Front Range

All Aboard

The new rails running through the metro area.

August 2012

When we book a flight out of DIA, we find ourselves wondering when we’ll finally be able to ride the light rail to the airport. Good news: Pauletta Tonilas, spokeswoman for the Regional Transportation District (RTD) FasTracks program, says significant work on that line starts this month. The rest of FasTracks—a plan hatched in 2002 to build six new metro-area rail lines and three extensions (via a voter-approved 0.4 percent sales-tax hike)—is somewhat uncertain. Without additional funding, the last trains might not be running until three decades from now, according to RTD’s projections. In the meantime, a look at the major lines.

— West Rail Line 

Light rail from Denver to the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden.

Stats: 12 stations; trains every five to 15 minutes.

Progress report: More than 90 percent of the line is constructed. 

Target for completion: Initially slated through December 2013, construction is ahead of schedule and rail service will start April 2013.

— East Rail Line 

Commuter rail* from Union Station to DIA.

Stats: Six stations; trains every 15 minutes. 

Progress report: Crews have already done some demolition and utility relocation; major construction starts this month and will be visible along Peña Boulevard.

Target for completion: Service will begin sometime in 2016. 

 — Gold Line 

Commuter rail from Denver to Wheat Ridge and Arvada.

Stats: Seven stations; trains every 15 minutes. 

Progress report: Construction is under way.

Target for completion: Service will begin sometime in 2016. 

 — I-225 Rail Line 

Light rail connecting the East Line with the existing Southeast Rail Line to Lincoln in Lone Tree.  

Stats: Eight stations; trains every seven to 10 minutes. 

Progress report: A section from Nine Mile to Iliff Avenue is under way; lack of funding has stalled the rest.

Target for completion: The first section will be completed in 2014; without additional funding, the entire rail won’t be finished until 2044.

— North Metro Rail Line 

Commuter rail connecting Denver to Commerce City, Thornton, and Northglenn. 

Stats: Eight stations; trains every 15 to 30 minutes. 

Progress report: RTD has funding to build the first section to Stock Show Station. 

Target for completion: Without additional funding, the rail won’t be completed until 2044.  

— Northwest Rail Line 

Commuter rail from Denver to Boulder and Longmont.

Stats: Seven stations; trains every 30 to 60 minutes.

Progress report: The first section, from Denver to Westminster, is under construction; lack of funding has stalled the rest.

Target for completion: The first section will be completed in 2016; without additional revenue, the rest won’t be up and running until 2044. 

*Commuter trains are bigger than those specific to light rail, have seating designed for longer trips, and can run on diesel fuel or electricity.