Planners Propose Diesel As Denver Rail Budget Balloons

In an effort to avoid the extra costs associated with electrifying trains and building overhead wiring systems, transportation planners are backing a plan to develop a 41-mil commuter rail line in Denver with diesel-powered trains.

"RTD's FasTracks planning team is recommending that diesel-powered rail cars instead of electric ones be used on the 41-mile Northwest line from Union Station to Boulder and Longmont, officials told Denver City Council members on Monday."

"Using diesel trains will allow the Regional Transportation District to avoid the extra $177 million it would cost to install overhead electric wires along the route, Northwest rail project manager Chris Quinn told council members."

"Rising costs of construction and land already have boosted the price tag of the Northwest rail line to $685 million from an estimate of $565 million in 2004. Both those estimates assumed the use of diesel technology."

"Some residents and government officials in the rail corridor, however, voiced concern about the air pollution, noise and vibration effects of diesel trains, forcing RTD planners to analyze the electric alternative."

"A preliminary analysis shows that there will be 'no significant difference' in carbon monoxide levels at key stations in the corridor whether diesel or electric trains are used, Quinn said."

Full Story: Diesel urged on Northwest rail


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