Burnham Yard Transportation Planning Study

About the Study

The first step in the study of Burnham Yard is to explore options for improved freight and passenger rail through the area by completing a technical pre-NEPA Transportation Planning Study (“Study”) that began in October 2022 and will conclude in Summer 2023. The Study will recommend one or more track layout alternatives for the Consolidated Main Line (CML) location and enhancement of RTD light rail while maintaining options for Front Range Passenger Rail (FRPR) within Burnham Yard and the surrounding areas.
The process will carefully consider technical elements such as optimizing rail alignment geometry and operations, avoiding impacts to historical structures and other community and environmental resources, and allowing for redevelopment of the remaining land. The process will also incorporate key stakeholder input, by engaging them in workshops and interviews. The result will be the proposal of alternative(s) that improve local and regional transportation options in and around the site and allow opportunities for the reuse of the site to support future development. The recommended alternative is expected to impact about 17 of the property’s 58 acres.

Burnhard Yard Study Area Map

Burnham Yard Study Area

Major Study Outcomes

Major Outcomes of the Study include:

  • Understanding potential environmental impacts of these investments by completing a technical pre-National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis and documentation
  • Creating a Vision and Goals Statement to guide decision-making
  • Developing a preliminary range of track alignment alternatives in line with the project vision
  • Choosing a recommended track alignment alternative to be assessed further in the NEPA process

Study Timeline

Burnham Study Schedule Graphic

Steps of the study:

  • Establish Goals & Criteria (October to November 2022)
  • Develop Alternatives (November to December 2022)
  • Narrow Alternatives (January to February 2023)
  • Choose Recommended Alternative (February through Summer 2023)
  • Ongoing Stakeholder Engagement (October 2022 through Summer 2023), which will
  • include community and equity interviews, info sessions, and coordination with agencies

For close to 150 years, Burnham Yard was a central agent of economic activity for the Denver Metro region. The land was acquired by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad in 1871—five years before Colorado became a state—and remained a driving force of economic activity for several decades. Burnham Yard served as a repair, refueling, maintenance, manufacturing, and storage facility for a series of railroads until 2016. In 2021, CTIO purchased the land from the Union Pacific Railroad. Over time significant changes occurred to Burnham Yard’s community, architecture, and commerce, all of which are detailed by Historic Denver in their 2017 Research Report.