CDOT's proposed system map starting in Fort Collins and meeting RTD at I-25 and Highway 7

Frequently Asked Questions

Passenger rail is great. Will I live long enough to see the re-establishment of passenger trains running from Fort Collins to Denver?
The simple answer is Yes! After just three years of planning, our neighbors to the south in New Mexico created the Rail Runner in 2006. This passenger rail system was built to serve downtown Albuquerque, Los Ranchos, and Sandoval counties. The success of the Rail Runner is clear and in December 2008 the second phase of the system was completed by extending the rail line to Santa Fe. The entire cost of New Mexico Rail Runner project was paid for solely with state and local funds.

Won't the trains be loud?
As our communities have recently experienced, the decibel level and duration of train horns traveling through at-grade crossings have been increased, causing many residents who’ve lived along the tracks to question what can be done to make the crossings safe and quiet. Passenger rail requires more comprehensive safety features in the gates that will allow all trains traveling through these at-grade crossings to reduce their volume, meeting the needs of residents advocating for quiet zones.

Why should the train follow US Highway 287?
Why not I-25?
The existing track and rights of way are in place on the US287 corridor, as is the population density necessary for a successful rail transportation system. Providing good transportation through city centers will promote in-fill development and revitalize our community cores. Good regional transportation is good for local, municipal economies; for example property values within one and half miles on either side of proposed Denver Metro RTD FasTracks rail service lines increased by 20 percent upon construction commitment announcements.

Will passenger rail affect the freight train traffic?
Passenger rail and freight rail coexist all around the country. In fact, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) rail company whose tracks run through our community cores, are industry leaders in combined passenger and freight track use.

How do I get to and from the train from home and from work?
Walk, bike, bus, drive. Since the train will go through city centers—where people live and work—many people will simply walk from the train to their final destination. Bikes will be allowed on trains. City buses will be routed to serve train stations. The proposed passenger rail along the North Front Range will tie directly into RTD's FasTracks system operating multi-modal transportation services throughout the Denver Metro area.

Will the train go directly to Denver Union Station?
If it doesn't, isn't this a train to nowhere?
The proposed train service along the North Front Range will connect with Denver FasTracks in Thornton, providing access to Denver Union Station. While many people travel daily from the North Front Range to Denver, many more travel within the North Front Range. As growth continues in Colorado, and especially in Northern Colorado, we need to plan and provide transportation options now. A train along the North Front Range will not be a "train to nowhere," but instead will be a train to where we live and where we work.

Why should we focus on this? Why not work for high speed rail?
High speed rail can be a fantastic system to compliment a regional rail system. High speed rail can not make enough stops to service the population centers of our communities. If there was a high speed train traveling from Denver to Cheyenne, Wyoming there would be no more than one stop, probably in Fort Collins. A regional rail system with stops in every town along the Front Range will get us where we need to go today and connect with the trains of tomorrow.

How will passenger rail benefit the environment?
The Colorado Department of Transportation draft environmental impact study falls short of providing real statistics on the direct impact passenger rail service can have in reducing greenhouse gases or how quality of life issues can be positively influenced by in-fill community development. An environmental impact study on a similar rail system nearing completion in Northern California, has identified a reduction of 5,300 daily car trips on North Bay area roads resulting in a reduction of 30 million pounds of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere each year.

How can I find out more about passenger rail service along the Front Range?
Email us or fill out the form on the Contact Us page.