Aurora, CO

RTD returns R Line to service, implements safety plan measures

Heather Willard

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Photo byAurora Police Department

Heather Willard / NewsBreak Denver / Nov. 28, 2022

(Aurora, Colo.) The Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) R Line will return to service at approximately 4 a.m., Nov. 29, after it derailed on Sept. 21, injuring three passengers.

The derailment affected a four-mile stretch of the corridor from Aurora Metro Center to the 13th Avenue Station. Necessary repairs included a systems redesign of the intersection at Sable Boulevard and Exposition Avenue, removing a damaged support pole, and adjusting the trains’ overhead power grid.

City of Aurora officials worked with RTD on the intersection’s train-traffic interface. RTD also submitted a corrective action plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as part of the safety certification process. The plan was approved on Nov. 16 and included:

  • Light rail trains must stop before traveling through the intersection of Sable Boulevard and Exposition Avenue
  • The approach speed on the curve at Sable Boulevard and Exposition Avenue was reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph, and signage placed on the right-of-way
  • A radar sign was relocated about 100 feet north to allow more advance warning and increased visibility
  • Administering supplemental training for all light rail operators targeting speed adherence across the entire light rail system.

Test trains have been operating through the R Line four-mile segment since Nov. 26, familiarizing supervisors, trainers and operators with the speed reduction and the stop-and-proceed requirement.

RTD will have additional signage by Dec. 31 to advise operators of the curve at Sable Boulevard and Exposition Avenue.

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Public safety reporter in DougCo, Denver metro. Previously: Pueblo Chieftain public safety reporter, Athens Messenger associate editor. Caffeine fiend, cat mom and lover of all things spooky.

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