Trains For America

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Rail passengers bring Denver Union Station lawsuit

Kendra Wiig of reports on the pending development of Denver’s Union Station. It is a grand and memorable building and is, today, tragically underused. The Colorado Rail Passenger Association says current plans fail to live up to previous public promises and lack essential connectivity.

Whether or not a reconstituted Pioneer is split at Denver, this is a story of national importance. Some parts of the plan, including expensive underground facilities, seem strangely inappropriate.

The Association cites the plans for underground bus bays as a short-sighted and costly development that will not allow for future transportation options or expansion, something that would be more feasible with an above-ground structure. In addition, the organization is concerned that the resources needed to power and maintain the underground station combined with its low-lying flood-prone location will make it unsustainable in the long term.


Filed under: Amtrak, Passenger Rail Transportatio Policy, Regional USA Passenger Rail

5 Responses

  1. MadPark says:

    With such a terrific station available and poised to last another 50+ years, DEN should be planning, short term for higher speed services from Pueblo/Colo Springs through DEN to Boulder/Cheyenne and longer term for intercity trains from Texas and from CA via Albuquerque and from the Northwest via Ogden and/or Billings/WY, as the US re-establishes a true intercity rail network.

  2. Good thing Obama is just giving money away; takes away from the other useless spending by local and state goverments. NO MORE SPENDING!

  3. Nathanael says:

    The Denver Union Station scheme is an unpleasant and poorly designed mess. Oddly enough, after careful review I decided the current scheme is…. acceptable.

    Why? First, the huge underground bus station provides a very long underground connecting walkway with access to all track platforms (and separated by glass walls from the diesel exhaust). This is a good thing.

    Second, the stupidly short, stub-end platforms…. can be extended to long through platforms and run down the tail-track/Wewatta Street right-of-way in the future. And from there across the river, through acres of empty parking lots, and (with a flyover over the light rail) back to the Consolidated Mainline.

    So it’s not a good design. But most of the ‘big money’ will not go wasted (that tunnel and elevators will always be useful), and it doesn’t *prevent* a good design from being built later.

    Unlike (for instance) New Jersey’s plans for a deep cavern dead-end station in NYC, San Francisco’s Central Subway (can’t point towards Geary, comes out in a useless direction, doesn’t link properly to Market St.), or the ‘new’ Transbay Terminal (unsound train access design which prevents a *lot* of important things, no provisions for streetcar or interurban access over bridge).

  4. Stephen J. Levine, MD says:

    The DUS Master Plan Supplement calls for elimination of the tail track.

  5. Nathanael says:

    “The DUS Master Plan Supplement calls for elimination of the tail track.”

    *But not the right-of-way*. It won’t be built upon.

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May 2009


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