Saturday, March 8, 2008

RTDs Northwest Rail Corridor Hits Hurdle With BNSF

BNSF and RTD are at odds with each other over the planned FasTracks commuter line between Denver, Boulder and Longmont, also known as the Northwest Rail Corridor. The question is who gets the rails between Boulder and Longmont around lunchtime? RTD had planned on running the entire commuter rail route all through the day between rush hours to keep the passenger traffic moving. BNSF seems to think that they need that time to move freight in addition to the off-peak night hours. From the Rocky Mountain News,
The $684.4 million, 41-mile line would use BNSF's existing single track and add a second track between Denver and Boulder. The second track would permit RTD to continue commuter service throughout the day while BNSF serves its freight customers.

But the existing single track between Boulder and Longmont would be closed to passenger service for four hours during the day for freight trains and maintenance.
The issue, of course, is capacity. Can RTD pay an estimate $45 Million for a second set of tracks to keep trains moving between Boulder and Longmont or are they going to need to shift passengers to the bus route? Negotiations continue between RTD and BNSF.

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