N Line (RTD)

Last updated
N Line
Skyway Bridge over Brighton Blvd during construction.jpg
Skyway Bridge over Brighton Boulevard during construction.
Overview
StatusOpen
Owner Regional Transportation District
Locale Denver metropolitan area
Termini Union Station
Eastlake/124th
Stations7
9 (proposed)
Website Metro North Rail Line
Service
Type Commuter Rail
System Regional Transportation District
Operator(s) Regional Transportation District
History
OpenedSeptember 21, 2020;4 months ago (2020-09-21)
Technical
Line length13 miles (21 km) (initial segment)
18.5 miles (29.8 km) (proposed)
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Electrification Overhead lines, 25k V AC 60 Hz
Operating speed79 mph (127 km/h) (top)
Route diagram

Contents

BSicon exCONTg.svg
proposed extension
proposed extension
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North Thornton/Hwy 7
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BSicon exHST.svg
York/144th
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Eastlake/124th
BSicon HST.svg
Northglenn/112th
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fare zone boundary
BSicon HST.svg
Thornton Crossroads/104th
BSicon HST.svg
Original Thornton/88th
BSicon STR+GRZq.svg
fare zone boundary
BSicon WBRUCKE1.svg
BSicon SKRZ-G4u.svg
Colorado 224.svg SH 224 (74th Avenue)
BSicon SKRZ-G4u.svg
BSicon HST.svg
Commerce City/72nd
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BSicon STRc2.svg
BSicon MSTR.svg
BSicon hSTR.svg
BSicon STR3+l.svg
BSicon CONTfq.svg
BSicon STR2+1.svg
BSicon STRc34.svg
BSicon hSTRe@f.svg
Skyway Bridge
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BSicon ABZg+4.svg
BSicon HST.svg
48th & Brighton/
National Western Center
BSicon SKRZ-G4u.svg
BSicon dWASSERq.svg
BSicon WBRUCKE1.svg
BSicon vWASSER+r-.svg
BSicon dWASSERq.svg
BSicon WBRUCKE1.svg
BSicon vWASSERr-.svg
BSicon ABZg+l.svg
BSicon dCONTfq.svg
  A  
BSicon dCONTgq.svg
BSicon ABZg+r.svg
  B    G  
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BSicon ABZg+r.svg
BSicon lINT-Rq.svg
BSicon KINTe.svg
Union Station
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BSicon uKINTa.svg
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg   A    B    G  
BSicon uCONTf.svg
  C    E    W  

The N Line, also known as the North Metro Rail Line during construction, [1] is a commuter rail line which is part of the commuter and light rail system owned by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) in the Denver metropolitan area in Colorado. The first 13 miles (21 km) from downtown Denver to 124th Avenue in Thornton opened as part of the FasTracks expansion plan on September 21, 2020. [2] When fully built out the line will be 18.5 miles (29.8 km) long and pass through Denver, Commerce City, Northglenn, and Thornton. [3] The N Line features Colorado's longest bridge at 9,533 feet (1.8 mi; 2.9 km) called the Skyway Bridge. [4] While other RTD commuter lines are operated by Denver Transit Partners for RTD, this is the only line operated by RTD itself. [5]

History

The possibilities and studies for a rail line in the North Metropolitan Denver have existed since the opening of the Light Rail Central Corridor in 1994. In the 2004 election year voters approved the North Metro Corridor as part of the RTD FasTracks expansion plan. In September 2006 the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was started, with completion in late 2010, and gaining approval by the Federal Transit Administration in April 2011. [6] A preexisting railroad right-of-way for the line was purchased in 2009. The contract to build the North Metro Rail line to 124th Avenue was awarded to Graham, Balfour Beatty, Hamon Constructors (GBBH) in November 2013 with notice to proceed in December 2013. [7] The GBBH contract included an option that when funding is available RTD can exercise the option to build the line to 162nd Avenue.

