RTD Gives Regulators Detailed Plan To Fix A Line Issues

<p>Hart Van Denburg/CPR News</p>
<p>An RTD commuter rail A Train near the Havana Street crossing on the way to Denver International Airport, July 17, 2018.</p>
RTD commuter Rail A Train Near Havana Street 1 Crossing July 17 2018 | 2
An RTD commuter rail A Train near the Havana Street crossing on the way to Denver International Airport, July 17, 2018.

The Regional Transportation District says it will fix ongoing issues with crossing gates on the A Line before a December 2019 deadline set by federal safety regulators.

RTD laid out its vision in a 35-page plan sent to the Federal Railroad Administration last week and made public Monday. The to-do list includes more data collection, software improvements and studies of how the train itself operates — from how long train cars stay at stations to how fast they should go.

“This document details RTD’s current and future commitment to the FRA,” said Henry Stopplecamp, an RTD assistant general manager, in a cover email to the FRA.

The FRA had threatened to pull the waiver that’s allowed the A Line to operate unless RTD submitted the plan; the feds say the A Line’s crossing gates come down too early and stay down too long.

RTD contends the technologically advanced crossing gate system, which meets Positive Train Control standards mandated by Congress, “offers functionality beyond” traditional systems. Furthermore, RTD said, its crossings present “unique challenges” because of how close they are to each other and other operational factors.

RTD requested the FRA expedite applications for quiet zones along the A and G lines, where horns have been blaring much to the chagrin of nearby residents. RTD also asked the FRA to allow it to open the long-delayed G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge, saying revenue service could begin as soon as the first quarter of 2019.

“Further delay in opening the G-Line would be an undue burden to the public and other community stakeholders,” RTD wrote in its plan.

Stopplecamp asked for an in-person meeting with FRA staff in Washington, D.C. before they make a final decision.