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West Rail Line: Lessons learned

Here is a unique opportunity to see what it takes to build major infrastructure like a 12-mile-long rail line through built-up urban areas. It's clearly a complex and challenging endeavor.

The West Rail Line opened in April 2013 and now a report is available that focuses on lessons learned from completing this major project. It offers insight into RTD and its program management teams. It also offers valuable information for ongoing and future rail corridor project management approaches for RTD and other transit agencies.

Read Lessons Learned from the West Rail Line Project

Photos: Art on the West Rail Line

The West Rail Line provides a great opportunity for RTD to build on its Art-n-Transit program. Click through the slideshow below to see some of the work that's been done.


West Rail wins 2013 WTS Project of the Year award

Train breaks banner at West Rail grand opening at Jefferson County Government Center - Golden Station. April 26, 2013
A train breaks the banner at the West Rail grand opening at Jefferson County Government Center - Golden Station. April 26, 2013
The Colorado chapter of the Women's Transportation Seminar (WTS), the international professional organization that promotes women in transportation, has named the West Rail Line its project of the year. The group will honor the W Line Feb. 20, 2014 as the "Colorado Large Innovative Transportation Solution of the Year."

In an announcement letter, WTS Colorado President Danielle Smith said the opening of the first FasTracks rail line "is a huge accomplishment that WTS Colorado is thrilled to honor." The rail line "will be an integral component of the Denver region transportation system for generations to come," Smith added.

The awards gala will take place at the McNichols Civic Center Building in downtown Denver. WTS also will recognize RTD Director Claudia Folska with its Diversity Leadership Award.

Throwback Thursday: West Rail brings transformation 

What a difference five years can make. The 2008 view below shows an old railroad switch located somewhere along what is now RTD's W Line. The West Rail Line project completely transformed this area by the time it opened in April 2013. Can you guess where this picture was taken?

Tracks near Lamar Station 2008 and 2013
The photo looks east from Harlan Street at 13th Avenue in Lakewood. The spur track went over toward the Lakewood Brick Co.

Lamar Station
Today, the tracks lead into the Lamar Station, where an arts district and new residential development is taking hold.

Artwork Installed at Lakewood•Wadsworth Station

The artwork at Lakewood•Wadsworth Station is complete and received final RTD acceptance this week. The artwork spans both the east and west stairwells. The artwork, entitled Rain and Sun, was done by John Rogers, an artist from Portland, OR.

"I like to mix qualities found in the organic world with the technical world," Rogers says. "I aim to create art that will prompt different reactions depending on the involvement and imagination of the viewer. My art relies on a firm understanding of the interplay between art, architecture and engineering."

W Line Now Operating

The West Rail Line is now open to the public.  Whether you are headed to downtown Denver for a ballgame or to Golden to bike the foothills, the W Line will take you there.  Hop on the train at one of our 11 new stations, sit back, and enjoy the ride. 

West Rail Music Video

Now that the W Line is open, spend a couple of minutes taking a look at the construction in a fast-paced video set to music. This video was shown for all the people attending a special event the night before the grand opening ceremony.

Parking at Sheridan Station

The Sheridan Station parking structure is finished and open. All 800 spaces are available for use. Access from the garage to the station can either be from level 1 along the sidewalks on Sheridan to the station elevators (along Sheridan Blvd.), or from level 0 across the new plaza, under Sheridan Blvd. to the station.

Take a Virtual Ride on the W Line from the Front of the Train

Here's a great way to take the first ride on the new West Rail.  It's a video that
takes you on the complete ride from the Decatur-Federal Station to the Jefferson County Government Center - Golden Station. The  video is sped up 4X so there is no audio. But the 12-mile long trip only takes a little under eight minutes as a result.

Photographer Jim Hill and reporter Nathan Heffel from KUNC FM 91.5 in Greeley put the video together. What's even more cool is the fact that it's shot through the front window of the train.

Video courtesy Jim Hill and Nathan Heffel. KUNC FM 91.5. March 20, 2013

Lakewood/Dry Gulch Disc Golf Course reopens

The disc golf course at Lakewood/Dry Gulch Park is open to play again and it's new and improved with 21 holes instead of 18 and a redesign of some holes. More information is available here.

Bike the West

Not only does the W line make for a convenient light rail commute, it is a pedestrian and bike friendly line that will serve as a major conduit for cyclists and walkers for decades to come.  New bike paths were added in many places along the rail, using a combination of new dedicated bike paths and bike lanes, as well as public streets.  Figure out ways you can utilize the bike path by checking out our W line bike route map

Garrison Station artwork

Artwork at Garrison Station is complete. The artwork, created by Mike Squared Mosaics, weaves pieces of history from the Eiber Neighborhood along 20 panels of sound wall. The mural is meant to leave travelers coming back for for more, finding different elements that were not seen the first time. Next time you ride the W Line take a look, or watch the up close and personal video of the artwork, also created by Mike Squared Mosaics.

Ten artists have been selected for commissioning of artwork at 12 locations, including all W Line stations, windscreens, and the Kipling Bridge.  Learn more about the chosen artists on our Artwork of the W Line page.

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