Groundbreaking of the N Line's construction occurred on March 20, 2014 [8] with an expected completion date in 2018. The GBBH joint Venture is operating under the name Regional Rail Partners (RRP). [9] By August 2018, construction on the line was 85% complete, but the estimated completion had slipped to late 2020 or early 2021; [5] the start of revenue service had again been delayed several months by September 2019. [10] Despite slowdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the line started operation on September 21, 2020. [2] [11]

Route

The N Line's southern terminus is at Union Station in Denver. It runs mostly on a preexisting railroad right-of-way to its northern terminus at Eastlake/124th station. [12] [13] [14] A notable exception to using the existing railroad right-of-way is the RTD designated "Skyway Bridge" whose path takes it over and past several obstacles: it crosses the BNSF Railway railroad tracks, Brighton Boulevard, a Union Pacific Railroad spur track, the Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company (FRICO) Ditch, the Metro Waste Water Plant and Suncor oil processing site, Sand Creek, and Interstate 270. [4]

The N line route leaves Union Station following the Union Pacific / BNSF corridor, near Coors Field it crosses over the rail yards and twice the South Platte River continuing northeast into the 48th & Brighton/National Western Center station located near the National Western Stock Show complex. The northeasterly line near Riverside Cemetery then enters the Skyway Bridge to begin a northern path returning to grade level near the Commerce City/72nd station following again the former rail right of way into the station. From there it passes under Interstate 76 and Colorado State Highway 224, then again over the South Platte River following a slightly northwest path north until the Original Thornton/88th station. Then, on a slight northeast path, the line near 100th Avenue curves northwest into the Thornton Crossroads/104th station. On a northwest path the line continues until near East 112th Avenue where in travels north into the Northglenn/112th station. On a northward path the line arrives at Eastlake/124th station, the site of a historic grain elevator and Eastlake, Colorado.

Stations

NameOpening YearInterchangeMunicipalityParking [15] Status
N Line (Union Station – Thornton)
Union Station 2014  A  ,   B  , &   G   Lines
  C  ,   E  , &   W   Lines
BSicon LOGO Amtrak2.svg Amtrak
FREE MallRide (16th St)
Denver NoOpen
48th & Brighton/National Western Center 2020None Denver NoOpen [16]
Commerce City/72nd 2020None Commerce City YesOpen [16]
Original Thornton/88th 2020None Thornton YesOpen [16]
Thornton Crossroads/104th 2020None Thornton YesOpen [16]
Northglenn/112th 2020None Northglenn YesOpen [16]
Eastlake/124th 2020None Thornton YesOpen [16]
York/144th 2042 [17] None Thornton Yes Proposed
North Thornton/Hwy 7 2042 [17] None Thornton Yes Proposed

FasTracks

In 2004 Colorado voters approved FasTracks, a multibillion-dollar public transportation expansion plan. In 2009 RTD paid $117 million ($139 million adjusted for inflation) to purchase the right-of-way from Union Pacific in preparation for the build-out of the North Metro rail line. Budgeting issues set back FasTracks plans, including those for the N Line. Construction of the line was able to proceed when RTD partnered with a private firm to build the line in 2 stages. The first stage will build the line to the 124th Avenue Station with an opening in 2020, while the second stage to North Thornton/Hwy 7 station will commence when projected ridership makes economic sense. [18]

Related Research Articles

FasTracks is a multibillion-dollar public transportation expansion plan under construction in metropolitan Denver, Colorado, United States. Developed by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), the plan consists of new commuter rail, light rail, and express bus services. Six new light rail, electric commuter rail and diesel commuter rail lines with a combined length of 122 miles (196 km) will be constructed under the plan. It expands on previous transportation projects, notably T-REX, and includes 57 new transit stations and stops, 21,000 new parking spaces, 18 miles (29 km) of a bus service between Denver and Boulder and the renovation of Denver Union Station as a multi-modal transportation hub.

Regional Transportation District

The Regional Transportation District, more commonly referred to as RTD, is the regional agency operating public transit services in eight out of the twelve counties in the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area in Colorado. It operates over a 2,342-square-mile (6,070 km2) area, serving 3.08 million people. RTD was organized in 1969 and is governed by a 15-member, publicly elected Board of Directors. Directors are elected to a four-year term and represent a specific district of about 180,000 constituents.

