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G Line Operational Update

Update Nov 21, 2016:
RTD and Denver Transit Partners (DTP), contractor for the G Line, are past the testing window (number of days needed to fully test, commission and certify the corridor for operations) for the G Line to open in Fall 2016. We look forward to the G Line opening in 2017.






posted October 18, 2016:

GM-CEO Dave Genova delivers Quarterly News Update


On October 18, 2016, GM-CEO Dave Genova delivered the Quarterly News Update reporting the status of the 2017 budget and recent commuter rail operational issues. Read the entire speech here.

Discussion points were:

FRA Waiver Extension

• RTD’s rail construction and operations contractor for the Eagle P3 Project, Denver Transit Partners (DTP) has been operating trains under a waiver from the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) since the University of Colorado A Line opened April 22, 2016 because grade crossing gate times for motorists and pedestrians have not yet reached a level of acceptable consistency.

• Under the waiver, DTP has been paying for flaggers at each grade crossing since opening day.

• On Friday, October 14, 2016, the FRA issued a waiver extension through November 5, 2016.

• The FRA has worked very hard with RTD and DTP, and the FRA has indicated that under the waiver extension, progress needs to be made on the CU A Line grade crossing gate times for motorists and pedestrians.

• There is a software revision for which DTP is awaiting FRA approval to install and test.

• The University of Colorado A Line has seen substantial improvements in terms of on-time performance (87.3 percent since opening while the B Line is on time 95.5 percent, both measured versus the Board-adopted annual goal of 90 percent) and the overall availability ratio (measures rolling stock availability, on-time performance and station availability) is now at 95.1 percent, which exceeds that contractual measure by 1.1 percent.

• Our joint goal is to complete the required gate-crossing modifications or at least make enough progress to further extend the waiver.

• The Eagle P3 Project, designed, constructed and operated by Denver Transit Partners, includes the University of Colorado A Line (opened April 22, 2016), the B Line (opened July 25, 2016) and the G Line (opens Fall 2016)

• RTD has been speaking directly with our contractor leadership at the highest levels.

• RTD has brought in additional specialized resources to assess, audit and inspect the progress of DTP and continues to offer any and all support needed, and DTP has also added considerable resources, at its own expense, to complete the requirements that will lift the waiver.

• The RTD Board has been thoroughly briefed and brought up to date.

• The G Line has the same grade-crossing technology as the CU A Line, and therefore DTP has to meet FRA requirements regarding the crossings on the CU A Line before we can open the G Line.

• We believe the system is operating safely and we err on the side of caution.


2017 Budget

• Fare revenue: $117.5
• Sales and use tax: $361.2
• Grant revenue: $105.2
• Other income: $8.0
• Total: $591.9
• Further details available in the 2017-2022 Strategic Budget Plan, approved by the RTD Board on September 20, 2016. Figures are rounded millions.

Service Performance

Daily average on-time performances:
• University of Colorado A Line: 87.3%
• B Line: 95.5%
• Light rail system: 94%
• Light rail performance goal is minimum 90%
• On-time is defined as arrival at a location no more than one minute early or no more than five minutes after the scheduled arrival time.

Ridership

• University of Colorado A Line: 18,000/weekday
•This tracks closely to the projected estimate of 18,600 per weekday after one year of operation.
• B Line: 1,400/weekday
• This exceeds the projected estimates of 800 per weekday after one year of operation.

Public Private Partnership

• RTD was the only agency to participate in the FTA’s Public Private Partnership Pilot Program (Penta P).
• Participation in Penta P allowed RTD to pursue a full funding grant agreement for the University of Colorado A Line and G Line. RTD successfully obtained a $1 billion grant for this project.
• In 2009-2010, RTD entered into a 34-year concession agreement with Denver Transit Partners (DTP) to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the University of Colorado A Line and G Line.
• DTP is being penalized for performance-related and non-performance related issues, totaling $250,000/month for the University of Colorado A Line and $100,000/month for the B Line.

Operational Issues


Phase Breaks

• Phase breaks are purposefully built into the commuter rail electrical system, as alternating current feeds cannot physically touch. A phase break is a planned dead space in which no power is supplied and the trains briefly coast.

• The two phase breaks on the University of Colorado A Line have been shortened from a few hundred feet to tens of feet.

• There are no phase breaks on the B or G Line.

• Light Rail does not have phase breaks as it operates by a 750 volt direct current system and the feeds for direct current do not have to be separated.

Grade Crossings

• All grade crossings on the RTD system are safe.

• Grade crossings are activating the flashing lights, warning bells and gates well in advance of train arrival and in excess of the required minimum activation times.

• Flaggers are staffing the crossings as an added safety measure until the final certification of the crossings is completed with the FRA and PUC.

• Once the final certifications are issued, we can continue to pursue the quiet zone process.

• RTD is operating positive train control (PTC) as mandated by Congress to be installed on all commuter rail systems by 2018.

• We are testing new software to improve the timing and signaling. Testing of this software may impact scheduled operations on the University of Colorado A Line to accommodate additional testing time, as we can only test during non-revenue hours.

• RTD is operating under a waiver from the FRA, which is set to expire on November 5, 2016.

G Line

• We are not currently testing on the G Line and will not continue testing until the grade crossing signaling is resolved.

• We are targeting a 2017 opening for the G Line.
{opening date updated 11.21.16}


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