Remaining milestones on Regional Transportation District (RTD)’s newest commuter rail line, the N Line, will move the project’s opening date to next May or August, GM/CEO Dave Genova told the transit agency’s Board of Directors.
In an informational update about the project — which will serve riders traveling between Denver and Adams County, Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton — Genova acknowledged that specific milestones still must be met before an opening date can be determined. These include turnover of the project from contractor Regional Rail Partners (RRP) to RTD and advanced testing elements such as grade crossings and positive train control (PTC).
RTD had previously stated that its goal was to open the rail line during the first quarter of 2020. The transit agency remains committed to doing so next year.
“The N Line is a long-awaited connection for our riders in the communities north of Denver, and the project team continues to work diligently toward meeting all regulatory requirements and ensuring public safety of the line,” Genova said. “RTD has made significant progress on this project, and we will be better able to announce the opening date as additional steps are completed.”
RTD will fully operate the N Line — known during construction as the North Metro Line — when it is open. The agency’s staff will develop a detailed list of milestones to serve as a roadmap for determining an opening date. RTD aims to open the line to coincide with May or August service changes.
RTD and contract team Regional Rail Partners (RRP) — a joint venture of Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. and Graham — continue to work on civil and systems elements to complete construction of the first 13 miles of the N Line, currently funded from Denver Union Station to Eastlake-124th Station. The 18.5-mile electrified commuter rail line is part of FasTracks, RTD’s 2004 voter-approved, multibillion-dollar transit expansion plan for the metro Denver region.
Overhead catenary system (OCS) wires on the N Line went live in March, and train testing on the corridor began in April using the conventional, automatic train control (ATC) system. Once RRP reaches substantial completion of construction on the N Line, RTD will review and validate the work. RTD is now training operators on the corridor and will proceed with full testing of the line when substantial completion has been reached.