2011-06-25

Model Commuter Rail Car Closes After Extended Stay

As of 2 p.m. today, the full-scale model of the commuter train that Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) has had on public display for five weeks at Denver Union Station has finally closed. The model depicts the front third of an actual 85-foot commuter rail car. On Monday, a crew will lift the 10,700-pound unit onto a trailer for transport to a storage facility. The model was placed on display for the public to give feedback on the planned interior design of Denver's commuter rail cars.

The new train cars to be ordered are commuter rail cars made by Hyundai Rotem USA rather than the light rail cars made by Siemens, already in use on existing RTD Light Rail routes. The new cars are going to be used on the East Rail Line to Denver International Airport, the Gold Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge and first segment of Northwest Rail to Westminster.

According to RTD, more than 7,000 people took the tour. Because commuter rail is designed for longer corridors, faster speeds and more passengers, those taking the tour noticed the differences between light rail and commuter rail. RTD said that they received favorable comments on the train car’s level boarding at all entrances, high-backed vinyl seating and spacious entrance areas. The train car also has overhead storage racks, live video displays and dedicated space for wheelchairs, bicycles, luggage and ski or golf bags. RTD's project team will work with Hyundai to develop alternatives to address public feedback on wheelchair maneuverability, number of handrails and luggage storage.

It should be noted that the tour of the model is not the same as the DUSPA walking tour that is being conducted at the same location, Denver Unions Station.

If you missed the tour or you want more details on the commuter rail cars and some of the general differences from light rail, RTD created a PDF that can be viewed here. Additionally, Denver Urbanism has some non-PR photos taken while touring the model.