KUSA – RTD invited select members of the media Thursday to sit down with engineers who explained technical details of the commuter rail system and the issues that have affected timing of crossing gates along the A Line.
“We want to make sure that we’re giving you the correct information and more information than we have in the past,” RTD spokesman Nate Currey told the gaggle of reporters Thursday afternoon.
RTD organized the meeting and visit to an A Line crossing Thursday to clarify what’s been going on with the timing of safety gates that often come down seconds too early and stay down seconds too long. The timing is tied to the wireless software used by the A Line’s built-in safety system called positive train control.
“We are refining the system so it predicts where the trains are more accurately and responsively,” Currey explained.
Currey said A Line crossings were safe, but three main variables have complicated the system’s ability to precisely predict a train’s position.
“The way people drive the trains, the way people get on board and get off board the trains and the way people drive their vehicles through the intersections,” Currey said.
RTD is working to upgrade software which it hopes will account for those variables.
“It’s that refinement of the wireless software as those trains move that we’re fixing right now,” Currey said.
The timing of the gates along the A Line has not been consistent enough for the federal government which has yet to sign off on RTD’s train to the plane.
Since opening last April, the A Line has been operating on waivers from the Federal Railroad Administration.
The FRA granted RTD a waiver extension February 1st that will expire April 30. Until the federal government signs off on the A Line, flaggers will be stationed at all 12 at-grade crossings along the commuter rail line.
A spokeswoman for Denver Transit Partners, the company that built and operates the A Line, told reporters Thursday she was optimistic the FRA would sign off on the A Line in 2017.