Why Washington, DC’s Commuter Train Was Parked at Denver’s Union Station

If you’ve been at Union Station over the past week, you might’ve seen an unusual sight: A double-decker train from Washington DC’s MARC commuter rail system parked behind Denver’s Union Station.

What gives?

Turns out the train was in Colorado as part of the testing for new locomotives getting ready for MARC service. Officials wanted to test the new locomotives with actual MARC rolling stock, to evaluate how the locomotives performed in real-life conditions.

The Federal Railroad Administration has a test track in Pueblo, CO, so this train had been there, undergoing tests.

The train was moved to Denver in preparation for its trip back east. Amtrak is carrying the train on its regularly scheduled run from Denver to Chicago (#5, the California Zephyr) and then from Chicago to DC (#29, the Capitol Limited).

By | 2016-12-27T16:06:02+00:00 October 7, 2016|Categories: Parks & Public Spaces, Transit, Transportation|Tags: |4 Comments


  1. Jim Nash October 7, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you Dan, for keeping us connected to the DC rail developments! Please keep us updated on the Georgetown Streetcar Project!

  2. Brad Taylor October 7, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    To be clear, it’s a Maryland Commuter (MARC) train … which is a long-haul commuter rail system that provides rail service primarily throughout much of Maryland – with additional service stops in Washington DC and West Virginia … locals to the DC / Maryland / Northern Virginia area would NOT consider MARC to be “Washington DC’s Commuter Train” – since it’s not Washington DC’s train for one thing … it’s Maryland’s … and further, Washington DC is also served by a second long-haul commuter rail system called the VRE (Virginia Rail Express), not to mention the more local DC MetroRail subway, which is yet a 3rd commuter rail system serving DC and the Maryland / Virginia suburbs … BUT ANYWAY!!!

    • Jim Nash October 8, 2016 at 7:36 am

      Brad, there’s no misrepresentation here by Dan Malouff, formerly of Denver. As a previous resident of Northern Virginia, I rode Metro — and occasionally MARTA and AMTRAK — in and out of DC for ten years. Dan’s blog, BeyondDC, follows rail development in the Washington region, and we appreciate Dan sharing his expertise with his homies here in Denver. DC is miles beyond Denver in all forms of urban rail development, as a real alternative to the car, and we can all learn a lot from his blog. Let’s hope he continues his correspondence to DenverInfill readers, as we look to streetcars as a possible next phase of mass transit in Denver.

      • Jim Nash October 8, 2016 at 2:38 pm

        Sorry, I intended to write “MARC” when I wrote “MARTA” above. Yes, I’ve also ridden MARTA in Atlanta.

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