With construction of bridges and other structures largely complete on the 2.5-mile Southeast Rail Extension in Lone Tree, the Regional Transportation District is entering a new phase where light rail trains can be tested on the line.
Barring weather or scheduling delays, lines will be energized during the second week of November, with testing of the entire extension from Lincoln Station to RidgeGate Station taking place shortly thereafter.
The testing process, referred to as “systems integrated testing,” evaluates technical and performance requirements for key elements of the line. As RTD Project Manager Andy Mutz explains, “Before we open the new extension for service, we test all the elements to verify that the construction produced a safe and reliable operating rail line.” Crews will measure track clearances, test train signals and test the electrical and communications systems.
Once integration testing is completed, the Southeast Rail Extension will be turned over for training to RTD’s operations crews who will run the trains to gain familiarity with the new alignment prior to opening the line for revenue service. While this testing represents a significant step forward in the process to open the light rail line, a revenue service date has not yet been announced.
Safety remains a guiding agency priority at all times. During train testing, the public is asked to abide by all safety signage, respect closures of railroad or at-grade crossings along the alignment, and not attempt to view testing by accessing construction areas at stations and various locations along the tracks.
The Southeast Rail Extension project is part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan to expand rapid transit across the Denver metro region. The project will extend the Southeast Rail Line from Lincoln Station to Ridgegate Station. Systems and testing work is planned to take place on the Southeast Rail Extension through 2018, and the line is scheduled to open for service in 2019.
The Regional Transportation District develops, operates and maintains a public transportation system that meets the transit needs of close to 3 million people within an eight-county service area in the Denver Metro region. The agency’s buses, rail lines, shuttles and additional services provide approximately 100 million annual passenger trips. For more information, visit rtd-denver.com, call 303-299-6000 and follow along on social media: facebook.com/RideRTD, @RideRTD on Twitter, @ridertd on Instagram and rideRTDco on YouTube.