3:08pm

Wed March 20, 2013
Transportation

Watch This: Take A Ride On Denver's New Light Rail Line

The grand opening of the West Rail Line from Denver’s Union Station to Golden is April 26th. Can’t wait to take that first train? Then let’s take a trip.

Here’s a tour of the entire 12.1 mile line right from the driver's seat. While the whole trip took just over a half-hour, we’ve sped this up so you can do it in less than 8 minutes.

The West Rail Line is the first completed under the FasTracks Project, which was approved by voters in 2004 if you remember. Running from downtown Denver through Lakewood and ending at the Jefferson County Government Center in Golden, RTD’s newest line is one of the most visually stunning in the system.

Credit RTD

Opening 8 months ahead of schedule, the West Rail Line is also on budget. The original completion date was December of 2013. RTD officials say the cost to construct the line was $380 million, with the total cost of the line including new rail cars, acquiring track right of way, and project management etc. around $707 million.

Austin Jenkins
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC

Austin Jenkins, assistant general manager for rail operations at RTD, says there will be 200 trips across the line each day. Foothill cities like Conifer, Evergreen, and Golden will now have an opportunity to avoid the traffic and ride the train into Denver. “Our train operators and our supervisors that have been operating the trains in the last few weeks say that people are standing on the corner and clapping and asking when the train’s going to start,” he said. “I think it’s going to be well received.”

Highlights along the route include two large bridges over 6th Avenue in Lakewood and Indiana Street in Golden. The arched 610 foot long 6th Avenue Bridge is lit with white LED lights and connects the W line to the Federal Center Station park-and-ride and bus transfer station.

Testing trains on the West Rail Line crossing the 6th Ave bridge in January 2013
Credit Courtesy of RTD

The Indiana Street Bridge in Golden is the longest structure on the W line spanning 1,531 feet. Soaring over 40 feet above the ground, RTD trains travel very slowly across the bridge as it winds over Indiana Street and 6th Avenue giving riders a clear bird's eye view of the front range foothills and the city of Golden to the west. To the east, riders see the sprawling city of Lakewood with the Denver skyline in the distance.

The history of the W line goes back over 100 years. Brenda Tierney, W line spokeswoman, says the Denver, Lakewood, and Golden Railway used to take the same path from 1893 to 1950. During World War II, the Federal Government transported munitions along the line from a plant where the Federal Center is located now.

RTD plans multiple grand opening events to celebrate the opening of the line on April 26th and 27th. A grand opening ceremony will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Friday April 26th at the Jefferson County Government Center station. Free rides will be given following the opening ceremony and all day Saturday April 27th.

Or you can do what we have done so many times already. Just re-watch the operator-eyes-view of the ride from Decatur-Federal all the way out to JeffCo.