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The 11-mile rail line connecting Denver’s northwest suburbs to Union Station was supposed to open in 2016. But much to the frustration of commuters in Wheat Ridge and Arvada, the project was delayed (and then delayed again) over the past few years. But at a press conference Monday morning, Regional Transportation District (RTD) General Manager and CEO Dave Genova revealed the long-awaited news: The Gold Line (G Line) will officially begin service April 26.
“I know it’s been a rough road for all of our partners. Certainly for us it’s been a rough road. This process has had its challenges,” Genova says. “Thank you to all the citizens of all these communities that have been waiting for us to deliver the G Line.”
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According to Genova, RTD expects the new 11.2 mile line to carry 9,000 commuters daily to and from downtown Denver. The line will hit eight stations in total, the westernmost being the Wheat Ridge / Ward stop (at West 50th Place and Ward Road), and will include an additional 2,230 parking spots, RTD said in a release shortly after the announcement. By 2035, RTD expects the G Line will be seeing 12,900 daily trips.
“We’ve taken some hits,” Genova says. “But it’s all in the spirit of progress and innovation.”
The ambitious project involves “positive train control” (PTC) technology—which is designed to reduce the risk of train accidents— and hit a series of delays since 2016 mostly due to state and federal regulatory issues stemming from the timing of crossing gates and quiet zones along the line. Late last week, RTD received final federal and state approvals to open the line.
According to Genova, some crossing attendants may continue to be used, but it’s unclear where they will be stationed and how many will be employed. The G Line will also operate with quiet zones in place along the entirety of line, according to Genova, which means train horns will only be used in emergency situations, or if maintenance workers, pedestrians, or vehicles are near the tracks. Horns may also be used if there is an issue with gate timing or if a train isn’t utilizing the PTC technology.
Arvada and Wheat Ridge commuters will be relieved to know that the announcement was not an April Fool’s joke.