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Archive of posts tagged East Rail Line

East Rail Line Progress: 38th/Blake Station

For those who haven’t been near the 38th/Blake Station area, there’s a TON of construction going on. Serving as the first station outside of downtown, the 38th/Blake Station looks to transform the eastern edge of the River North, Five Points, and Cole neighborhoods. For many, it’ll be a very welcome breath of fresh air into the neighborhood.

Crews have been hard at work on the platform structure, giving a clear indication as to how the coming commuter rail lines (East, Gold, North Metro, and Northwest) will be different that our current light rail network (Central, Southwest, Southeast, West, and I-225). The trains will have level boarding (yay!) meaning the platforms are much taller. Also, the platforms are longer to accommodate the beefier commuter rail vehicles. Other differences will become evident as construction nears completion over the next two years.

The platform is set and as you can see in the pictures below, the pattern is evident on the southern face. Nothing fancy, but it helps crack into the design monotony that can plague transit stations. The platform will also feature landscaping, canopies, and lighting (obviously much closer to completion in 2016).

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Crews are busy at work setting the pedestrian bridge that will span both the East Rail Line and the Union Pacific tracks. The platforms on both ends of the bridge are set and crews have recently returned to the site, most likely meaning that the structure will soon be set. The bridge will allow passengers to walk from the rail platform north to the future Park-n-Ride lot which will be located at 39th and Wynkoop Streets.

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The bridge across 38th Street was set last year (and covered in a previous blog post). This bridge will allow passengers coming off or heading to the pedestrian bridge can cross 38th Street to access the platform.


The station has some examples of unsanctioned public art (otherwise known as graffiti). Crews are usually pretty good about getting these covered up relatively quickly, but some of this graffiti has been on display for quite a while.


A gas regulator was relocated as part of the station construction. The old regulator was located closer to 38th Street and had to moved prior to station construction to allow work to continue.


Lots of work on Blake Street remains as crews work to install utility hookups. The pedestrian/bicycle experience around this station should be dramatically improved once the corridor opens in 2016.

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Once the station opens and we are all tired of wandering around a revitalized neighborhood, we can all take a rest on Denver’s first transit-oriented swing, located at 36th and Blake.



EAGLE Project Progress – Railcars!

Exciting news courtesy of our friends at RTD as they announce that the first 10 railcars which will run along the East, Gold, Northwest Electrified Segment, and North Metro Rail Lines have arrived at the Hyundai-Rotem plant in Philadelphia from South Korea. For more information on the cars (including why the shells were made in South Korea) check out our blog post from this past May.


For more information on the railcars, check out the Denver Transit Partners’ (DTP) website. DTP is RTD’s concessionaire for the EAGLE Project and will be the operator of all three EAGLE Project corridors once complete in 2016.

The cars will be fully completed in Philadelphia prior to being shipped to Denver sometime late next year for testing and eventual operation! This is a really exciting development as we await a new transportation mode choice throughout the Denver metro area!

East Rail Line Progress – Flood Damage and Tie Installation

Let’s take a look at the impacts of the recent flooding rains on the East Rail Line, which is at the height of construction.


Seems (very) minor? You’re right.

Luckily, RTD and construction managed to avoid any major flood damage. Besides some puddling and dirty vehicles, there was just some run off on sloped surfaces and sub-base in certain locations has to be replaced. The project managed to avoid the extremely damaging rains and subsequent flooding that hit just north of Denver. 

As you may notice in the pictures above, the concrete railroad ties are being installed along the alignment. These pictures were taken on the southern approach to the Peña Boulevard bridge. Each tie weighs about 660 lbs and there are tens of thousands of these ties along the project! The rail is attached to these ties, providing a secure base for our trains to travel on in about three years. 


The tractor below has an awesome attachment that allows it to pick up six ties at a time and put them in place – a HUGE time saver for construction crews. It’s a two-man operation, but it also helps explain why the ties are kept in piles as we see in the picture below.


For those traveling to and/or from DIA, please keep an eye out for construction crews (and cops). Crews are hard at work building both the East Rail Line and the new South Terminal Redevelopment Project. They’re out there busting their butts for us so we owe it to them to slow down a tad and keep them safe. It’ll also help you avoid a hefty speeding ticket!

EAGLE Project Progress – 50% Complete!

It may seem hard to believe, the $2 billion EAGLE Project is 50%  complete. RTD and its partners had a ceremony yesterday morning to mark the halfway point in the project which featuring multiple speakers, including US Representative Ed Perlmutter,  Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Arvada Mayor Marc Williams, Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally, Adams County Commissioner Eva Henry, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Regional Administrator Linda Gehrke, DTP Director Greg Amparano, and RTD GM Phil Washington.  



Every speaker spoke of the importance of regional cooperation and how integral the decades spent developing relationships and coordination directly lead to a regional take on a mega-project such as FasTracks. Combined with the relative brevity of everyone’s speeches, it was nice to see the representatives thanking each other and talking of how their respective jurisdictions have worked well together, and not just beating their own chests or tooting their own horns over their individual contributions to the project. 


The event was held just behind the Denver Police Department facility at Park Avenue and Globeville Road, site of the Gold Line and Northwest Electrified Segment’s approach into downtown Denver, prior to crossing the South Platte River bridge. As you can see in the pictures above, the skyline provided the perfect backdrop. 

Only three more (short) years until the project is complete!! 

DIA Construction Progress

Thanks to our friends over at RTD, we have some amazing pictures of the massive construction project that is the South Terminal Redevelopment Program (STRP)! Construction looks to be progressing well as the elevator shafts have topped out and crews are working on what looks to be about the 4th floor of the new building.

Click here to check out some of the great pictures. The hotel should be complete sometime in 2015 with rail service starting in 2016!

