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CPUC provides favorable commuter rail rulings

RTD on March 28 received favorable rulings from state regulators evaluating operations of our commuter rail system. We view these determinations by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a positive step forward in being able to move ahead with testing and certification of the G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, to remove gate attendants from the crossings along the G Line and the University of Colorado A Line, and to lead to quiet zones being put in place along these lines.

In its rulings, the CPUC accepted the wireless crossing activation buffer times previously accepted by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for the University of Colorado A Line as indication that the A and G Line crossings are operating correctly, subject to conditions included in the waiver granted by the FRA last year. It determined that it would accept the attendant demobilization plan to be submitted to the FRA, once the FRA approves the plan, and that attendants could be removed once CPUC staff conducts satisfactory field reviews at the crossings. It acknowledged that quiet zones lie within the jurisdiction of the FRA. While RTD does not establish quiet zones, we will assist interested local governments in working with the FRA to do so. It is our understanding that local governments along the commuter rail lines have sent notices of intent to the FRA, an important step in receiving the FRA’s final determinations.

RTD is awaiting final written orders from the CPUC to ensure that we understand and meet all requirements around the rulings. We also need to receive specific approvals from the FRA. In the meantime, our project team is addressing next steps and working toward placing them into a schedule. A substantial amount of public outreach will take place before crossing attendants are removed.

The public understandably has looked upon this process with a lot of interest, and we are being asked whether these rulings bring us closer to understanding when G Line service could begin. We do not have an opening date for that line. Testing along that corridor, which began in 2016, will continue. We are now able to move forward with full testing of the G Line, which means that the number of trains running each day will increase. The public should be aware that a vehicle could be on the tracks at any time, coming from either direction.


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Train horns will be sounding during testing and through the opening of the G Line. Until quiet zones have been established, the use of train horns and other safety measures are important to make drivers and pedestrians aware of train movements. RTD will announce the start of quiet zones for the G Line once such approvals are in place.

Safety is a top priority during G Line testing. During this period, the public must abide by all safety signage at railroad crossings, respect potential closures of railroad or at-grade crossings along the alignment, and not attempt to view testing by accessing construction areas at stations and various locations along the tracks.