Two years gone: G Line has no opening date in sight
Same issues with A and B lines still delaying the G line
Oct. 26 marked two years since the G Line, a light rail station that stretches 11 miles from Union Station to Wheat Ridge, was originally supposed to open. The line was delayed due to the same issues with the A and B lines, namely, with the technology for the timing of the crossing gates of the trains taking too long.
On Aug. 31, 2018, according to the RTD press release, the G Line had “progressed well enough to allow testing hours to be reduced,” running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. instead of 3 a.m. to 1 a.m.
The press release also relayed that “Significant testing and regulatory approvals still remain to be completed. We appreciate the community’s patience as we work toward revenue service on the G Line.”
Wireless technology was used for the A, B, and G Lines, a new and advanced system called Positive Train Control (PTC). PTC is a wireless technology designed to automatically stop trains before collisions that was mandated by congress in October of 2008.
The hope was with the partnership of the RTD and the Denver Transit Partners (DTP), Denver’s system would serve as a model for other commuter lines across the states. Unfortunately, the project hit a long and bumpy road after experiencing delays on crossing gate times with all three lines.
According to an article in The Denver Post in 2017, John Marriott, an Arvada City councilman, described the added delay of the G Line as “disappointing and annoying.”
The final roadblock for the G line has been with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) who is reviewing the timing issues due to concerns of safety.
Both the A Line, which goes to DIA, and the B Line, to Westminster, opened in 2016. Both are only allowed to operate under a five-year federal waiver that gives the RTD time to find a fix to the crossing gate times and a plan to gradually remove flaggers—people who stand at the intersections of trains and roads to ensure safety—from intersections.
Flaggers on both the A and B Lines are still being removed from cross sections; while the G Line’s flaggers remain for the tester trains.
Some Arvada residents are tired of waiting for the G Line. “It’s upsetting that I have to leave two hours before my class starts every day and take a 45-minute light rail that’s far from my house. The drive would be better to get to the G Line,” Collen Bauernschmidt, a freshman majoring in bioengineering, said.
Some are also especially concerned about the delay with the winter approaching. “It would be nice if it were open for bad weather days and then I wouldn’t have to worry about driving,” Mazy Hogan, a freshman majoring in geography, said.
Currently, the RTD and the DTP are engaged in a legal battle to determine who is going to pay for the delays and flaggers. Both parties have stated that they are working to get the G line open as soon as possible. According to an article posted in The Denver Post in 2018, Doug Tisdale, who is on the chair of RTD’s board of directors, assures that “It is absolutely going to happen.”