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Jan 2024 E Line Derailment

GDT > Features > Light Rail Safety > Jan 2024 E Line Derailment

Incident Description

The spot where the 3-car train came to a stop. The leading unit (#125) is at the bottom left of the picture.

On Wednesday January 24, 2024 an RTD light rail train, operating a southbound “E” Line service from Union Station to Ridgegate Parkway, derailed on a “Hi-Rail” access pad located immediately north of Hampden Ave and approx. 1/2 mile north of Southmoor Station. The train consisted of 3x Siemens SD-100 units with light rail vehicle (LRV) #125 leading. The LRV began shedding wheel and tire components between Louisiana Pearl Station and University Station and the operator noticed “performance issues”. By Colorado Station, wheel and tire components were being shed at an increasing rate. The operator contacted Light Rail Control asking about previous reports of issues with that specific train from other operators and was told there were none. The train continued southbound from Colorado to Yale Station with “significant performance issues” and just south of Yale Station, experienced catastrophic failure of one wheel / tire assembly with another tire also being affected. The train finally came to a stop when it struck the “hi-rail” access grad crossing pad at Hampden Ave. There were no injuries. There was significant damage to alignment infrastructure, rolling stock and the wheel structure of the LRV.

Damage to the “hi-rail” access pad panels at Hampden just before the train came to a stop. The train was traveling from left to right. Damage to the tie and ballast in the bottom left of the picture indicates a wheel, foreign object or loose part was damaging the track before the train got to the crossing.

An impedance bond cover under the train that was ripped off and collected as the derailed unit ran over it..

Initial Response

As the incident constituted “A Derailment (Mainline or yard)” under 49 CFR Part 674.33, it was reported by RTD to the Colorado PUC and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) within two hours of happening.

RTD initially described the incident as a “disabled train” in its service alerts.

The picture that clearly shows this was a derailment (not a “disabled train”) and should have been described as such.

Train Recovery

Initial efforts to re-rail the train using blocks.

Initial efforts to re-rail the leading LRV proved difficult due to the constrained nature of the site and snowfall. The LRV was finally re-railed on Monday January 29th and towed to Mariposa Yard.