FrontRunner

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FrontRunner
UTA FrontRunner logo.svg
A FrontRunner train heading toward Davis County
A FrontRunner train heading toward Davis County
Overview
OwnerUtah Transit Authority (UTA)
LocaleWasatch Front, Utah, U.S.
Transit typeCommuter rail
Number of stations17
Daily ridership12,600 (weekdays, Q3 2022)[1]
Annual ridership2,062,400 (2021)[2]
Headquarters3600 South 700 West
South Salt Lake, Utah[3]
Websiterideuta.com
Operation
Began operationApril 26, 2008; 14 years ago (2008-04-26)[4]
Reporting marksUTAX[5]
Technical
System length88 miles (142 km)
No. of tracks1–2
Track gauge4 ft 8+12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge
Top speed79 mph (127 km/h)
System map

Brigham City
(future)
Pleasant View
(closed)
Business Depot Ogden
(future)
Ogden
Roy
Clearfield
Layton
Farmington
Woods Cross
UTA Warm Springs facility
North Temple TRAX (light rail)
Salt Lake Central Amtrak TRAX (light rail)
Murray TRAX (light rail)
South Jordan
Draper
Lehi
American Fork
Vineyard
Orem Central
Provo Central
future extension
Spanish Fork
Payson
Nephi

FrontRunner (reporting mark UTAX) is a commuter rail train operated by the Utah Transit Authority that operates along the Wasatch Front in north-central Utah with service from the Ogden Intermodal Transit Center in central Weber County through Davis County, Salt Lake City, and Salt Lake County to Provo Central station in central Utah County. In 2021, the system had a ridership of 2,062,400, or about 12,600 per weekday as of the third quarter of 2022.

Description[edit]

FrontRunner runs south from Ogden to Provo with a total length of 81.2 miles (130.7 km). Before the Pleasant View station was closed, the total length was 88 miles (142 km).

The route uses a portion of the right-of-way of the historic Utah Central Railroad, built in 1869 to connect the First transcontinental railroad with Salt Lake City and acquired by the Union Pacific Railroad in 1878.[6] UTA-owned track parallels UP track until Ogden, where, until August 10, 2018 (date of last train), when service to Pleasant View was "Suspended Indefinitely", Union Pacific and Utah Transit Authority share the final 6 mi (9.7 km) of track to Pleasant View.

Most of the route used by FrontRunner is single-tracked (though it runs parallel to UP tracks), with double-track at stations and several other points along the route to allow trains to pass each other. FrontRunner closely parallels Interstate 15 for most of the route.

There are about 25 round trips on weekdays between Ogden and Provo (through Salt Lake City). Trains run hourly from about 4:30 a.m. to just after midnight on weekdays (increasing to half-hour runs for the morning and evening commutes). On Saturdays trains run every hour from about 6 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. on Sunday morning. As of August 2017 FrontRunner does not run during most hours of Sundays.[7] FrontRunner operates some service on holidays other than Thanksgiving, Christmas and the observed Christmas holiday, and New Year's Day and the observed New Year's holiday.[8] FrontRunner is a push–pull train locomotive system (with the locomotives running backwards half the time).[9] FrontRunner trains face north, regardless of the direction of travel.

Several stations have a Park and Ride lot. There is no charge for parking in these lots, and the number of parking spaces available at each station ranges from "limited" to 874.[10]

History[edit]

In 1998 UTA tested a commuter train set borrowed from the Altamont Corridor Express along Union Pacific track which runs alongside what would eventually be the FrontRunner route.[11] In the same year, UTA began negotiations with Union Pacific to purchase the former Salt Lake Shops. By 2002 an agreement to purchase the shop and renovate it to become UTA's Warm Springs Shop was approved.[12] Work started on the initial section of the line from Salt Lake City to Ogden in 2005. Seven of the planned eight stations opened to riders on April 26, 2008.[4] Eight more stations opened on December 10, 2012, and one more on August 8, 2022.

The train was named "FrontRunner" because its route runs nearly the length of the Wasatch Front.

