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Plan to restore R Line service after light rail derailment approved, RTD says

Full service is expected to be restored the week of Nov. 28 after a train derailed at the intersection of Exposition Avenue and Sable Boulevard in September.

AURORA, Colo. — Light rail service for part of the R Line is expected to be restored the week of Nov. 28 after a train derailment in September, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) said Wednesday.

Service on a four-mile stretch between the Aurora Metro Center and 13th Avenue stations has been interrupted since the derailment at the intersection of Exposition Avenue and Sable Boulevard on Sept. 21.

On Nov. 4, RTD said it submitted its investigative report and corresponding action plan to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission as part of a safety certification process. 

That plan was approved by the commission on Wednesday and includes the following:

  • Implement a stop-and-proceed prior to the intersection at Sable and Exposition, meaning that light rail trains must stop prior to proceeding through the intersection.
  • Reduce speed on the track approaching the Sable and Exposition curve from 35 mph to 25 mph.

RTD said crews safely removed a support pole damaged in the derailment and adjusted the overhead catenary wire system, which provides power to the light rail.

RELATED: WATCH: Video shows RTD train derailment

The commission also said more information is needed about two points in RTD's proposal:

  • Additional signage to warn of the Sable/Exposition curve
  • Relocation of a radar sign farther north to allow more advance warning

RTD said it will provide the additional information that was requested by Dec. 31. 

In addition to the action plan, RTD said it has given supplemental training to light rail operators specifically targeting speed adherence. They said training specific to the Sable and Exposition location will be completed before service is restored.

RELATED: State law keeps police, media from seeing RTD report

A police camera at the intersection captured the moment the train derailed as it was coming around a curve. Watch below:  

The Aurora Police Department said paramedics checked out 24 people riding on the train, including three people who were taken to the hospital.

The derailment was the second at the intersection in the past four years. A woman was ejected when another R Line train derailed there during a snowstorm in 2019. Several other people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after that derailment.

From January 2019: Woman ejected from train after it derails in Aurora during early morning snowstorm

From February 2019: RTD: Operator of derailed light rail train in Aurora approached curve too fast, causing woman to be ejected

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