Starting Monday, RTD will give N Line tracks a lift to smooth out the ride

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) knows that people notice the quality of their train ride. That is why, starting Monday night, RTD will begin a program to resurface commuter rail track along the N Line from Union Station to Eastlake●124th Station in Thornton.

The planned track resurfacing will begin Monday, Nov. 15, and is expected to be complete during the second week of December, weather permitting.

The first segment of work will start south of Thornton Crossroads●104th Station and will proceed north toward Northglenn●112th Station. Work on this segment will take place from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. nightly through Nov. 23.    

Running multiple trains across the lines throughout the service day inevitably leads to shifting and settling of the ballast, the rocks under the rail, beneath the tracks.  

To protect trains, tracks and riders, RTD includes regular resurfacing as part of its overall maintenance program. Resurfacing corrects rail alignment for a smoother ride and is essential for delivering safe and reliable transit service.

During the resurfacing process, a tamper vehicle picks up the rail along with the rail ties, then pushes metal paddles into the ballast to vibrate and compact the ballast under the ties. This brings the track up to a specified height and gets rid of dips in the rail. A regulator vehicle follows behind the tamper. The regulator distributes the ballast and smooths the track bed to bring it to a uniform appearance. 

In addition to smoothing out any bumps along the alignment, the planned preventive track maintenance is an important way to extend the life of RTD’s rail system. RTD endeavors to be a good steward of its publicly owned infrastructure, and keeping the rail in good condition will help it last longer. 

The resurfacing program will go through various locations with homes nearby. While the machines will be noisy, the work is not expected to take more than two days in each location. Resurfacing work through stations is planned to take place outside of service hours or when customers are not present.