Summer rail maintenance: Updates from Denver RTD, NFTA and SEPTA

July 13, 2023
The agencies are all undertaking maintenance projects in July to limit the number of riders impacted by construction, while performing work that will improve service and safety.

As ridership experiences its expected seasonal drop, a trio of transit agencies are utilizing the summer decrease in customers to advance rail maintenance projects that will be key to continued efficiency, reliability and safety of their rail systems.

Denver RTD

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in Denver suspended its L Line light-rail service starting July 10 through July 30. The 20-day shutdown will allow the agency to replace one of the oldest segments of track on its system and make improvements to the crossings at Downing and 30th Streets.

RTD is working with a contractor that will replace all track, paving, rail, crossties, switches and ballast from the intersection of 30th and Welton Streets through the southern end of 30th/Welton Station.

The agency encourages riders to explore Bus Route 43 as an alternative for light-rail service during the shutdown. Service is scheduled to return on July 31.


The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) began a rail renewal project on July 13 near the 400 block of Main Street and Church Street in Buffalo, N.Y.

The project is supported by state funds and will include the replacement of rail, track bed and catenary wiring between Church and Mohawk Street. A double crossover will be installed to improve safety and overall efficiency of the rail system.

“This is something we’ve had in the plans for years, and we’re excited to have reached this next stage,” said James Morrell, NFTA director of public transit. “Our Delevan Station is a beautiful example of what’s to come, and while there’s still a long road of work ahead, we’ve made an enormous amount of progress.”

The project is expected to be completed in December. Future work will include major updates to track beds near Humboldt Hospital Station and renovations to Church Street Station.


Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) will start construction on the final phase of its Southwest Connection Improvement Program (SCIP) on July 22. The work includes rebuilding a critical portion of SEPTA’s Regional Rail infrastructure in the University City area.

The program launched in 2018 and was designed to support SEPTA’s efforts to improve regional rail service and preserve it for future generations. The work was broken into phases to be performed during summer months to minimize disruptions to passengers.

SCIP will rebuild the mainline infrastructure on the Media/Wawa Line between 30th Street Station and the Arsenal Interlocking, just below Penn Medicine Station. This track area also supports Wilmington/Newark and Airport Line services, which SEPTA notes makes it a critical rail connection for Southwest Philadelphia, Center City, Delaware County and the economic vitality of the region.

SEPTA explains SCIP will require major service adjustments that will impact customers who use the Airport, Media/Wawa and Wilmington/Newark Lines. The work is expected to be completed by Aug. 26.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.