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RTD selects consultant to study feasibility of ‘peak service’ rail between Denver and Longmont

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Posted at 1:49 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 15:49:00-05

DENVER – Regional Transportation District (RTD) officials said Wednesday they have selected an engineering firm to study the feasibility of implementing a peak service rail schedule between Denver Union Station and downtown Longmont.

HDR Engineering Inc. was selected for the proposed Northwest Rail Line Peak Service Study, which is expected to last two years and has the aim of providing updated engineering and cost estimates to determine recommendations for the proposed Northwest Rail Line, which would move people from Denver Union Station to Broomfield, Louisville, Boulder and Longmont.

“This feasibility study will provide RTD with public input and 2022 data that will enable the agency and interested parties to utilize a common set of facts in determining how best to serve the northern suburbs within the District,” RTD General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson said in a statement. "Like taxpayers throughout RTD’s service area, residents of these communities have contributed to the FasTracks transit-expansion program since its approval 18 years ago, and they continue to express their support for rail service to this part of the region. I anticipate that the collective efforts with HDR Engineering will advance the path forward in a meaningful way."

RTD officials said the study will examine use of RTD’s existing B Line commuter rail alignment, and the possibility of leasing BNSF Railway right-of-way and tracks, to extend service during peak commuting hours from Westminster Station — where the rail current ends — 35.3 miles north to Boulder and Longmont.

The plan to be studied would offer three morning trips from Longmont to Denver and three evening trips from Denver to Longmont and will examine whether the plan “would identify a viable option that would potentially enable RTD to advance service to the northwest suburbs.”

The Northwest West Rail Line is the costliest of RTD’s unfinished FasTracks projects at a current estimated cost of $1.5 billion. The agency estimates it will take until 2050 to complete infrastructure improvements needed to operate the rail line throughout the day between Denver and Longmont.