skip to content

RTD Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility

Commuter rail facility in the Mile-High City takes service, inspection, and maintenance to the next level.
  • Exterior of Denver Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility - Gannett Fleming

    The facility stores and maintains vehicles serving four FasTracks commuter rail lines. Photo: Michelle Meunier Photography

  • View of the facility’s six exterior tracks - Gannett Fleming

    Trains enter the facility on one of six tracks, each designed to service a specific maintenance need.

  • Train cars enter the RTD Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility-Gannett Fleming

    Upon entering, train cars remain on elevated tracks, allowing mechanics to work under the cars. Photo: Michelle Meunier Photography

  • Car hoists elevate vehicles for wheel or undercarriage maintenance - Gannett Fleming

    Car hoists elevate vehicles for wheel or undercarriage maintenance. Photo: Michelle Meunier Photography

  • Train car with skylights overhead - Gannett Fleming

    Daylighting and skylights help to reduce energy costs by as much as 32 percent. Photo: Michelle Meunier Photography

  • Commuter rail maintenance facility design seen here through Autodesk 3Ds Max Revit BIM rendering - Gannett Fleming

    Commuter rail maintenance facility design seen through Autodesk 3ds Max Revit BIM rendering.

PCL Construction Services, Inc.

Denver, Colorado

Our Role
Architecture, Industrial, Structural, Building Information Modeling, Project Management, Industrial Wastewater.

237,000 sq. feet
Construction Cost
$65 million
New Construction
4 years 6 months
  • Provides a safe, temperature-controlled facility to repair, clean, and store train cars
  • Is the first LEED® Gold certified commuter rail maintenance facility in the U.S.
  • Supports growth of mass transit in the Denver area
  • Preserves natural resources through use of environmentally responsible building materials.

In response to fast-paced population growth, Denver, Colorado, is on an aggressive path to expand its mass transit system. Under the leadership of Denver’s Regional Transportation District (RTD), the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility (CRMF) project emerged as a critical component of this comprehensive strategy. With six tracks and 36 vehicle spots, the 230,000-square-foot CRMF is a state-of-the-art building for keeping commuter cars clean and well maintained for daily riders. It is the only transit maintenance facility for vehicles that serve four new FasTracks commuter rail lines, making it essential to the success of this new transit network. The end result is a building that made history as the first LEED® Gold certified commuter rail maintenance facility in the U.S. and is a model of best practices in transit maintenance facility design.

With all of its innovations, the facility is truly a community jewel. RTD offers public tours of the CRMF to shed light on how transportation in Denver is changing and growing, while highlighting the building’s role in executing convenient, safe, and reliable transit service.

What We Did

As lead design firm, Gannett Fleming embraced the challenge of designing a four-level facility that meets and exceeds the demands of modern commuter rail operations and train maintenance. Trains enter the facility on one of six tracks, each designed to service a specific maintenance need. The layout reduces congestion and streamlines tasks, ensuring workers have access to appropriate equipment and lighting. Three tracks are elevated with an open bay under the rail to allow easy access for mechanics to work on the wheels and undercar equipment. Also, the facility’s deep foundations and the design of insulated exterior walls provide a durable building that will stand the test of time.

Through project development, Gannett Fleming’s extensive use of BIM improved design coordination, optimizing collaboration, constructability, scheduling, and efficiency. By creating and modeling the movement of equipment and materials around the site, the BIM model reduced team conflicts and delays. Autodesk Revit 3-D BIM improved architectural; structural foundation and framing; and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design coordination. Also, the CRMF project team collaborated on energy and daylight modeling to encourage reductions in energy and water consumption. The lean design approach resulted in a less costly facility that delivers sustainability and efficiency without sacrificing functionality.

Key Features

  • Stores 50 electrified multiple unit commuter cars powered by 25 kilovolt overhead catenary, with provisions for a fleet of 80 cars
  • Is part of the first transit project in the U.S. procured through a design-build-operate-maintain approach
  • Serves as the only transit maintenance facility servicing a new commuter rail line 40 miles long 
  • Includes vertical lift modules to efficiently store and organize inventory parts
  • Contains an operation control center from which the new commuter rail network, as it relates to rail dispatch, public announcements and security systems, positive train control, and audio communications, is managed
  • Use of Autodesk BIM software facilitated multidisciplinary coordination.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • LEED Gold certification
  • Efficient mechanical systems and lights contribute to a 32 percent energy savings compared to baseline data
  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures provide a 39 percent reduction in water usage
  • Radiant floor heating is served by an 89 percent efficient water boiler
  • Constructed with nearly 18 percent recycled materials and 20 percent locally sourced materials
  • Built on a 30-acre disused industrial area, which protects open space
  • Whole-building energy modeling enables energy conservation
  • Encourages cleaner transportation by including carpool designated parking spaces, bike racks, and a dedicated commuter rail stop.

Awards & Recognition

  • Best Airport/Transit Project, 2015, ENR Mountain States, Best Projects competition.

Similar Projects: Architecture, Engineering, Engineering: Facilities, Facilities: Structural, Transportation: Transit & Rail, Transportation, Transportation: Vehicle Maintenance Facilities, Transit & Rail: Vehicle Maintenance Facilities