Denver RTD marks the opening of N Line with virtual celebration

Sept. 22, 2020
The public can ride the line for free through Sept. 27.

The opening of the Regional Transportation District (RTD) of Denver’s N Line commuter rail service was celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony that was livestreamed for the public. 

Local dignitaries were on hand at Thornton’s Eastlake 124th Station to cut the ribbon, signifying the official opening of the line. Due to limitations related to COVID-19, the event was downsized with various safety protocols in place but offered to the public through a livestream. RTD is offering a week of free rides through Sept. 27. 

“The opening of the N Line is a tremendous milestone for not only the northern communities, but the whole region,” said RTD Board of Directors Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede. “Now our riders are even more connected to our thriving metro area. This line is a true testament to what can happen when constituents, elected officials, staff and public and private entities come together to get things done for the benefit of all.” 

“I’m excited for all that the N Line will bring to the Denver metro region. Not only will it bring another option to being stuck in traffic, but more importantly, connectivity to the entire RTD system,” said RTD CEO and General Manager Paul J. Ballard. “The positive impacts of this new commuter rail line will not only create enhanced mobility today but will pay dividends for decades to come.” 

This is the seventh FasTracks project to open since 2016. With six new stations, the N Line provides a key connection for people in the northern suburbs to downtown Denver and Denver International Airport, with expanded possibilities for work and travel. The $832-million project was funded through local RTD taxes and Certificate of Participation (COP) financing. Repayment of financing of the COP will come from available revenue sources, including sales and use taxes and fare collections. 

Rivera-Malpiede and Ballard officially opened the line with a ribbon cutting along with local dignitaries. Speakers at the event included RTD Board Director Vince Buzek, District J; RTD Board Director Troy Whitmore, District K; Commerce City Mayor Benjamin Huseman; Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann; Northglenn Mayor Meredith Leighty; Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter; and Graham Contracting Vice President of Construction Greg Ritke.  

Symbol of progress 

Speakers reflected on the significance of the project as a symbol of progress and expansion, as well as an accelerator of smart growth for the region. Ballard acknowledged challenges RTD has faced related to the COVID-19 pandemic but called the opening of the N Line “a bright spot in a very trying time.” 

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann said, "The Thornton community is certainly looking forward to using this commuter rail service. It provides a valuable option for commuting through the metro area. Although we have waited longer than expected for this to become a reality for our community, we are certain the value the service provides enhances our community and makes it worth the wait." 

Promotional fare 

From Sept. 28 through March 27, 2021, as part of a promotional fare pilot program, RTD will offer a local fare for travel on the entire N Line. If the trip includes transferring to additional zones on bus or rail, a higher fare may apply. Discount fares are available for qualified riders.  

Free parking for 90 days 

RTD parking management fees will not be applied at stations along the line until after 90 days of posting notices. The posting date for stations has not yet been determined. 

Service changes 

The recent pandemic has compelled RTD to revisit bus and rail service throughout the district, including transit in the north metro region. N Line trains will run on a 30-minute frequency at all times. Daily and weekend run times for buses will be on a Saturday schedule. 

Quiet zones 

The opening of the N Line also means quiet zones are in place. It is important to note that quiet zones aren’t always quiet. Train operators maintain the discretion to use train horns under circumstances requiring additional safety precautions. 

Additionally, to protect against the spread of COVID-19, RTD requires customers and employees to wear masks and to practice social distancing on all RTD services.