The commission working to establish passenger service along Colorado’s Front Range considered these three alternatives. (Southwest Chief and Front Range Passenger Rail Commission)
— Placing tracks in the middle of or adjacent to Interstate 25 the entire distance, with a branch to Denver International Airport, shown in purple on the adjacent map;
— Utilizing existing highway and RTD transit rights-of-way north of Denver and the BNSF-UP rail corridor to the south, shown in yellow;
— A BNSF route north of Denver and the BNSF-UP tracks to the south, shown in green. This is the only alternative directly serving the city of Boulder, which last saw passenger service in 1967.
After some debate, the members passed a resolution indicating preference for the third option.
A portion of this article talks about bypassing Union Station, but a bypass certainly wouldn’t be very far out of the way. As it stands now, the Pikes Peak and Colorado Sprints subdivisions travel parallel to the light rail line that serves Denver Union Station, which is about two blocks away from the current terminal. That stretch is wide enough for four tracks, and that is separate from the light rail. Theoretically, if the southbound track was realigned so that it was on the western side of the ROW, the use of a center platform where the southbound track is now would leave enough space to keep both tracks as well as the current BNSF passing siding, with maybe even enough from for a dedicated freight bypass track. The Front Range Corridor could make that its stop instead of routing to the Union Station.