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Guest column

G Line indefinite delay will not be forever


A recent letter to the editor regarding the delay in opening the G Line in Arvada needs some clarification of issues. The A, B, and G Lines are commuter rail that runs in the same rights of way as freight trains and are regulated by the Federal Railway Administration as well as by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, and the Federal Transit Administration. Congress passed legislation calling for all freight railroads and commuter railroads that operate within freight rights of way to have Positive Train Control installed by the end of 2015. Because of the cost and other complications, Congress extended the deadline to the end of 2018.

Because both RTD and DPT knew of these deadlines, they designed and built PTC from the ground up into their commuter rail lines. PTC will prevent accidents by being able to control speeds of trains if they approach other trains, curves, stations, and wayside workers too fast. Everyone is aware of the horrid accidents on commuter rail in the eastern United States. Had those trains had PTC those accidents would not have happened.

Trains and crossings are also controlled by the long-standing technology of Advanced Train Control which consists of sensors that notify crossing gates that a train is approaching a crossing and clearing the crossing. ATC was updated in 1986. The FRA has strict regulations about when the gates come down on a crossing and how long the gates stay down after the train has cleared the crossing. This is to prevent accidents when drivers, bicyclists, or pedestrians become impatient and go around the crossing gates. RTD and DTP are working through the issues regarding the communication between PTC and ATC so that the FRA regulations are met.

The word indefinitely does not mean forever. The opening date will be when all of the FRA's regulations are met. In the meantime, FasTracks has opened the West Line, the US36 Bus Rapid Transit system, the University of Colorado A Line, and the B Line. The R Line serving Aurora will open soon. The North Metro Line is under construction and will open sometime in 2019.  For Arvadans, there are many choices including the 55L and 55S which leave Olde Town Park N Ride and go non-stop to Union Station. You can go to www.rtd-denver.com for the schedules.

I am looking forward to the opening of the G Line and hope it is soon. RTD's goal is to get everyone home safely every night. It will be worth the wait.

Lorraine Anderson is the RTD Director for District L, representing Arvada. 


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