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Video: How we test commuter rail for safety, efficiency

In order to safely and efficiently move commuter trains along the rail line, a number of technical systems must work together:
  1. Signaling system
  2. Power system
  3. Positive train control system
  4. Operation Control Center (OCC)
Jeff Whiteman, RTD Project Manager for Eagle P3 Systems and Integration walks us through the testing of the trains in the video below.

In preparation for the opening of the University of Colorado A Line as well as the G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge and the B Line to Westminster, RTD and its project concessionaire Denver Transit Partners conducted a number of federally-required tests to be sure that every piece of the system functions properly.

Train systems must pass several integrated tests before RTD can operate at full revenue service with passengers:
  • First, trains were tested at 15 mph with a stop and proceed order-meaning the trains will stop at each crossing to ensure it is safe to travel through an intersection.
  • Second, the train systems were tested traveling at 45 mph. The trains were allowed to travel through the crossings in this phase, since the crossings were tested in the previous phase.
  • Finally, the system was tested at full speed-up to 79 mph.
The Federal Railroad Administration classified RTD's commuter railroads as Class 4, meaning the trains can travel at a top speed of 79 mph.

The University of Colorado A Line to the airport opened in April 2016. The B Line to Westminster, and the G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge also open in 2016. Another commuter rail line, the North Metro N Line, opens in 2018.
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