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Denver's 'Train to the Plane' turns 5

The 23-mile rail line serves customers between Union Station and DIA in 37 minutes.
Credit: Regional Transportation District

DENVER — Denver's "Train to the Plane" is celebrating its fifth year of service.

Since Regional Transportation District (RTD) opened the University of Colorado A Line five years ago, more than 30 million customers have taken Denver's first commuter rail line to Denver International Airport (DIA).

RTD and Colorado public officials held a celebration Tuesday, April 27 to mark the fifth anniversary of the train's opening. 

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, RTD General Manager and CEO Debra Johnson, RTD Board Chair Angie Rivera-Malpiede, Denver Transit Partners' Doug Allen and DIA CEO Kim Day were among those at Tuesday's event at Denver Union Station.

> Above video: 2017 story on A Line's first anniversary.

RTD said ridership on the 23-mile A Line has grown steadily over its five years of operation. During August 2019, the month with highest ridership, the University of Colorado A Line carried more than 744,000 customers – about 24,000 per day.

According to DIA, the A Line's electrified trains on the line have collectively traveled close to 17.5 million miles – a distance that encompasses more than 36 trips to the moon and back.

“With every decision, RTD aims to provide our customers with a viable transportation network that is comprehensive and seamless, and the University of Colorado A Line is a notable part of our system,” said Johnson. “The addition of this line has broadened the connections our customers can make and led agencies worldwide to ask how we made it all possible.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, RTD said its commuter rail services retained 45% of pre-COVID-19 ridership numbers – the best in the nation for commuter rail.

RELATED: RTD's 'Train to Plane' plagued with problems before opening day

RELATED: Literally just 113 facts about DIA

The CU A Line was part of RTD’s 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan to expand transit across the Denver metro region.

Construction on the project began in 2010 and the last rail was laid in 2014. The A Line has seven stations from Denver's Union Station to DIA.

RELATED: Last April, DIA was almost empty and planes were parked on the runway. Here's what it looks like now

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