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Video: 'Life stages' of an RTD commuter rail vehicle

Just as we go through various life stages-graduations, career milestones, marriage-trains also go through "life" stages.

A commuter rail vehicle must go through a number of regimens before it can carry passengers for full-revenue service.

By following a systematic and rigorous process of designing, manufacturing and testing the commuter rail vehicles, RTD and Denver Transit Partners are able to ensure that our commuter trains used for the University of Colorado A Line to the airport, are functioning safely and efficiently.

Life progression of a commuter train

  1. Design of the commuter vehicles' interior and exterior is developed. The designs went through a number of reviews-preliminary and final.
  2. While this happened, Hyundai Rotem, the manufacturer, purchased, assembled and tested the materials for the train's body and structure.
  3. Once the vehicle's body was built, the shell of the commuter rail vehicle was transported by cargo ship to Hyundai Rotem's final assembly plant in Philadelphia.
  4. Workers at the assembly plant put together the rest of the car body and interior elements.
  5. After full assembly, Hyundai Rotem tested the trains in a type test, which is a one-time test of the pilot vehicle. Routine tests of all the commuter vehicles occurred as the remainder of the vehicles were fully assembled.
  6. The commuter vehicles were then put on the back of a freight train and brought to Denver Union Station-a shipping process that takes about two weeks.
  7. Trains were brought to RTD's Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF) where they went throught additional inspection and testing routines.
  8. Commuter Rail Vehicles also must accumulate 1,000 miles of "burn-in" time before they are able to carry passengers under full-revenue service.
On average, it takes about two years to properly build and test one married pair, which is two commuter rail cars joined together. You will notice that RTD's commuter trains always travel in married pairs, or mulitple married pairs.

RTD bought a total of 66 commuter cars for its fleet.

The exterior of an RTD commuter rail train is assembled at Hyundai Rotem in Seoul
The exterior of an RTD commuter rail train is assembled at Hyundai Rotem in Seoul, Korea

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