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B Line to Westminster opens July 25RTD received official notice that the B Line from Union Station in downtown Denver to Westminster will be ready and open for service on Monday, July 25, 2016. This notice came from project concessionaire, Denver Transit Partners (DTP).
"RTD staff, our contractors as well as our federal, state and local partners have put in a remarkable effort to complete the B Line's first segment," RTD Chair of the Board of Directors Tom Tobiassen said. "This rail line will be the third project this year the agency opens to the public with the G and R Lines coming later in 2016. This many major transit line openings in one year are unprecedented in public transportation and the region should be proud of the collaboration that is making it happen."
Train at Westminster Station during testing
The B Line to Westminster will be the second electric commuter rail line to operate in Denver-the first being the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport, which began service on April 22.
"Our ability to bring this type of rail connection to the Denver area is ground-breaking and will change the way residents and visitors experience our great cities," said RTD's CEO and General Manager Dave Genova. "We have elevated the standards of transit by implementing an electric commuter rail system that is safe, quick and highly accessible."
The ride from Union Station to Westminster will take 11 minutes. Trains will run every 30 minutes during peak hours (6-9 a.m. and 3-6 p.m., Monday through Friday) and every 60 minutes during non-peak hours every day.
Electric commuter rail vehicles are faster than light rail, with a top speed of 79 mph versus 55 mph. The vehicles are also larger and carry more people than light rail vehicles-200 people at maximum. Commuter rail vehicles have level boarding at all doors of the train and have two wheelchair spaces per car. These trains also have large seats, overhead storage, luggage towers and bicycle racks.
This segment of the B Line will serve two stations: Denver's Union Station and the new Westminster Station located at West 69th Avenue (future Westminster Station Drive) and Grove Street.
"The opening of Westminster Station in a few short months presents a tremendous opportunity for the city and regional commuters - 11 minutes nonstop to Denver from a signature station will be a catalyst for future development," Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison said. "We're excited to be leading the way with the first connection on the FasTracks Northwest Rail line to Boulder and Longmont."
The remaining segment, from south Westminster to Longmont, will be diesel-powered commuter rail. Construction of the line from Westminster to Longmont will begin when funding becomes available.
The B Line to Westminster is part of the Eagle P3 project, the nation's first full public-private partnership for transit. Eagle P3 is a $2.2 billion project, which includes local RTD taxes combined with a $1.03 billion federal grant and $450 million from DTP, the project concessionaire. As concessionaire, DTP will build, operate and maintain the trains for 34 years.