FrontRunner North[edit]

What is now known as the FrontRunner North division was the original segment of the line that opened to the public on April 26, 2008. At the time, the service only ran from Ogden to Salt Lake Central with stops in Roy, Clearfield, Layton, Farmington, and Woods Cross.

The station in Pleasant View, which is north of Ogden, was supposed to open along with the rest of the line in April 2008, but it was plagued by a variety of service problems stemming from the last 6 miles of track being shared with Union Pacific Railroad freight service. Firstly, improvements had to be made to the track to make it suitable for passenger operations, but that work was delayed when railroad workers were diverted to repair tracks damaged by a landslide near Oakridge, Oregon.[13] A bus bridge was used between Ogden and Pleasant View until September 29, 2008, when the track improvements were complete.[14][15]

Another issue was that the shared track was still dispatched by Union Pacific, who did not want FrontRunner service to interfere with their busy freight corridor in Ogden. As such, they limited FrontRunner to one southbound train in the morning and one northbound in the evening. Riders were required to transfer from one train to another at the Ogden Intermodal Transit Center. In January 2009 this was increased to three trains for each morning and evening, with one running straight through in each direction, though the other two still required transfers between trains.[16]

Service to Pleasant View was temporarily suspended on September 6, 2011. Besides the limitations on how many trains could run north of Ogden, low ridership exacerbated the problem.[17] Limited weekday-only commuter service to Pleasant View resumed on December 10, 2012 with two trains picking up passengers in the morning and two trains dropping off passengers in the evening, with no transfers between trains required.[18]

In February 2018, UTA announced they would be indefinitely suspending trains between Ogden and Pleasant View starting on August 12, 2018, both due to new federal safety guidelines and low ridership to that station.[19][20] The station platforms at Pleasant View are still there and the facility is used for bus transfers and parking, and there is also the possibility the station could see trains again if FrontRunner service is expanded further north to Brigham City.[21]

FrontRunner South[edit]

FrontRunner South refers to 44 miles (71 km) that were added to the FrontRunner line after the opening of FrontRunner North in 2008. The extension expands the former southern terminus from Salt Lake Central to Provo Station. This expansion was planned early on to address the growing transportation need along the Interstate 15 corridor.[22] The Utah Transit Authority began work on the line after a ground breaking ceremony on August 12, 2008, and seven new stations were built in Murray, South Jordan, Draper, Lehi, American Fork, Orem, and Provo. Service began on the new section on December 10, 2012.[23][24] Funds were appropriated to accommodate this project in 2006 via a sales tax increase referendum,[25] and the remaining funding was obtained through a letter of intent signed with the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on September 24, 2007.

Following its opening for service in 2012, early estimates of ridership for FrontRunner South exceeded expectations. UTA anticipated about 6,800 riders per day, but during the first week of operation, they reported more than 7,800 riders per day. However, UTA also indicated that it was not entirely unexpected as there is usually a high number of riders when a line opens before a longer term pattern of regular ridership is established.[26] At the same time FrontRunner South opened for service, North Temple - a new infill station on the FrontRunner North segment - opened as well.

FrontRunner South opened with service to Utah County at about the same time as the I-15 CORE project was completed (which was a rebuild of I-15 along much of the same corridor as FrontRunner South).[27] Both projects added substantial transportation improvements to areas south of Salt Lake City.

The city of Lehi continues investigating options to build overpasses or underpasses to separate the rail traffic from the Main Street vehicle traffic, though the status of this is unlikely as the cost of the project would exceed twenty million dollars.[28][29][30] Since the original planning for FrontRunner South, two additional east-west alternative routes in Lehi have opened that do not have at-grade crossings for rail traffic: 2100 North (SR-85) and Pioneer Crossing (SR-145).

On August 8, 2022, Vineyard Station, a new infill station on the Frontrunner South segment between Orem and American Fork stations, opened.

