One of RTD's electric commuter trains sits at the Olde Town Arvada Station along the as-of-yet unopened G Line. Crossing gate issues on the A and B Lines have kept testing from proceeding on the G Line.

Courtesy of the City of Arvada

The Regional Transportation District’s G Line from Union Station to Arvada and Wheat Ridge is now one step closer to opening after RTD received federal approval on two key steps.

The Federal Railroad Administration on Wednesday approved adding the G Line to RTD’s waiver for its A and B Lines, and letting revenue-service demonstration begin.

Still, an opening date for the G Line is not yet set, said Christina Zazueta, a spokeswoman for RTD. And RTD’s still needs federal approval to establish quiet zones; test trains have been blaring horns up and down the corridor for months.

Arvada Mayor Marc Williams said the approvals are long overdue.

“We’re thrilled it's finally happening,” Williams said. "It’s a situation where we know we’ve got some more hurdles to get through before we can start having citizens and guests riding the train. But it’s a necessary step and we’re glad the FRA has given its approval.”

RTD's G Line will run from Union Station to Wheat Ridge.

(Courtesy RTD)

The G Line was supposed to open in 2016, but traffic crossing warning gates, much like those for the A Line train, do not meet the FRA’s standards. That's why a waiver is necessary for the G Line to open.

In November, federal regulators threatened to shut the A Line down to Denver International Airport if RTD did not fix issues at crossing gates, which sometimes come down too early or stay down for too long. 

In the waiver, FRA Associate Administrator for Railroad Safety Robert Lauby wrote that RTD must track and report all incidents on the A, B and G lines.

"If repeated or consistent failures of [the crossing system] occur and RTD fails to make appropriate repairs ... RTD will be out of compliance with the terms of this waiver and FRA will consider taking appropriate enforcement action," he wrote.

In a news release, RTD CEO and General Manager Dave Genova said the federal approvals are “huge milestones” for RTD.

“We remain committed to meeting the requirements of our regulators and will continue working closely with them, as well as keeping the public involved at every turn,” he said.