The Regional Transportation District plans to have all trains running on the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Line in time for the Feb. 2 morning …
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The Regional Transportation District plans to have all trains
running on the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Line in time for the
Feb. 2 morning commute.
Light rail service was interrupted Jan. 16 by a freight train
derailment just south of the Downtown Littleton station platform.
The derailment damaged the light rail tracks and trains were halted
at the Oxford Station.
To serve passengers, RTD put in a free shuttle-bus service to
pick up people at the Mineral and Downtown Littleton Park-N-Ride
locations and take them to the Oxford Station, where they could
board the train. Commuters also could ride the shuttle bus back to
their cars in the Park-N-Ride sites at the end of the day.
Scott Reed, RTD public affairs officer, said the weather slowed
the repairs but the goal is to have the repair work completed Jan.
30 so trains can make test runs on the new track over the weekend
to set the table for return to service in the early morning hours
The service disruption began the evening of Feb. 16 when 16 tank
cars of a 48-car freight train derailed. The light rail track sits
atop an embankment about 7 feet above the freight tracks. The
derailed cars damaged the concrete retaining wall holding the
embankment and damaged northbound light rail tracks.
The Burlington Northern Santa Fe crews cleared the derailment
quickly but it took longer to get light rail back into action.
Reed said there was concern the derailment had damaged the
foundation under the light rail tracks. Repair crews had to remove
several hundred feet of track, take down the retaining wall and
redo the foundation.
He said the goal was to have the foundation redone, the
retaining wall reinstalled and the tracks back in place by Jan. 30.
That will allow trains to make test runs over the repairs before
service is restored Feb. 2.
Reed said all construction repair costs will be reimbursed by
the railroad. However, RTD will receive no money for any loss of
fares from lower ridership during the service disruption.
“It is very difficult to determine how many people decided not
to use the RTD system,” he said. “While people may not have ridden
the shuttle buses, they could have driven to stations further up
the line, used bus service or even driven to stations along the
The decision to have the shuttle buses go to the Oxford station
did cause some problems. Oxford has no RTD-provided parking. On
Jan. 26, the line of cars waiting to pick up passengers during the
afternoon commute lined up for a couple blocks and, at one point,
extended out onto Oxford Avenue.
Mary Canniday frowned at the long line of cars. She said she was
coming to pick up her husband and it was a real pain.
“We usually use the Littleton station,” she said. “That’s a lot
closer and the traffic isn’t as bad. I don’t like this arrangement
and I hope they get the trains running the regular route again real
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