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N Line nears arrival in Thornton and Northglenn
Photo courtesy: RTD

By Joseph Rios

If you’re trying to travel from Denver to Thornton, and you don’t want to drive, you’re in luck.

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is planning to open its “N Line” light rail sometime in either May or August, according to a press release from RTD.

The N Line will run from Denver Union Station to the Eastlake-124th Station in Thornton. The N Line, which is part of a 13-mile route, is part of RTD’s FasTracks plan, a 2004 voter approved plan that aims to expand transit across the Denver metro region. The light rail line leaves Union Station and heads northeast to the National Western Center at 48th and Brighton Blvd. The light rail then goes north and runs its way through Commerce City and Northglenn before stopping at Eastlake Station in Thornton at 124th and Claude Court. The light rail will run north to Highway 7 at some point.

The light rail is scheduled to run from 4 a.m. to 1 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays 4 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, 5 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. on Saturdays and 5 a.m. to midnight on Sundays.

The N Line was announced in 2013 and was originally scheduled to start operating in 2018. However, construction is still ongoing and extensive testing is also required, the releases read. Last September, the overhead equipment that gives electricity to vehicles stopped testing and started a full review of the system, according to RTD. Testing has since resumed.

Recently, RTD opened the G Line and an extension of the E, F and R Lines through Lone Tree.

RTD Engineering Project Manager for the N Line Chuck Culig says RTD is working closely with the construction contractor. He added RTD plans to keep its stakeholders and civic leaders updated as often as possible.

“We know this is frustrating for future passengers to hear, and we share their urgency in getting the N Line running for the public as safely and swiftly as possible,” Culig said in the release.

Back in November, RTD approved a six-month pilot program that will cut off regional fare for the N Line as it works to determine if cheaper fare will attract more passengers to ride. Riders will be charged a $3 charge to ride the light rail. The move is part of RTD’s Promotional Fare Pilot Program which aims to get more people to use RTD’s services. RTD estimates that around 5 million passengers over the last four years have stopped using its services.

The N Line will run on federally mandated positive train control. The move is considered an important safety measure that helps avoid train collisions and unsafe speeds, the release says.





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