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Rail News Home Passenger Rail

October 2016

Part 1 : Progressive Railroading's Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Preface

Part 2 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Amtrak and transit agencies in Arizona & California

Part 3 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Colorado, Florida, & Georgia

Part 4 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Illinois, New Jersey, & New York

Part 5 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Ohio and Pennsylvania

Part 6 : Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Texas & Washington

Rail News: Passenger Rail

Progressive Railroading’s Passenger Rail at a Glance 2016: Colorado, Florida, & Georgia





The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) was created in 1969 by the Colorado General Assembly to develop, operate and maintain a mass transportation system for the benefit of 2.87 million people in RTD’s service area. The 2,340-square-mile district serves all or part of eight counties: Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe, Douglas and Weld.

Light-rail service launched: 1994
Route miles: 48
Rolling stock: 172 light-rail vehicles
Annual ridership: 25.5 million boardings on light-rail transit (2015)
Total annual operating budget: $635.4 million (2016)
Total annual capital budget:: $1.6 billion (2016)
Stations: 46

Rail lines under construction:
• Gold Line, an 11.2-mile electric commuter-rail line that will connect Union Station to Wheat Ridge, passing through northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada. Slated to open in fall 2016.
• I-225 Rail Line, a 10.2 mile light-rail line through Aurora with eight stations that will provide regional connections to East and Southeast rail lines. Slated to open in Winter 2016.
• North Metro Line, an 18.5-mile electric commuter-rail line, with 12.5 miles under construction. The line will connect Union Station with Commerce City, Northglenn, Thornton and North Adams County. Design and construction of the corridor from Union Station to 124th Avenue is underway; the remainder will be built as funds become available. The 12.5-mile section is slated to open in 2018.
Future projects include:
• Central Extension, a 0.8-mile light-rail extension with three stations, will serve as a way for commuters in central downtown to connect with the line to the airport.
• Southeast Extension, a 2.3-mile light-rail extension of the Southeast Rail Line from Lincoln Station to RidgeGate Parkway in Lone Tree.
• Southwest Extension, 2.5-mile light-rail extension from Mineral Station to Lucent Boulevard in Highlands Ranch.

* Information source:



OPERATING COST: $34 million

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is charged with construction, operating and maintaining SunRail, a commuter-rail service operating in Central Florida. SunRail’s first phase opened for revenue service in May 2014, with 12 stations spanning 32 miles and three counties. A second phase, adding four new stations and extending service south into Osceola County, began construction in April and is expected to be completed in 2018. In 2021, the operation and maintenance of SunRail and all associated costs will revert to local government partners in Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia counties, as well as the city of Orlando.

Service launched: May 2014
Miles per mode: 32 (phase I)
Rolling stock: 10 locomotives, rebuilt in 2013; 20 rail cars, average age 3 years; one locomotive and two coaches are on order with expected delivery in 2018.
Annual ridership: 1 million
Annual operating cost: $34.4 million
Annual capital cost: NA
Stations: 12

Major projects underway: In April, construction began on a 17.2 mile, $187 million southern extension of SunRail into Osceola County (four additional stations). FDOT is working with local, state and federal funding partners to further expand service north to DeLand in Volusia County, which would complete the 61.5-mile system.

Future projects: When fully built, SunRail will span 61.5 miles, with 17 stations, linking Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties. The total project capital costs for phases 1, 2 North and 2 South is $615 million.




The Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) is the principal rapid-transit system in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The agency operates almost exclusively in Fulton, Clayton and DeKalb counties, with bus service to two destinations in Cobb County and a single rail station in Clayton County at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Service launched: Heavy rail, 1979
Route miles: 48, heavy rail
Rolling stock: 338 rail cars
Annual ridership: 72 million on heavy rail, unlinked passenger trips (2015)*
Annual operating cost: $448.5 million (MARTA’s total net operating expenses for FY2016)
Annual capital cost: $283 million (FY2016 Capital Improvement Program, proposed)
Stations: 38

Major projects: Atlanta voters on Nov. 8 will consider a ballot measure that asks for a half-penny sales tax levy that would raise an estimated $2.5 billion over the next 40 years to support some MARTA projects. Among the projects that could be built if the referendum passes is a light-rail line that would connect areas of southwest Atlanta, a transit station at Greenbriar Mall, on-demand circulators that operate in neighborhoods, infill stations, additional fixed-bus routes and other enhancements and expansion initiatives that would link to the Atlanta BeltLine as well as MARTA’s existing bus-and-rail network.

Information sources: *,
** APTA Public Transportation Ridership Report

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