Future extensions[edit]

Future extensions are envisioned that would eventually encompass over 135 miles (217 km) along the Wasatch Front, providing service as far north as Brigham City and as far south as Nephi.[31]

The location of the station in Brigham City will likely be on newly built right-of-way near the western end of 200 South, where the Utah Transit Authority already owns a Park and Ride lot, only used for vanpool services to Thiokol, with an additional station in Willard just east of I-15 at about 750 North.[32] An agreement between the UTA, Ogden City, and Weber County to construct a station at Business Depot Ogden was reached in 2020.[33]

UTA has specific plans to extend FrontRunner further south to Payson, and has purchased the former Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad Tintic Branch tracks that run between Provo and Payson to serve as their right-of-way. The need for a flying junction that would have had to be built just southeast of the Provo Station to allow FrontRunner to cross over the active Union Pacific tracks there prevented UTA from building this extension as part of the FrontRunner South project. UTA has now made a deal with Union Pacific where FrontRunner would run down tracks on the west side of the Provo Yard until halfway though the westerly curve to cross under I-15, where new tracks will be laid across a field to connect with UTA's right-of-way. The location of the station in Springville is anticipated to be approximately 1500 West and 450 South.[Note 1] The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has announced that accommodations for a FrontRunner station just west of I-15 are included in the overall plans for a new interchange at Spanish Fork Center Street. The location of the station in Payson is anticipated to be just west of I-15 at about 800 South.[34] As with all existing FrontRunner and TRAX stations, all future extensions of FrontRunner will be integrated with UTA's bus system.

In 2021, Utah passed legislation to fund a project to double track FrontRunner at strategic locations.[35] The double tracking would allow for the system to increase maximum frequency from thirty minutes to fifteen,[36] and potentially add express trains with limited stops.[37]

Route[edit]

A map of the entire UTA rail system in August 2013

FrontRunner is designated as UTA Route 750.

The entire route was built within the existing Union Pacific corridor and FrontRunner tracks run parallel to the Union Pacific tracks, sometimes on the east and sometimes on the west. Both times FrontRunner switches sides with the Union Pacific tracks it crosses over top of the Union Pacific tracks. Except for the very northernmost section, FrontRunner operates on its own dedicated tracks.

Quiet zone[edit]

The entire length of FrontRunner corridor (including the southern extension) has been approved as a "quiet zone" by the Federal Railroad Administration. Normally, federal regulations require that train operators sound their horns for fifteen to twenty seconds as they approach any road crossing.[38] Essentially, a quiet zone designation eliminates this requirement. However, for obvious safety reasons, they are not prohibited from sounding their horn, if appropriate. The quiet zone applies to all trains (including freight trains) within the same corridor. Each city along the route had to individually apply for the designation, but UTA provided substantial assistance with the process. Several safety upgrades must be in place at all public crossings in order to receive quiet zone approval.[38] In addition to the normal automatic warning bells and lights, required upgrades include crossing guards, signs warning that trains do not blare horns in the area, and raised medians (which prevent cars from driving around lowered gates). There are also additional safety features for pedestrians. According to UTA, prior to the southern extension, FrontRunner had the longest quiet zone in the nation, with the southern extension doubling the length of the previous quiet zone.[39][40][41][42]

Utah County[edit]

Art at the Provo Station

FrontRunner's current southern terminus is the Provo station. This station is also just southwest of Amtrak's Provo Station, which is the third stop, after Green River and Helper for the California Zephyr. Heading west from this station, FrontRunner crosses southern Provo before it curves toward the north. From here it heads northwest along the western side of Provo. The railway primarily parallels I-15 along this portion as it moves north towards Orem.

Continuing northwest, FrontRunner leaves unincorporated Utah County and enters the city of Orem before crossing under West University Parkway (SR-265) immediately west of the I-15/University Parkway interchange. It then reaches the next station, Orem, located on the west side of I-15 from most of the Utah Valley University campus. In June 2018, UTA, UVU, UDOT, Orem City, and MAG broke-ground on a new 1000-foot pedestrian bridge over Interstate-15. This connects UVU's Main Campus to the Orem Station.[43] From this station FrontRunner maintains its northwestern course, leaving Orem and enters the city of Vineyard. Continuing northwest, with Vineyard Road briefly running on the west side of the tracks and the site of the former Geneva Steel on the east, it reaches Vineyard Station. The Vineyard Station is located on the west edge of a future UVU Vineyard campus.[44]

American Fork Station passenger platform.