D Line (RTD)

The D Line is a light rail line which is part of the rail system operated by the Regional Transportation District in the Denver–Aurora Metropolitan Area in Colorado. The D line was the first line in the system when it opened in 1994, traveling from downtown Denver to I-25 and Broadway as the Central Corridor. It was extended along the Southwest Corridor in July 2000. Because it was the first and only line in the system it had no letter or color designation until the Central Platte Valley Spur opened on April 5, 2002, although on maps it was designated as Route 101.

E Line (RTD)

The E Line is a light rail line which is part of the rail system operated by the Regional Transportation District in the Denver metropolitan area in Colorado. The line was added to the system on November 17, 2006, with the completion of the Southeast Corridor as part of the T-REX Project. It is one of four routes that are part of the RTD's service plan for the corridor. Although it operates seven days per week, the E line does not operate during midday hours on weekdays as of January 11, 2009.

F Line (RTD)

The F Line, part of the light rail system operated by the Regional Transportation District in the Denver metropolitan area in Colorado, was added to the system on November 17, 2006, as part of the Southeast Corridor project. It is one of four routes that are part of the RTD's service plan for the corridor. It operates Monday through Friday and does not run on weekends, Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

R Line (RTD)

The R Line or Aurora Line/I-225 Rail is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) light rail line that serves stations in Aurora, Denver, Greenwood Village, Centennial and Lone Tree. Opening on February 24, 2017, the line was designated as the “R” line, reflecting the letter R’s in “Aurora” and “Ridgegate”.

H Line (RTD)

The H Line, part of the light rail system operated by the Regional Transportation District in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area in Colorado, was added to the system on November 17, 2006, with the completion of the Southeast Corridor project. It is one of four routes that are part of the RTD's service plan for the corridor.

RTD Bus & Rail Transit system in Denver, Colorado

RTD Bus and Rail is a transit system in the Denver, Colorado, metropolitan area. Operated by the Regional Transportation District (RTD), it currently runs 86 local, 23 regional, 14 limited, and 3 skyRide bus routes plus some special services. It also includes 8 light rail lines and an additional 4 commuter rail lines with 78 stations and 113.1 miles (182.0 km) of track.

W Line (RTD)

The W Line, also called the West Rail Line, is a light rail line in Denver, Lakewood, and Golden, Colorado, United States. The W Line was the first part of FasTracks to break ground, on May 16, 2007. The line, the only line to traverse the West Corridor, opened for service on Friday, April 26, 2013.

A Line (RTD)

The A Line, officially called the University of Colorado A Line for sponsorship reasons, is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) commuter rail line serving Denver and Aurora, Colorado, operating between Downtown Denver and Denver International Airport (DIA). During planning and construction the A Line was also known as the East Rail Line, which it is now infrequently called. Most locals refer to it as simply the A Line. Despite its official title, the line does not serve the campuses of the University of Colorado.

B Line (RTD)

The B Line, also known as the Northwest Rail Line during construction, is a commuter rail line which is part of the commuter and light rail system operated by the Regional Transportation District in the Denver metropolitan area in Colorado. Part of the FasTracks project, the first 6.2-mile (10 km) section from downtown Denver to south Westminster opened on July 25, 2016. If fully built out, estimated around 2042, the B Line will be a 41-mile (66 km) high-capacity route from Denver Union Station to Longmont, passing through North Denver, Adams County, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville and Boulder.

Jefferson County Government Center–Golden station

Jefferson County Government Center–Golden station is an RTD light rail station located at 6th Avenue and Johnson Road in Golden, Colorado, United States. The station is the westernmost terminus of the new W Line which was built as part of the FasTracks expansion. It opened in April 2013 and is operated by the Regional Transportation District. This station is the westernmost station served by light rail trains in the Denver metro area.

Eagle P3 is a project involving the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Denver Transit Partners in a public-private partnership to develop commuter rail as part of the RTD FasTracks public transportation expansion plan serving the Greater Metropolitan Denver area in Colorado.

