On the way home after work, I was driving on Ridge Road and spied headlights on an approaching westbound on BNSF's Golden Sub. The headlights belonged to the Golden Switch, a local headed back to the yard at Golden. Note the tracks to the left. These tracks will ultimately serve as the commuter rail for the "Gold Line". This is a part of the FasTracks project that was started after a voter-approved tax increase in 2004. The line is scheduled to open in 2016. Tracks are being laid early here as BNSF will actually use the tracks temporarily (as a shoofly) so the existing tracks the local is on can be moved south (to the right). BNSF requires 25 feet of separation between their tracks and the commuter tracks. Otherwise, a retaining wall must be built (to protect the BNSF tracks from a possible commuter train derailment). To avoid that expense, BNSFs tracks will be shifted.
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Posted By Webmaster On Thursday, February 20, 2014 At 8:52:10 AM (PT)
Jason, you may well be correct. The information regarding BNSF requiring the wall was given to me second hand. Perhaps it is BNSF that requires the wall to avoid disrupting the commuter rail if there is a (BNSF) derailment. I suppose the separation (or wall) protects both lines from the other.
Posted By Jason Kuehn On Thursday, February 20, 2014 At 7:59:08 AM (PT)
Kevin, I think you have that backwards. The separation is to protect the commuter line (and it's huge potential liability) from a derailment on BNSF. Recall the coal train derailment on the joint line in Littleton some years ago when the wreckage from the derailment impinged on the light rail line and even derailed on car. Fortunately the driver was able to bring the speed down almost to a stop before he derailed, so there were no injuries and little damage to the light rail car.