Light rail operator ‘likely fell asleep’ before March crash in Golden, RTD investigation says

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
An RTD W Line train off its tracks at the end of the line at the Jefferson County Government Center – Golden station. March 11, 2023.

Fatigue and excessive speed were contributing factors to a light rail crash in Golden last month. That’s according to an RTD internal investigation.

In a filing with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission released Tuesday, RTD determined that the W Line’s operator “likely fell asleep” before the train went off the tracks near the Jefferson County Government Center station at 9:30 a.m. on March 11. Officials said a collision with a bump post also contributed to the collision.

RTD also identified actions it says it will take to ensure another such incident doesn’t occur. They include making fatigue awareness part of biennial recertification for drivers, implementing a fatigue risk management program and evaluating the start time and duration of shifts for drivers.

Two passengers were transported to the hospital for minor injuries in the crash. The Jefferson County Government Center Station remains closed as crews make repairs. RTD has been running shuttle buses between the station and the Red Rocks College Station in place of the W Line. There’s no timetable as to when the route will fully reopen.