Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Electric Train to the Airport

Denver now has an electrified railroad route from Union Station to the international airport.  As a result, the station is now a very busy place, and surrounded by new buildings being built around it.  The cars are similar to ones built for SEPTA, running on 25kV 60-cycle AC.   

This train is built for speed.  It says so right on the side.

We took a ride out to the airport and back, which was pretty interesting.  It takes about 40 minutes, although that could be reduced if they ran express trains making no intermediate stops. They are currently running on a 15-minute headway.   The interior of the car looks like this.   I couldn't take any pictures out the window because the windows have metal screens built into them.  I had guessed these were to protect us from rocks and small arms fire, but after reading up on it, the screens are probably there to reduce interference with electronic devices inside the car from the high voltage AC traction power.

And the TV screen runs ads and helpful public service announcements.  Sorry for the blur.

Five years ago I took this picture of Union Station from the west.   You won't ever get this view again; the entire area between here and the station has been filled in with high-rise buildings and ugly modern platform canopies over the tracks.  

And today it looks like this.

Further extensions to this system are planned.  In the town of Arvada, where we were staying with relatives, a new line has been built on the ROW of an old freight branch.  It's almost complete, but not yet in operation.   You will notice that there's wire over only one track so far.

As usual, in my opinion these systems are way over-engineered.  All the grade crossings have gates, including small pedestrian gates on each side, which is fine.  But here there are also fences to make sure nobody can walk around the pedestrian gate, but would have to duck under.   What happens if the gate comes down and you're stuck on the wrong side?   There is a small door that you can push one way to get away from the track, along with extra fences and barbed wire.  I've never seen anything so complicated for a ground-level installation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You promised some action when you returned from you trip. You sure have delivered in spades. That Denver Light Rail is quite something.

Good things happening at IRM also; this late in the season. How about some more on the #24?

Ted Miles