From the Vineyard Station, FrontRunner leaves Vineyard, enters the city of Lindon, and briefly passes by the northeast shore of Utah Lake as it continues on its northwest course. FrontRunner then leaves Lindon and briefly enters unincorporated Utah County again before entering the city of American Fork. Maintaining its northwest course along the edge of American Fork's city limits, Frontrunner then enters the city of Lehi. It then begins to curve toward a nearly due west course as it re-enters American Fork and parallels I-15 before reaching the next station, American Fork.

Continuing on, FrontRunner enters Lehi just before crossing over Spring Creek and then directly underneath the intersection of Pioneer Crossing (SR-145) and Mill Pond Road (850 East). It travels northwest through the middle of Lehi as it approaches Thanksgiving Point.

With Garden Drive on its immediate west, it reaches the next station, Lehi, in the middle of Thanksgiving Point. As passes then through the Jordan Narrows, it briefly parallels the Jordan River on the south, with Camp Williams on the far side of the river further west. While passing through the Jordan Narrows, FrontRunner also leaves Lehi and Utah County and enters Salt Lake County.

Salt Lake County[edit]

As it passes through the Jordan Narrows, FrontRunner enters Salt Lake County and the city of Bluffdale. As it leaves the Jordan Narrows it curves north as it passes just east of Turner Dam and the pumping stations while crossing over East Jordan Canal and the Jordan River. It then curves west as it continues on between the Jordan River on the east and 985 West and the Utah and Salt Lake Canal on the west. It then curves north again as it passes just west of the Joint Dam and then crosses over the South Jordan Canal. It then crosses back over the Jordan River and then the Jordan and Salt Lake City Canal. Continuing north, and slightly to the east, it parallels the South Jordan Canal, the South Jordan Canal Trail, and the Jordan River on the west. It then curves to the northeast, leaving Bluffdale and enters the city of Draper.

After entering Draper it continues its northeast course and reaches the Draper station. From there, it continues north, leaving Draper and enters the city of South Jordan. Continuing north, and still slightly to the east, FrontRunner crosses South Jordan Parkway (10600 South/SR-151) before reaching the next station, South Jordan. This station is located on the west side of I-15 from the South Towne Center Mall. From this station, the route heads north as it leaves South Jordan and enters the city of Sandy.

Just after entering Sandy, it crosses over to the east side of the Union Pacific tracks at a flying junction. Maintaining this course it leaves Sandy and enters the city of Midvale. After West Center Street it curves back once again to the north, and slightly to the east, and then crosses Jordan River Boulevard (7200 South/SR-151) at 560 West and continues on, running parallel to I-15 and passing the Union Pacific rail yard on the west, until it crosses under the I-15 on ramp from eastbound I-215 (Belt Route) as well as I-15 at 400 West. Just after crossing under I-15, FrontRunner leaves Midvale and enters the city of Murray.

TRAX connections[edit]

UTA TRAX is one of the four areas that gives commuters farther areas to go to that you can't regularly go on FrontRunner, as FrontRunner only goes from Ogden to Provo. TRAX Serves Salt Lake County and has three lines: TRAX Blue line from Salt Lake Central to Draper, TRAX Green Line from West Valley Central to Salt Lake International Airport, and the TRAX Red Line from University Medical Center to Daybreak Parkway. Murray Central received the Red and Blue Lines and North Temple/ Guadeloupe Bridge had the Green Line but were not fully complete until 2015. Salt Lake Central has always started the Blue Line. There are three Stations that allow direct transfer to/from FrontRunner: Murray Central, Salt Lake Central, and North Temple/ Guadeloupe Bridge.[citation needed]

Murray Central[edit]

Just northeast of the 5400 South crossing is the next station, Murray Central. This station is a transfer station to the TRAX Blue and Red Lines and the first of three transfer stations between FrontRunner and TRAX. This station is located at 140 West Vine Street (5100 South). The TRAX platform is directly east of the FrontRunner platform.

