Digest: Trial begins in dispute between Denver RTD, commuter rail builders

News Wire Digest for Sept. 22: Stock car to be donated to Niles Canyon Railway; protesters block Vancouver rail line
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A trial has begun over the dispute between Denver's Regional Transportation District and the builders of three commuter rail lines, including the A Line to Denver International Airport, shown in 2018.
TRAINS: David Lassen

Tuesday morning rail news:

Trial begins in dispute between RTD, commuter rail builders

Opening what is scheduled to be a lengthy trial, lawyers representing Denver’s Regional Transportation District and the consortium that built three commuter rail lines traded blame regarding lengthy delays in opening and full operation of the rail system. The Denver Post reports the case will determine whether the RTD has to pay Denver Transit Partners $111 million for costs including employment of crossing guards on two lines where crossing gates did not operate properly, and for delays and lost revenue from a third line that opened more than two years late because of similar problems. The case is scheduled for up to four weeks, but may not finish until mid-November because of scheduling conflicts for Judge Andrew P. McCallin, who will hear the case. It is a bench trial, meaning the judge, rather than a jury will decide the verdict. The trial began two years after Denver Transit Partners sued the RTD [see “Problems with Denver airport rail line lead to lawsuit,” Trains News Wire, Sept. 21, 2018], with the RTD responding with its own suit the following month [see “Denver RTD files countersuit against commuter-train operator,” News Wire, Oct. 15, 2018].

Niles Canyon Railway to receive stock car now on display in Sonoma, Calif.
A 1934 Denver & Rio Grande stock car on display in Sonoma, Calif., is set to be donated to the Pacific Locomotive Association for use at the Niles Canyon Railway. The Sonoma Index-Tribune reports the car, described as a “dilapidated cattle train car” in a city document, is one of three displayed at the city’s former railroad station, now the Depot Park Museum. Museum director Patricia Cullinan said facility would like to address vandalism problems by removing the stock car and separating the two remaining cars, a refrigerator car and caboose, on the 184-foot section of track now holding all three. This will improve sightlines around the museum for security purposes. The car will be trucked to the railway in Sunol, Calif.

Protesters block rail route to Vancouver, B.C., port
A group of environmental protesters began a blockade of rail lines leading to the port of Vancouver, British Columbia on Monday afternoon, demanding the Canadian government stop a planned oil pipeline. CTV News reports that about two dozen members of the group Extinction Rebellion called for the end of the Trans Mountain pipeline project, which moves crude and refined oil from Alberta to Canada’s Pacific coast. The group has set up previous blockades of rail lines and a major Vancouver bridge.



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