wires have been installed, they are live with electricity and can cause serious injury or death.
See more safety information here.



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