We’re not one to believe in jinxes, but it sure seems like there’s some bad juju lingering around RTD’s vaunted A Line. The “Train to the Plane” was designed to connect the airport to downtown, with a few stops along the way that would make some neighborhoods (perhaps most notably Stapleton) more accessible. All well and good, right?
Not so fast (literally, in some cases). Between construction delays, constant and various breakdowns, signaling issues and being actually struck by lightning — twice — the A Line does seem to have been born under a bad sign.
Now comes the news that for the next eight weeks, including two of the busiest travel holidays of the calendar year, there will be “intermittent routine maintenance” on the A Line overnight, which will cause delays in the late evenings and early mornings. (Please pay no attention to the fact that the terms “intermittent” and “routine” are not exactly compatible.)
So what else could go wrong with the A Line at this point? The mind boggles…but let’s prognosticate.
We’ve already had the lightning strikes, so we know that either Odin or Thor has a mad-on for the A Line. If we get more Judeo-Christian about it, there’s no reason to expect that the A Line will be spared a plague of locusts that could gum up the works of the train, chew up electrical lines and generally disgust riders step after crunchy step.
7. It Just Doesn’t Think It Can Anymore
We all know that the main driver of any train engine is sheer determination. After all these troubles and tribulations, it’s no wonder that the little A Line would get discouraged from getting over the slight incline from DIA to downtown. “I…think…I….” the little A Line will begin, and then will be heard to say, “Ah, fuck it.”
6. We Might Finally Develop Teleportation Tech
It would be just our luck. We pay for all these rail systems and finally get a mass transit system that approaches the ones that have been working in other major metropolitan areas for over a century, and all of a sudden the technology advances so that we can individually just – pow – be someplace. Granted, even if we developed this technology, it would probably be suppressed by oil and gas, the automotive industry and the corporate oligarchy, so the fate of the trains will be the least of our worries, sheeple.
5. Giant Carnivorous Subterranean Worms
If Tremors taught us nothing, it’s that when the Graboids attack — and attack they will, my friends — transportation is going to be one of the first things that will become less than safe. If roads and free-range vehicles can be dangerous, there’s no way for a track system like the A Line to survive, let alone operate on a schedule. On the bright side, we won’t have to worry about all that “intermittent routine maintenance.”
Keep reading for more ways the A Line could get worse.
4. The Great Stapleton Adolescent Uprising of ‘17
Can we all just admit that Stapleton is a giant social experiment to see how long a city can concentrate children and entitlement before it explodes? After all, sweet little tots grow up to be angry and ungrateful teens, and when that inevitably happens — when the density of resentment hits critical mass, and that hundredth monkey of a sullen seventeen-year-old finally breaks the boundaries of Stapleton’s protective veneer — things are going to get nasty. Granted, when the kids take to the A Line platform to head downtown, it’ll probably look more like a high-school rendition of West Side Story (lots of dancing and snapping), but, man, how annoying will that tiny revolution be?
3. A Zombie Apocalypse
Denver has a long relationship with zombies, and perhaps surprisingly, it's not all that negative. But the shuffling undead would play havoc with commuter rail — not so much about getting on the tracks, because there are already cow-catchers on the fronts of trains to help deflect obstacles that might otherwise derail the process. No, the issue with the Zombie Apocalypse is that the walking dead don’t really need mass transit. They walk. It’s right there in their name. If they need to get to the airport, they’ll just leave the house the night before — you know, in order to get to their jobs as TSA agents.
2. We Could Move the Airport Again
Denver has already established that its international airports are really just scout locations for pre-planned residential communities, so once the commercial infrastructure is built out near where DIA sits now, we’ll begin construction at a new airport with more questionable design elements even farther outside the city. Current options include land near Byers, Brighton or possibly somewhere in Kansas.
1. The Train Could Get Hit by Santa’s Sleigh
Ho, ho, HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO SHIT!
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.