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HomeLocal NewsColoradoRTD leadership answers questions about highly criticized track repair plan

RTD leadership answers questions about highly criticized track repair plan

DENVER — All week long, we’ve been hearing from frustrated commuters who rely on RTD’s lightrail. There have been massive delays and slow-moving trains because of inspections and repairs being done to the track.

Denver7 even brought viewers the issue live in real time on our morning newscast.

On Friday, RTD leadership answered questions about the highly criticized repair plan.

“We can’t run a system without maintaining it, and the maintenance that we’re doing will make us better in the future,” said RTD Assistant General Manager Dave Jensen.

Last month, RTD adopted new track standards by the American Public Transportation Association.

“Their standards require us to slow down at 10 miles an hour when the rail burn gets to three inches,” said Jensen. “What we can’t do is get the trains up to 55 miles an hour, brake down to 10 [mph], get them back up to 55, back down to 10. That’s just not a safe operation.”


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RTD describes rail burn as a “surface defect on the top side of the track where light rail vehicle wheels make contact with the rail.”

While RTD continues to inspect its 120 miles of track for defects, Denver7 asked if they could release a new schedule for commuters based on the slower trains.

“For us to rewrite an entire schedule, we could do. But by the time we wrote that, got it implemented, we’re going to start reducing these speed restrictions anyway. And so right now, we don’t know how much of a benefit that would be. But yes, we are looking at that,” Jensen said.

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Jensen hesitated to give a date when all the work is expected to be complete but did say significant progress will likely be made by the end of September.

“Rail burn on the track, in and of itself, does not create a safety issue. It’s what happens with rail burn if you allow it to continue without any kind of intervention,” said Jensen.

Jensen said alerts on delays are going out through their Service Alerts and through the NextRide App.

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