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The State of Colorado has awarded funds to Rocky Mountain Rail Authority (RMRA), an
intergovernmental authority that was created for the purpose of conducting a study of the feasibility of providing high speed passenger rail service along Colorado’s Front Range from Wyoming to New Mexico and along the I-70 Corridor from Denver to the Utah state border. The Rail Feasibility Study scope includes the assessment of the feasibility of providing intercity rail service in these corridors and will address feasibility factors relating to Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) High Speed Rail Designation for each project corridor.
The rail feasibility study will answer the following questions:
- Whether the proposed corridor includes rail lines where railroad speeds of 90 miles or more per hour are occurring or can reasonably be expected to occur in the future.
- The projected ridership associated with the proposed corridor.
- The percentage of the corridor over which trains will be able to operate at maximum cruise speed, taking into account such factors as topography and other traffic on the line.
- The projected benefits to nonriders, such as congestion relief on other modes transportation servicing the corridor.
- The amount of State and local financial support that can reasonably be anticipated for the improvement of the line and related facilities.
- The cooperation of the owner of the right-of-way that can reasonably be expected in the operation of the high-speed rail passenger service in the corridor.
When the study is completed, the RMRA Board will evaluate the study findings and based on those findings, consider the appropriate course of action for the RMRA organization. If supported by the study, RMRA will make a formal request to the FRA for consideration of the 11th High Speed Rail Corridor Designation for the Rocky Mountain Corridor and continue to pursue passenger rail in Colorado.
Objectives of the rail feasibility study are discussed here.
The rail feasibility study was initiated in the summer of 2008 and is expected to be completed in approximately 10 months. The study phases and anticipated duration are shown below.
A steering committee comprised of representatives of RMRA’s member agencies meets monthly to review study progress and to direct activities of the study consultant. Study consultant presentations are provided below. Steering Committee minutes are available (here.
An independent peer review panel is being used to improve the study process by allowing review of study assumptions, databases, technical methodology, and study outputs produced by the study team. Key areas for the peer review includes travel demand, revenues forecasting systems alternative technology, operating assumptions, and evaluation options and overall system design, cost, finance and implementation. These represent the key elements of the study and the peer review process will help to ensure the most effective range of options, alternatives, and methodologies are adopted for the study. The panel will meet twice on each subject, first to review study methodologies and second to review the study results. The first panel session was held on November 19 and 20, 2008 (click here to view a summary report). The second peer review panel meeting is scheduled for May 20 and 21 in Denver.
Products of the rail feasibility study are a series of technical reports and a final report. Links to these documents will be provided below as they are completed and reviewed by the Feasibility Study Steering Committee. In addition, the study consultant led an Alternatives Evaluation Workshop on April 24, 2009; presentation slides are also included.Disclaimer: The presentations on the RMRA website are preliminary and do not include all the data and analyses planned for the project. Presentations are provided for informational purposes on the RMRA High Speed Rail Feasibility Study. The presentations show preliminary results of work being undertaken. Furthermore, these interim presentations are not approved by the Study Steering Committee or the RMRA Board.