G Line (RTD)

The G Line, also known as the Gold Line during construction, is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) electric commuter rail line between Denver Union Station and Wheat Ridge, Colorado. Long scheduled to open in October 2016, the opening was delayed until mid-2019. The reason specified for the delay was timing issues experienced by the other commuter rail lines in the RTD system, which currently require a Federal Railroad Administration waiver to operate their grade crossings manually, and the wireless crossing system used by those lines.

Flatiron Flyer

Flatiron Flyer is an 18-mile (29 km) express bus system between Denver, Aurora, and Boulder, Colorado, traveling along U.S. Route 36. Different levels of service are available, including a non-stop from Boulder to Union Station in high-occupancy toll lanes, and all-stop, which serves six park-and-rides along U.S. Route 36 in normal highway lanes. The line branches out to different destinations in Denver, Aurora and Boulder. The Regional Transportation District operates the line, opened on January 3, 2016. The ITDP classified the system as "not bus rapid transit", due to the use of lanes shared with private cars along US 36, lack of street level boarding/alighting and the lack of an off-board fare system. This new system has been criticized as bus rapid transit creep.

41st & Fox station

41st & Fox is a commuter rail station in Denver, Colorado, United States. It serves the Regional Transportation District's B Line and G Line and is located in Denver's Sunnyside neighborhood. It is the first station northbound on the route from Denver Union Station.

Fitzsimons station

Fitzsimons station is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) light rail station on the R Line in Aurora, Colorado. The station is located along the north side of Fitzsimons Parkway along Sand Creek Park and serves the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus via a free shuttle bus.

Wheat Ridge/Ward station

Wheat Ridge/Ward is a Regional Transportation District (RTD) commuter rail station and terminus of the G Line. It opened on April 26, 2019, along with the rest of the G Line, after years of delays.

Eastlake / 124th is a station on the N Line of the Denver RTD commuter rail system. It is the line's northern terminal station and is located in Thornton, Colorado. The station opened on September 21, 2020.

References

  1. "N Line". RTD - Denver.
  2. 1 2 Padilla, Anica (21 September 2020). "All Aboard: RTD's N Line Starts Rolling From Denver To Thornton". CBS Denver. Retrieved 21 September 2020.
  3. "RTD - North Metro Rail Line". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  4. 1 2 "RTD - North Metro Rail Line Newsletter" (PDF). Regional Transportation District. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  5. 1 2 Minor, Nathaniel (13 August 2018). "2020 Is RTD's New 'Ballpark' Estimate For North Metro Rail Line". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  6. "RTD - North Metro Rail Line - Project History". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  7. "RTD - GBBH wins contract to build North Metro Rail Line". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  8. "RTD - Press release North Metro Rail Line is one step closer to reality" (PDF). Regional Transportation District. Retrieved May 17, 2015.
  9. "Regional Rail Partners Building Commuter Rail in North Denver". Regional Rail Partners (RRP). Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  10. Kesting, Amanda (24 September 2019). "Opening of commuter line to Thornton delayed again". NBC. 9News. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  11. Minor, Nathaniel (20 May 2020). "One Thing Not Derailed By Coronavirus? RTD's N Line Now 'On Track' To Open By September". Colorado Public Radio. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
  12. "RTD - North Metro Rail Line Home". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved February 17, 2015.
  13. "RTD - North Metro Rail Line Stations". Regional Transportation District. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  14. "RTD - FasTracks System Map". Regional Transportation District. Archived from the original on December 23, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2015.
  15. "N Line Map". RTD. Retrieved 18 September 2020.
  16. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "RTD". www.rtd-denver.com. Retrieved 2019-08-26.
  17. 1 2 "RTD". www3.rtd-denver.com. Retrieved 2019-07-15. If RTD does not secure additional revenues, current estimates indicate that the entire FasTracks system will not be completed until 2042.
  18. Monte Whaley (November 26, 2013). "Denver's northern suburbs welcome RTD rail line". The Denver Post. Retrieved December 12, 2013.

Route map:

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