After this station, FrontRunner continues north, leaving Murray and entering the city of South Salt Lake. Continuing north, the route passes through South Salt Lake and enters Salt Lake City.[citation needed]

Salt Lake Central[edit]

Continuing north, FrontRunner passes through Salt Lake City and then curves slightly to the west, reaching Salt Lake Central (Salt Lake Intermodal Hub). This station is the second transfer station to the TRAX Blue Line, after Murray Central, and the second of three transfer stations between FrontRunner and TRAX. The FrontRunner part of this station is located at 250 South 600 West and the TRAX part at 325 South 600 West. The TRAX platform is directly east of the FrontRunner platform. (Salt Lake Central is the northern terminus for the TRAX Blue line, which runs south to Draper.)

Salt Lake Central is also an Amtrak Station and the fourth and final stop on Amtrak's California Zephyr in Utah.[citation needed]

North Temple Bridge/Guadelupe[edit]

FrontRunner passes under the TRAX passenger platform at the North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe Station

From Salt Lake Central, FrontRunner continues north and slightly to the west and crosses 200 South at 660 West. At 100 South it turns sharply to the east, but slightly to the north until it crosses 600 West at West South Temple Street. It then curves to the north to cross under West North Temple Street at 490 West. Immediately after crossing under the North Temple Street Viaduct, it reaches the next station, North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe. (The name of this station is often shortened by UTA to North Temple).[45][46] This station is a transfer station to the TRAX Green Line, and the last of only three transfer stations between FrontRunner and TRAX. Both platforms of this station are located at 500 West North Temple Street. However, the TRAX platform is located on top of the North Temple Street Viaduct and access between the two platforms is accomplished by using the stairs or escalators that connect the north side of the North Temple Street Viaduct with the south end of the FrontRunner platform. Although both platforms are considered "at grade", the station is still considered a flying junction since the TRAX tracks pass over FrontRunner and Union Pacific tracks. (The TRAX Green Line runs west to the Salt Lake City International Airport and southwest to West Valley City via Downtown Salt Lake City.)

From North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe, FrontRunner continues northward through Salt Lake City, passing on the northeast side of the Warm Springs Service Center (UTA's maintenance facility for FrontRunner). At about 2400 North it leaves Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County and crosses into Davis County.

Davis County[edit]

Upon entering Davis County, FrontRunner also enters the city of North Salt Lake. Continuing north it passes through North Salt Lake and enters the city of Woods Cross. Still maintaining its course to the north and slightly to the east, it reaches the next station, Woods Cross, at 750 South 800 West. From this station it continues on its northeast course as it leaves Woods Cross and enters the city of West Bountiful. Passing northwest through West Bountiful, the route enters the city of Centerville as it continues north along the west side of I-15. Continuing north, it leaves Centerville and enters the city of Farmington Upon entering Farmington, the route continues north until it reaches the Farmington station, at 450 West 800 North. At the northwest end of this station it crosses under the pedestrian bridge (which allows passengers to cross over the FrontRunner and Union Pacific tracks which run between the station's passenger platform and the station's parking lot).

Following this station, FrontRunner leaves Farmington and enters the city of Kaysville. Continuing along the west side of I-15 it continues north, leaving Kaysville and entering the city of Layton. Immediately after crossing under Layton Parkway it reaches the next station, Layton at 150 South Main Street. Heading north from the station, continues north through Layton before leaving the city and entering the city of Clearfield.

Front Runner crossing West Gentile in Layton, Utah.

Continuing northwest FrontRunner reaches the next station, Clearfield, at 1250 South State Street (SR-126. From this station the route continues northwest and then north as it passes through Clearfield. It then leaves Clearfield and enters the city of Clinton. Heading north it passes immediately west of the border between Clinton and the city of Sunset, then leaving Clinton and Davis County and enters Weber County.[citation needed]

Weber County[edit]

Upon entering Weber County, FrontRunner also enters the city of Roy, but briefly runs immediately west of the border between Roy and Sunset. Continuing north, it passes through the city before reaching the next station, Roy, at 4155 South Sandridge Drive. Just after this station the route continues north, leaving Roy and entering the city of Ogden.

Ogden Intermodal Transit Center platforms, the Northern Terminus of FrontRunner.

