Trains, planes and who needs automobiles? The Regional Transportation District, or RTD, of Denver has announced that rail service to Denver International Airport (DIA) will begin April 22nd, 2016. The new “A Line” will cover 23 miles between the airport and downtown Union Station. This adds to the 48 miles of a current rail network that stretches west to Golden and that will increase by another 11 miles with the north-western stop of Wheat Ridge in Fall 2016.
The DIA is located north-east of downtown Denver and the new rail service will take a total of 37 minutes and offer eight station stops. The A Line will use a new rail car for the first time in the Denver system – a car faster than conventional light rail that can reach a top speed of 79 miles per hour. The A Line will be able to carry over 200 people at a time.
Significantly, the new RTD commuter lines will be outfitted with the Positive Train Control – or PTC – system. PTC is designed to prevent accidents via on-board equipment and signal technology. The system can monitor train location and speed with GPS and wireless radio. Denver’s RTD lines will be the first in America to build PTC into their commuter rail network. The US Congress recently gave US freight railroads and Amtrak until December 2018 to do the same. Denver’s existing light rail lines also use a safety system to avoid collisions – stopping a train if an operator runs a red signal.
This writer enjoyed taking the Denver light rail system this past January to Golden for a visit, appropriately, to the Colorado Railroad Museum. For the post about that visit, click RR Museum. For further information about the Denver light rail network, visit the official link RTD-Denver.
(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)