With G Line Opening, Has RTD Figured out Positive Train Control?

A G line test train approaches Arvada. Photo: RTD
A G line test train approaches Arvada. Photo: RTD

When the Regional Transportation District opens the long-delayed G-Line on Friday, is it a sign that the agency has finally worked out the electronics difficulties that bedeviled the launch of its first three commuter trains?

RTD is the first transit agency in the U.S. to deploy a positive train control system from the ground up to assure the safety of its new rail lines. The system uses wireless signals to trigger crossing arms at road intersections, which the agency had trouble timing precisely enough to meet federal standards. The problem delayed the opening of the G line for more than two years and required human flaggers at intersections along the A Line to the airport and the B Line to Westminster.

John Thompson, Executive Project Director, Denver Transit Partners with RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova at a press preview of the G line this morning.
John Thompson, Executive Project Director, Denver Transit Partners with RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova at a press preview of the G Line this morning. Photo: Andy Bosselman

But now that the agency resolved many of these problems, its experience could prevent problems when it opens the N-Line next year, and other FasTracks commuter rail lines later. 

“That’s our plan,” said Dave Genova, CEO and general manager of RTD at a press event this morning. “We’ve taken all our lessons learned — from the A, the B and the G Line — certainly we’re applying those to the N-Line.”

For now, RTD is gearing up to for the opening of the G Line from Denver Union Station to Arvada and Wheat Ridge. The agency will celebrate the opening with events on Friday and Saturday. Passengers will be able to ride the train for free until May 11. For more information, visit RTD’s G Line page.

A map of RTD's G-Line. Image: RTD
A map of RTD’s G-Line. Image: RTD


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  • TakeFive

    I thought I read somewhere that they’re still working on a better software (presumably) fix but otherwise I know nothing.

  • LazyReader

    In 2017, 821 people died in railroad related accidents. Positive train control might have prevented 6 of those deaths. for a lot less money the railroads could have prevented a lot more deaths by focusing on grade crossings, where 272 people died, and reducing trespassings, which killed 509 people. Instead, we have a big bureaucracy set up to write and enforce regulations for a technology that does little good.

  • Camera_Shy

    “Has RTD Figured out Positive Train Control?”

    Absolutely not! Rode the G-Line today and the flaggers still preside at every crossing. The horns blew during testing, right up until the days before the public opening. For the N-line, the horns will blare once testing begins (soon? already?).

    At one point during all this testing, RTD told the FRA ‘we cannot meet the gate timing requirements.’ The FRA said, ‘okay tell us what you CAN meet as far as timing.’ RTD responded, and the FRA said OK. Then, RTD couldn’t meet even those timing requirements.

    So here we sit today, without a solution, and with flaggers standing in front of lowered crossing arms. LOWERED crossing arms. Think of how asinine that is! I could understand if the flaggers stepped out with their STOP signs if and when the gates failed to go down, but once the gates are down the flaggers are doing/adding nothing.

    In any case, riding the G- Line today was pure joy for me! Ward Rd to Union Station in 30 mins is wonderful! and not having to deal with crazy drivers or finding parking makes it worth the eventual $3 it will cost. Plus, I made a space on I-70/I-25/Speer for a driver to be happier in his/her vehicle.

    So happy to have this system in operation, and I wish the best for the future of all trains in the system.