Denver’s Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) newest commuter rail corridor, the N line, is officially open for passenger service. The new rail line — the first electrified commuter rail line that RTD will operate — adds service to significantly improve mobility from the city’s northern suburbs to downtown Denver.
Stantec provided project management, track design, structural design, site civil design, and drainage services for the $429 million project, while contracting services were provided by Regional Rail Partners, a joint venture between Balfour Beatty and Graham Construction. Construction on the line began in March 2014.
The N Line features six new stations and 2,480 new parking spaces for riders. The first 13 miles of the proposed 18.5-mile line will provide service from Union Station through Denver, Commerce City, Northglenn, and Thornton. The entire N Line is part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks program to expand transit across the city. When the corridor is fully complete, it will include two additional stations, for a total of eight new stations. The remaining 5.5 miles will be constructed as funds become available.
The project also includes updated public crossing areas, with gates and lights, to ensure public safety, as well as quiet zones — railroad segments where train operators don’t have to sound their horns on a routine basis — in consideration of neighbors and the public. Additionally, the rail corridor features wireless positive train control (PTC) technology, a complex system that reduces the risk of potentially fatal accidents. RTD is the first transit agency in the U.S. to build PTC technology into a new rail system from the ground up.