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RTD officials announce quiet zones for A Line gates in Denver

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, along with RTD officials, said the quiet zones will begin March 1.

DENVER — The horns that blare along the Denver section of the A Line crossings will soon stay quiet, at least most of the time.

"An announcement for which we have been waiting a long time," said Regional Transportation District board chairman Doug Tisdale on Friday.

The A Line is the train that runs between Union Station in downtown Denver and Denver International Airport. RTD has been operating the A Line for nearly three years without the federal government’s official stamp of approval.

The Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) biggest issue with the A Line stems from timing on its crossing gates, saying they are inconsistent and can stay down too long. Regulators originally required the horns to blare and flaggers to stand at each of the train’s 11 crossings because the timing of the gates didn’t meet government standards – regulators felt they came down too early or stayed down too long. 

"I know that RTD staff and board members are asked every day, when are the train horns going to go silent?" said RTD General Manager Dave Genova. "I could not be happier to tell you all today that we know that date, and that date is March 1."

Well, March 1 as long as the FRA does not object during this 21-day waiting period.

"This 21-day time period, we really don't anticipate hearing any more from the FRA about this, that was indicated to us at our last meeting," said Genova.

The horns currently sound along the A Line 21 hours a day.

"I have sat on the back patios of residences, I have stood in the hotels along Quebec (Street) and the airport corridor and I have listened as horns have blared all hours of the day and night," said Hancock.

If everything had gone to plan, the horns would never have sounded from the start, when the A Line first opened in April 2016. Next with Kyle Clark wanted to know if RTD was taking too much credit for something that's three years late.

"I would say it's monumental if you live right along the A Line. That on March 1, they will hear many fewer train horns than they do today," said Genova.

Many fewer, and not none at all.

They will blow at University of Colorado A Line crossings under certain circumstances involving safety concerns. The operator of the A Line has discretion.

Gates, lights and bells will continue to activate and sound at crossings, as a warning to car and pedestrian traffic.

The quiet zones in Denver also apply to freight trains, so those trains won't have to sound their horns in the city and county of Denver anymore.

RELATED: Denver officially asks FRA for permission to quiet A Line horns

RELATED: Answers to your A Line questions

Denver and RTD officials in August 2018 asked the FRA for a waiver to stop the blaring horns.

RTD in December got FRA approval to remove flaggers.

RTD, also in December, submitted a detailed plan to fix issues with the crossing gates. The organization said it will do so within a year.

RELATED: RTD's a little bit closer to opening the G Line

RELATED: Flaggers again removed from A Line as RTD meets with the feds

RELATED: RTD releases 73 page plan to fix crossing gate timing

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