Just after entering Ogden, FrontRunner crosses over the Weber River. After the Weber River it passes to the west of Ogden's Union Station, and then reaches the Intermodal Transit Center at 2350 South Wall Avenue. This station is the last stop on the northern end of FrontRunner.

Heading northwest from the Ogden Intermodal Transit Center, FrontRunner continues northward through Ogden. Just after crossing 17th Street (1700 South) at 450 West it curves back to the north again as FrontRunner tracks merge onto ones owned and operated by Union Pacific. Continuing north, it leaves Ogden and enters the city of Harrisville.

Pleasant View station, the former Northern terminus of FrontRunner.

At 1000 North, immediately north of the Business Depot Ogden and immediately west of the tracks, are the Weber County Fairgrounds. From there, FrontRunner continues north, then running along the eastern border of Harrisville it continues its course north and slightly to the west. as it leaves Harrisville and enters the city of Pleasant View. At 2500 North, FrontRunner tracks diverge from the Union Pacific tracks. Further north is the last station and formerly the northern terminus, Pleasant View.

Fare rates and ridership[edit]

The current FrontRunner rates are one-way and distance-based. As of December 2019 the base fare is $2.50 (the same as regular bus fare), plus $0.60 per stop thereafter. The maximum fare charged one-way is $10.30.[59] For seniors/disabled/Medicare, the base fare is $1.25, plus $0.30 per stop thereafter with a maximum fare of $5.15. There is also a promotional Group Pass which allows up to four riders of any age to ride together on FrontRunner, TRAX and local buses for $15. The Group Pass is valid starting at 8:30 a.m. and lasts to midnight. Monthly passes valid on FrontRunner, TRAX, local buses, and express buses are available for $198, or $148.50 to students. Agreements set between UTA and several universities (including Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, and University of Utah) allow current students and faculty to travel on Front-runner fare-free by scanning their ID cards.[60]

Rolling stock[edit]

FrontRunner uses 18 MPXpress (MP36PH-3C)[61] locomotives from Motive Power International of Boise, Idaho, bi-level Bombardier cars, and had repainted 25 refurbished ex-New Jersey Transit Comet Is[62] which entered service on September 17, 2008.[63] Thirty ex-Metra gallery cars were given to UTA free of charge, but they were determined to be in too poor condition to refurbish, and were scrapped and used for spare parts for the Comet I cars.[64][65] The Comet I cars were retired on April 18, 2022.[66] The Comet I cars were put up for auction in October 2022, as a condition to receive federal grants to buy replacement cars.[67]

Two months into service UTA began receiving complaints about the number of bicycles on the trains. The Bombardier cars were designed to hold two bicycles near the rear doors of each train, but up to 15 bicycles per car were reported by some riders.[68] UTA investigated options to increase capacity for bicycles, including more lockers at the stations. In January 2016 FrontRunner upgraded Bombardier Car 206 with new bike racks. The new racks increased the number of racks on a car from 9 to 15.

A typical FrontRunner trainset is composed of four units: three cars and the locomotive. Typical orientation is: Locomotive, Bilevel (2), and a Bilevel Cab Car.

Wireless internet is available on all FrontRunner cars free of charge.[69]

Upper level of a bi-level Bombardier coach. Since this picture was taken, the cloth headrests have been replaced with leather ones and the power outlets have been retrofitted with two 120 V outlets and two USB ports.
A Bombardier bike-friendly car
FrontRunner Fleet[70]
Model Image Manufactured Road Numbers Number in Fleet Notes
MPXpress MP36PH-3C locomotives FrontRunner at Central Station.jpg 2007 1–21 18 #13 and #14 were sold to the MBTA in 2011. Another locomotive, #12, was leased to Minnesota's Northstar Commuter Rail, and subsequently acquired by Northstar in June 2010.[71]
EMD GP39 locomotive Interstate Railfan - Utah Frontrunner GP39 901.jpg 1967 901 1 Not used for passenger service. Acquired from Virginia Railway Express. Originally a GP40 that was rebuilt into a GP39.[72]
Bi-level Bombardier cab cars Rear of FrontRunner train at American Fork Station.JPG 2006 101–122 22 Used to run trains southbound without having to turn the entire train around.
Bi-level Bombardier coaches Frontrunner bombardier bike car.jpg 2007 201–216 16 Coach Cars. Some equipped with bike racks.
Former FrontRunner Fleet
Model Image Manufactured Road Numbers Number in Fleet Notes
Comet I coaches FrontRunner Comet Train.JPG 1970–1973 301–325 14 Former NJ Transit, built by Pullman Standard for NJDOT, rebuilt by Bombardier Transportation 1987. Retired in April 2022 due to increasing maintenance difficulties.
Pullman bi-level gallery coaches UTA FrontRunner ex-Metra gallery cars.jpg 1960–1968 (Metra) 8749[73] & others 30 Acquired from Metra at no charge, deemed to be in too poor shape to refurbish, scrapped for parts for the Comet cars.[64]

