RTD sets September opening date for N-Line to Denver’s northern suburbs

The next segment of commuter rail in RTD’s network — the 13-mile N-Line from Denver to Thornton — will go live Sept. 21, the transit agency announced this week.

The long-stalled line, which was supposed to open for passengers two years ago but ran into delays that nearly resulted in litigation, will run from Union Station in Denver, connecting to Commerce City, Northglenn and Thornton, including a stop at the National Western Complex. Construction began on the corridor in 2014.

“Our efforts to open this line have continued even during the pandemic,” Regional Transportation District General Manager Paul Ballard said this week. “I am confident opening the new line will play a key role in encouraging local recovery and continued growth in the north metro suburbs.”

The N-Line will feature six stations, with a total of 2,480 parking spaces. A trip between Union Station and Eastlake-124th Station, the end-of-line stop, will take about 29 minutes. As part of a promotional pilot program, RTD will offer a local fare for travel on the entirety of the line during its first six months of operation.

Plans for the N-Line call for it to run another 5.5 miles to the north, with an additional two stations coming online. But there is currently no funding for that extension.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, ridership on the N-Line had been forecast at 6,400 to 9,100 passenger boardings per average weekday during the first year, before climbing to between 13,400 and 19,100 boardings by 2035, RTD projects.

The N-Line is expected to open with quiet zones in place, meaning train operators won’t have to automatically sound their horns at crossings.

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