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Stories Along the Line: Salute to Veterans

Construction on the I-225 Rail Line began this past spring. The 10.5-mile light rail line is part of the Regional Transportation District's (RTD) FasTracks transit program. When it opens in mid-2016, the new rail line is expected to ease traffic on one of the Denver area's busiest highways and connect passengers to some of the region's most important destinations.

Before You Board: I-225 Rail is all about access

Riders will have access to downtown Aurora-one of the largest and most diverse cities in the Denver metropolitan region-and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the adjacent Fitzsimons Life Science District.

Travelers will also be able to transfer at Peoria to the eastbound commuter rail line to Denver International Airport. FasTracks predicts that by 2020 daily ridership along the I-225 light rail corridor will reach 17,700.

Next Stop: Veterans Administration Hospital in Aurora

New VA Hospital under construction
New VA Hospital under construction in Aurora
The I-225 Rail Line's Colfax Station will stop at the Denver area's new Veterans Administration Hospital, which is still under construction.

When it opens in 2015, the VA hospital is expected to serve 60,000 military veterans from Colorado and surrounding states and their families. The hospital is moving to its new site on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora to be closer to its affiliate, University of Colorado Hospital.

Many doctors who teach at the CU School of Medicine also treat patients at the VA hospital. The move is apropos as the medical campus is the site of the former Fitzsimons Army Hospital, the predecessor of the now-decommissioned Fitzsimons Army Medical Center.

Little Known Facts

Aurora is the third-largest stand-alone city in Colorado and Denver's largest suburb. It was incorporated as the small prairie town of Fletcher on April 30, 1891, and has grown to a city of 154 square miles with a population of 335,000 people.

Fitzsimons, Lowry and Buckley

It also has a long military history that started with Fitzsimons Army Hospital, which was founded as Army Hospital 21 in the fall of 1918. It closed in 1999.

Old Fitzsimons Army Medical Center
The old Fitzsimons Army Hospital near I-225 and Colfax in Aurora

Lowry Air Force Base opened in 1938 and served as home to the Air Force Academy from 1955-58 while the school's campus was built in Colorado Springs. Lowry closed in 1994. Buckley Air Force Base remains fully operational. It's an Air Force Space Command base that serves more than 92,000 active duty, National Guard, reserve and retired personnel across Colorado's Front Range corridor.

Army journalism training ground

The Stethoscope was published by Fitzsimons Army Hospital
The Fitzsimons Stethoscope
The Fitzsimons Stethoscope was the newspaper published by the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center starting in the World War II era. Founded in 1943, the biweekly publication featured news, poems and other content developed by enlisted personnel, and became a training ground for young reporters serving in the Army Medical Corps. Some became distinguished civilian journalists, including Associated Press reporter and political columnist Carl Hilliard, who retired in 1999 after more than 30 years as the dean of Colorado's legislative journalists.

It Takes a Region

RTD FasTracks and its regional partners such as the City of Aurora will continue to work together to serve the Colorado public. RTD is committed to building out FasTracks, including the I-225 Rail Line, sooner rather than later so people in the region will have more transit options as they choose where to live, work and play.



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