Groundhog Hears Shadow; Train Horn to Blast for Six More Months

In a recent Front Porch article, RTD acknowledged the A Line train horn would be blaring for at least another six months. They came to this conclusion after using the most sophisticated technology at their fingertips; the groundhog. “We have a groundhog, named Thomas,” explained RTD spokesperson Tina Jaquez. “Every six months or so we pull him out to see if he hears his shadow. If he hears his shadow, we know it will be at least six more months where we will have to use the train horn to alert people at the crossings.” The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) says the A Line is not up to safety standards in regards to crossing gates going up and down in a timely manner. “We need to fix a few bugs,” says Jaquez. “But, we really don’t know how to fix those things. It probably seems like it would be easy, given the technological advances of today, but we just aren’t sure where to start. So, we will keep using the groundhog until we get a better idea.” The explanation doesn’t sit well with those living near the train crossings. “I was totally fine with this at first,” said Central Park North resident Jill Propp. “But it is getting absolutely ridiculous. I am pretty sure we could get the brainpower in Stapleton to figure out a way to make sure these gates go up and down at the right times.” Steve Otto also is struggling to understand the problem. “They use these trains all over the country,” argues Otto. “You’re telling me they can’t find one contract worker to come out here and get them going in the right direction? It seems like they aren’t making any progress. And of course they aren’t; they’re relying on a groundhog!” Jaquez says it is possible that the A Line will be fully functional in six months, and they may be able to stop using the horns. “There’s a chance we will be able to operate to FRA standards in six months. But, that’s really not up to me. You’re going to have to ask the groundhog.” ]]>

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