TRAIN CONDUCTION PLAGUED WITH PROBLEMS
In April of 2016 the University of Colorado A-Line joined Denver’s growing collection of public transportation lines, but complaints about the functionality of the train keep rolling in with no answers in the horizon from RTD.
The A-Line train stretches an impressive 23 miles from Union Station all the way to Denver International Airport (DIA). For Denver residents who frequently utilize the local transit system, the installation of the A-Line was something of a blessing. There were previously no direct routes to DIA via public transportation, and the train was meant to make commuting to the airport a much easier feat.
However, the A-Line has garnered complaints from commuters who end up waiting for highly delayed trains or, even worse, are forced to wait on the train when it gets stuck on the tracks. The train serves a wide range of commuters, all of whom benefit from the wide range of the line’s service. Unfortunately, the delays are causing users to be late not only for their flights, but to work, school, and other engagements.
Only a month after opening, the A-Line was ground to a stop for a massive seven hours due to electrical problems. According to The Denver Post, passengers were forced to evacuate atop a bridge. In many other instances, trains attempting to dock at either Union Station or DIA have been forced to wait upwards of an hour for the previously scheduled train to leave the station because of poorly scheduled crossings. The gates open too soon and close too early, causing delays left and right.
The A-Line faced possible suspension in November 2016 because its numerous problems—including the scheduled crossings—were not being solved, according to The Denver Post. The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) has threatened to pull funding from the project repeatedly, but RTD continues to apply for extensions. The line’s problems are affecting the B-Line to Westminster as well, as they share the same software.
The problematic conduction of the A-Line is causing delays in the construction of other lines that RTD is attempting to build as well. The G-Line to Wheat Ridge and R-Line to Aurora were both anticipated to open in 2016, but were delayed in order to continue fixing the A-Line.
RTD announced recently the R-Line is expected to open to commuters on Feb. 24, but it’s possible the line will be riddled with as many scheduling conflicts as the A-Line, as they share a stop at Peoria Station. A new opening date for the G-Line has yet to be announced, and the RTD page states that it will continue to be delayed while they “further progress on the University of Colorado A-Line.”
The new deadline for fixing the A-Line’s problems is Feb. 4, after which the FRA will pull their funding again, according to CBS Denver.