East Rail Line Progress – South Terminal Redevelopment Project

For anyone that’s been out at the Denver International Airport, you’ve certainly noticed the construction directly south of the Jeppesen Terminal. In just three short years, this will be the site of the end of the East Rail Line with fixed-guideway rail service between DIA and downtown Denver!

You may not remember what the site looked like before – that’s because there was nothing there. The groundbreaking was held at the site, but three or four stories higher than where the construction is occurring now! DenverInfill covered the groundbreaking ceremony in August 2010 in this post.


Because the site is located at one of the busiest airports on the planet, it’s rather difficult to get good pictures. It’s even more difficult to get pictures from within the construction site. Thanks (again) to our friends at RTD, we have one of our first looks at the major construction project that is the South Terminal Redevelopment Project (STRP). Take a look at the slideshow.

Also, thanks to Brian Weihrauch at RTD, we have a few additional pics. The rebar and concrete is being constructed to serve as the brace for the massive canopy that will cover the train station.



This $500 million project will be anchored by a 500-room Westin Hotel and is scheduled to be complete in 2015!

EAGLE Project Progress – Trains!

RTD has shared the first video of their new electric multiple unit (EMU) commuter rail vehicles moving under their own power at the Hyundai Rotem plant in South Korea! The first four cars are being fully assembled for testing before being disassembled and shipped with the other 52 EMU vehicles for final assembly in Philadelphia.

Inevitably (and understandably so), questions are raised as to why the shells for the trains are being made somewhere other than the United States. In response, RTD has stated this:

“There are no U.S.-owned builder of electric commuter rail cars. However, Hyundai Rotem also will be assembling these cars in the United States with home-grown parts and labor. After the steel shells are fabricated in Korea, they are being shipped to Hyundai’s assembly plant in Philadelphia for the rest of the work. They comply with Buy America rules, and most of the major components are built in America including the wheels and trucks, braking system, propulsion system, train control system, floors, seats, doors, windows, HVAC and others.”

It’s obviously a little more difficult to go take pictures of the trains in development, so we get our first look at some of the rigorous testing that they’re being put through thanks to our friends at RTD.



The tests they’re being put through range from everything between safety issues and clearance testing to extreme temperature and electrical tests. Essentially, they’re making sure the trains can do everything we will all need them to prior to sending the shells away for final assembly in Philidelphia and delivery here in Denver.



Look for delivery of these trains to Denver sometime late next year!

Also, a quick reminder to everyone who drives near FasTracks (and any other) construction sites. As both the East, Gold, NWES, and I-225 Rail Lines accelerate major construction elements, it’s of extra importance to keep your speeds lower and keep an eye out construction crews. They’re hard at work to make sure that we have another safe transportation mode, so we owe it to them to keep them safe as well. Driving a little slower and more cautious in construction zones won’t hurt you, but it may just help keep someone on a construction crew safe.

East Rail Line Progress – Ballasted Track!!

A very quick post with some very exciting news!

East Rail Line crews have begun laying the first sections of ballasted track! This section is just east of Sand Creek and the Central Park Boulevard bridge in Stapleton. You can get a great look at it as your drive across the new Central Park bridge – just take a look to the east as you go over the train tracks. Thanks to our friends at RTD for this picture!

This is a great sign of progress for the project! Additional ballasted track will be laid in the coming weeks out along Peña Boulevard, but it won’t be as visible as this segment. Check DenverUrbanism often for East Rail Line and other FasTracks corridor updates from both Robert Wilson and myself in the coming weeks!

East Rail Line Progress – 38/Blake Station and 40th Avenue Work

By Robert Wilson

Progress along the East Rail Line has been slow and steady over the winter months. Some significant progress has been on a number of bridges (18 currently under construction). The majority of the work over the winter months, however, has been less noticeable utility relocation work and preliminary construction that will allow for a very busy spring and summer construction schedule on our line out to DIA.

Between Denver Union Station (DUS) and the the first stop (38/Blake) the final overhead catenary system (OCS) foundations have been installed while basic utility work is being completed. The ground here is graded, compacted, and nearly ready for construction of the station and track installation.


Crews have completed the girder placement for the 38th Avenue Bridge just north and east of the 38th/Blake Station site. Construction crews closed 38th Avenue over night in December to install the load baring girders and have since completed the abutment connections. Over the next few months, crews will continue working on the bridge while a a pedestrian bridge is designed just to the northeast prior to 2016 to connect the park-n-ride lot with the station platform. 38th Avenue will likely be closed a few more times before this bridge is completed. However, these closures usually occur at night so its impact to traffic should be minimal.


One road closure that has been the exception to that statement has been 40th Avenue, which is still closed between Walnut and Josephine Street and will be for the next year. Where the paved 40th Street was just a few months ago crews have excavated twenty feet down to install an upgraded fiber optic network, a new sanitary sewer system and storm sewers. In the coming months crews will continue implementing drainage improvements and reconstruct 40th Avenue in concrete (complete with 8 foot sidewalks on the south side of the street) allowing for the East Rail Line to be constructed on the north side. The new 40th Avenue will be an interesting streetscape design as there will be no pedestrian space along the north side of 40th Avenue, unlike its pre-construction state (if you can call a dirt pad for bus stops a pedestrian space). This will keep all pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the south side of 40th Avenue. 40th Avenue should open again to traffic sometime early next year.



Very large (more than ten feet tall) box culverts will form the foundation of the new sanitary sewer system underneath 40th Avenue. Crews are hard at work completing the improvements, however, construction of this magnitude will take time.



For a sense of scale, check out the tractor next to the box culverts.

The culverts interlock and seal – just like giant blocks complete with a rubber seal.


Next, we will take a look at the progress at the Colorado Station and the Quebec Bridge approaching Stapleton.