Denver's B Line to Westminster Now Open for Service

After Monday's celebrations at the new, electrified commuter rail line's only two stations, Union Station and Westminster Station, commuters now have the option of taking an 11-minute, six-mile ride to Denver, costing $2.60.

July 27, 2016, 8:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

"The Westminster stop is supposed to be the first in a 44-mile commuter rail system that is planned to connect Boulder and Longmont," reports Monte Whaley for The Denver Post. "But because of a variety of issues, including lack of funding, the rest of the B-Line likely will not be finished before 2030." [See last week's post.]

Like the 23-mile, eight-station A Line from Union Station to Denver Airport that began service on Earth Day, the B Line will be electrified using the Silverliner V electric multiple unit (EMU) cars that had to be pulled from service by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), but have not caused any problems for the Regional Transit District (RTD).

According to the RTD Fastracks Northwest Rail Line factsheet [PDF], the remainder of the line, from Westminster to Longmont, "will use diesel-powered commuter cars."

While everyone in the above Denver Post video is happy with the new rail service, at least one public official was upset—not because the line didn't extend farther to the northwest, as the earlier post indicated, but with the rail line itself.

“I see this project as opening another sore, another wound on RTD which will hemorrhage from for years to come,” Westminster city councilman Bruce Baker said in the CBS article and accompanying video.

Baker believes the money could have been better spent in Denver, leaving the suburb of Westminster alone.

“All we’ve become is the vassal of Denver. We’ve become the servants of Denver,” Baker said

More tellingly, CBS reported that one else had bad words for the new line. 

"Besides convenience, the B-Line is expected to spark retail and housing development, including the 42 acres just south of the station, Westminster Mayor Herb Atchison said," adds Whaley.

In The Denver Post video, Atchison elaborates on the new station area developments. He also explains that past Westminster, RTD has to share trackage rights with BNSF Railway, complicating matters, and explaining why diesel-powered trains will be used on that part of the line.

Two more lines to open this year:

RTD expects to open the G-Line — from Union Station to Arvada and Wheat Ride — this fall and the R-Line — which will run along Interstate 225 — is slated to open at the end of the year.

The G Line will be commuter rail and the R Line is a light rail line extension.

Monday, July 25, 2016 in The Denver Post

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