Have you taken the “Train to the Plane” yet? The University of Colorado A Line from Union Station to DIA has been up and running since April. It can be a convenient way to get to the airport, or you could ride it, as I did, as an interesting way to spend an afternoon.
Be sure to allow plenty of time to wander the historic Union Station before catching the train. A number of great restaurants and small shops are located there. Alternately, you can just watch travelers and visitors mill around the Great Hall. Sometimes known as “Denver’s Living Room”, the 12,000 square foot space functions as a hotel lobby, public space and train waiting room. There is much to admire, from the tall multi-story arched windows and terrazzo floors to the massive chandeliers and unique historical remnants.
Catching the train to the airport is easy. There are six very quick stops at stations along the way. One item of note along the route is the Art-N-Transit program. RTD aims to “enhance the design, aesthetic quality and user friendliness of transit projects…” and “celebrate the diverse cultural, ethnic and historical richness of the many communities RTD serves”, so commissioned artworks can be enjoyed at many of the stations. You could disembark at each station to view the art if you had the time. The most interesting aspect to me, as a Denver native, was seeing parts of neighborhoods I hadn’t seen before and gaining an appreciation of the massive scope of this whole project.
If you don’t have a plane to catch when you arrive at DIA, be sure to explore the Westin Hotel lobby with its clean, futuristic looking lines and intriguing lighting. There are also several large-scale art installations at the end of the line, including “Field of Air”, a fascinating wind-activated sculpture and “Shadow Array”, which features 236 beetle-kill logs that create shifting shadows and patterns.
Although the A Line has encountered a few challenges in its early months of operation, there is much to celebrate, as Denver joins other big cities in creating a viable public option for getting to the airport.