By Rick Sallinger

DENVER (CBS4)– The Federal Railroad Administration has given RTD notice that it has until the middle of December, just two weeks, to present an action plan to fix problems on the A Line or face possible shut down of that service. The A Line has been plagued by problems since it opened in 2016.

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Many people across the Denver metro area now rely on the train, like Ed Russell who works at Denver International Airport. He helps people who need wheelchairs.

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“Pretty important, it’s the only way I get to work,” he said.

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However, ever since this line began operation, crossing gates for vehicles have had a timing issue. Now in a letter to the RTD, the Federal Railroad Administration is threatening possible revocation of its permission to operate.

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Russell hopes that will not happen, “I think it would be a terrible decision a lot of people depend on the a train.”

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Robert Sandoval moves airplanes for United, but needs the train to get there.

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“It would be disconcerting there are lots of people that take this train and look for it to be here every day,” he said.

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Like the old Lionel train sets, when the train approaches the crossing the gates are supposed to go down.

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But it’s a little more complex on the RTD commuter lines. Flaggers are required at various grade crossing because the gates come down too soon and rise up too late some of the time. RTD and contractor Denver Transit Partners have been involved in lawsuits over the issue.

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Sandoval shrugged and mused, “How long have trains been around? Two hundred years and we can’t get this one to work properly? It’s amazing.”

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RTD issued a statement saying revocation of use of the A Line would be extreme and calls its service safe and reliable. It intends to come up with an acceptable plan of action to satisfy the Federal Railroad Administration.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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