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T-Rex Opening
Denver RTD T-Rex Opening

Posted: March 2, 2007

On November 17, 2006, the Denver Regional Transportation District's light rail system doubled in size with the opening of the T-Rex/Southeast Extensions. This expansion included 19 miles of completely grade-separated, double-track light rail routes, extending service along I-25 from the Broadway station to Lincoln Avenue in Douglas County and along I-225 from the junction with I-25 to Parker Road in the city of Aurora. There are 13 new stations, and all but one have an associated park-and-ride lot. Also included in the project were 34 new light rail vehicles and a new light rail maintenance facility.

  This page features photos taken on the new extension on the opening day. Not all stations on the extension are featured; it took another day of shooting, Saturday, November. 18, when the entire light rail system was open for free rides, to do that.

To view larger versions of the images, simply click on the image.
 Workers install new signs at I-25/Broadway to direct passengers where to board the three new lines that will be serving the station.
 Free rides were offered on the Southeast Extension up to I-25/Broadway. This sign awaits intallation for its one day of duty.
 A new directional sign for the existing C and D routes to Mineral Station in Littleton await installation on the morning of Nov. 17, 2006, as a train to Mineral arrives.
 In a pleasant twist of "last runs with buses replacing streetcars," the opposite happened with many RTD Express bus routes. This bus, headed to the Platte Garage has completed the last morning inbound run of 89X. After the PM rush hour, the 89X ceased to exist.
 Buses were used to announce the new rail lines with billboards containing catchy phrases such as this one, "Ain't Nothing Like the Rail Thing, Baby."
 Vans belonging to television stations, utility crews and event sponsors line the platform at Lincoln Avenue Station. The rectangles on the parking garage at left change colors as the viewing angle varies.
 The current "end-of-track" south of Lincoln Station. These long tail tracks had no problem holding the several light rail vehicles that were used to handle the opening crowds. Though somewhat difficult to see, note the rectangles on the parking garage in the left distance appear blue from this location.
 Attendees pickup information and opening day goodies at RTD's information area at the north end of the Lincoln Station platform while waiting for the opening ceremonies to begin.
 The first trains for the ceremonies arrive at Lincoln station. Yes, both trains were heading south, running side-by-side.
 While speeches are in progress in the white tent at right, the crowd has gathered on the platform. The banner is in place on the track at left, inbound to Denver.
 BANNER BREAKING! The train that will carry VIPs on the first "official" trip of the Southeast Extension has done its job in front of a mass of photographers and the public.
 The VIP train heads north from Lincoln station. The pedestrian bridge over I-25 at the next station, County Line, can be seen poking above the highway overpass at the left of this photo. Along I-25, the line runs exclusively on the west side of the highway.
 The first train offering rides to the public boards at Lincoln Station. Note the large number of trains in the turnback tracks south of the station.
 Outbound, Inbound, New and Old. On the left a train with one of the new SD-160 light rail vehicles purchased as part of the T-Rex project has just arrived at Lincoln Station, while on the right one of the second group of SD-100s purchased for the system in the 1990s awaits passengers to board before heading to I-25/Broadway.
 Just half an hour after the first train headed north, the crowds have largely been accomodated on following trains. In addition, new celebrants have arrived on trains from I-25/Broadway and other stations on the new lines.
 Along I-225, the light rail runs in the center of the highway. A two-car train is approaching the Dayton Station, one of two stations on the I-225 branch.
 Between Dayton Station and Nine Mile, the highway curves around the base of the Cherry Creek dam (at right.) The end of the line at Nine Mile can be seen at the top of the hill in the left center background under the road interchange ramps for Parker Road.
 A sliver of undeveloped land just south of Dry Creek Station provides a parire-like foreground in contrast to the bold arches of the pedestrian bridge that links the east side of I-25 to the station.
 The zone fare tables for the expanded Denver light rail system.
 The Colorado Station is the only one not immediately adjacent to I-25, and is also the only one below ground level. The route here is on former right-of-way of the Colorado and Southern line from Denver to Colorado Springs.
 Nighttime at University Station...almost. It is actually only 5:10 p.m., but the opening was only a month away from the shortest day of the year. A southbound train is departing for Lincoln Station while an inbound train pauses in the background.
 The golden rays of the soon-to-set sun reflect off the sides of a two-car train of the new 200-series light rail vehicles as it crosses Broadway and curves around the former headquarters building of the Gates Rubber Co.
 A "Special Service" train has just arrived at I-25/Broadway. The Southeast Extension trains turned back south using a crossover just north of the station all while normal service was being provided on routes C and D. This station was the southern terminal of the original 5-mile starter line that opened in 1994.
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