West Rail Line

West Rail Line

Tying a new rail extension into an existing rail line is complicated work. Balfour Beatty built the 12.1-mile West Rail Line by coordinating complicated systems tie-ins over weekend shutdowns to avoid impacting ongoing train operations.

Tying a new rail extension into an existing rail line is complicated work. Balfour Beatty built the 12.1-mile West Rail Line by coordinating complicated systems tie-ins over weekend shutdowns to avoid impacting ongoing train operations.

Location
Denver, CO
Client
Regional Transportation District (RTD)
Year Completed
2012
Sector
Rail
Value
$50M - $100M
Market Type
Transit
Services
Construction Management, General Contracting

The West Rail Line was a 12.1-mile extension to RTD's existing 35-mile light rail system, commencing at Auraria West Station in downtown Denver and heading west to JeffCo Station in Golden. The project tied in to the existing system at the junction of the Central and Central Platte Valley Corridors. The Central Corridor is the main link for the traveling public to downtown Denver, and it serves approximately 15,000 passengers a day.

Balfour Beatty was contracted to supply, install, test and commission the systems elements of the project, which included the traction power, overhead catenary and signal systems. The project was delivered under a CM/GC subcontract.

Balfour Beatty was faced with a challenge to tie-in new systems to existing systems without disrupting ongoing train operations. Over the course of a year, Balfour Beatty worked with the client and the design team on both the technical aspects of the tie-in work and the sequence of construction. Balfour Beatty conducted in-depth field surveys to assess existing conditions, which included performing a thorough review of the as-built documentation, taking extensive field measurements, tracing existing wiring and reviewing the substation, signal and SCADA software logic.

This resulted in a portion of the tie-in design being modified for constructability and the construction schedule, which was previously targeted for the end of the project, was moved ahead by a year-and-half to allow time to address any unforeseen issues. The sequence of construction, originally envisioned by the RTD to occur during several non-revenue work windows, was also drastically changed.

The Central Corridor tie-in work was accomplished in two phases, over consecutive weekend shutdowns, and in both cases, revenue service was restored in time for the first train on Monday mornings. RTD provided bus bridge service during the weekend shutdowns. Revenue service to the Central Platte Valley Corridor was restored after a three-week shutdown, as it involved work by others pertaining to the relocation of the existing Union station tracks and platform. The RTD also provided bus bridge service during this time.