Rail Electrification Raises Concerns Over Budget And Expansion

The electrification of proposed rail lines in Denver has broad support, but the measure would greatly increase the project's cost and could limit future expansion.

"Electrifying the FasTracks rail line between Union Station and Boulder/Longmont could add as much as $550 million in cost to the project when compared with current plans for diesel-powered trains, RTD said Thursday."

"The transit district released a letter from BNSF Railway Co. that said numerous bridges along the 41-mile rail route would have to be reconstructed to accommodate overhead electric wires for commuter rail."

"Recently, RTD directors supported electric rail over diesel for the east corridor train to Denver International Airport and the Gold Line from Union Station to Arvada/Wheat Ridge."

"Some local government officials and residents also have expressed preference for electric rail for the northwest line and the north metro train to Adams County. They noted that electrification eliminates train emissions, and at lower speeds, electric trains are quieter than diesel counterparts."

"Electrification of the line would probably prevent any future rail expansion in the corridor since the placement of poles for electric wires takes additional space."

Full Story: Planned rail carries big power charge

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