Maintenance[edit]

All maintenance for the FrontRunner fleet (locomotives and cars) is provided at the Warm Springs Service Center which is located just west of 500 West at 900 North in Salt Lake City.[74][75] The Service Center facility, which was purchased from Union Pacific in 2003, was originally built in 1955 at the location of the former Salt Lake City roadhouse. Union Pacific had previously stopped using the facility in 1998 after more than a decade of operating at less than capacity. Following the acquisition from Union Pacific the facility was modified and updated to meet UTA's current needs.[74]

UTA's Warm Springs Service Center is at the right, with FrontRunner trains in the adjacent yard. View from Ensign Peak.

Operation[edit]

FrontRunner trains typically operate with the locomotive on the north end of the train (facing Ogden); cab control cars are used to operate southbound trains.

Train schedule[edit]

On weekdays the first northbound FrontRunner trains (to Ogden Intermodal Transit Center) leave Salt Lake Central Station at about 4:15 am and Provo Station at about 5:00 am. The first southbound trains (to Provo Station) leave both Ogden Intermodal Transit Center and North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe stations at about 5:00 am. The last northbound train leaves Provo Station at 10:20 pm and the last southbound train leaves Ogden Intermodal Transit Center at 11:09. However, the last Northbound train only goes as far as North Temple/ Guadalupe Station. The last southbound train to Provo Station leaves Ogden Intermodal Transit Center at 10:39 pm. However, like the last Northbound train, the last southbound train only goes as far as the Salt Lake Central Station.

As of December 2, 2018, Friday late night trains run longer than the regular weekdays, but all trains going Northbound terminates at North Temple. Same type of situation as Southbound, except Southbound terminates at Salt Lake Central Station.

On Saturdays the first southbound train leaves North Temple Bridge/Guadalupe Station at about 6:00 am and the first northbound train leaves Salt Lake Central at about 6:45 am. The first northbound train leaves Provo Station at about 7:45 am and the first southbound train leaves Ogden Intermodal Transit Center at about 8:15 am. The last southbound train leaves Ogden Intermodal Transit Center at 1:09 am (Sunday morning) and the last northbound train leaves Provo Station at 1:20 am (Sunday morning). However, the last three trains only goes as far as either Salt Lake Central Station, going Southbound, or North Temple Station going Northbound. The last northbound train to Ogden Intermodal Transit Center leaves Provo Station at 10:50 pm and the last southbound train to Provo Station leaves Ogden Intermodal Transit Center at 10:09 pm.

FrontRunner runs every hour Monday through Saturday, with additional runs on the half hour for the weekday morning and evening commutes. FrontRunner also does special trips for big events in Salt Lake City and the surrounding community. As of December 2018, the FrontRunner still does not run on most of the hours of Sundays or holidays.[76]

Stations[edit]

Key
Temporarily closed
Station[46] County Municipality Year
Opened
Major connections and notes
Pleasant View Weber Pleasant View 2008 Service suspended on August 12, 2018, expected to resume in the future.
Park and Ride: approx. 300 spaces
Ogden Ogden  601  (Ogden Trolley, free) Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Park and Ride: 476 spaces
Roy Roy Park and Ride: 502 spaces
Clearfield Davis Clearfield  628  (Midtown Trolley, free)
Park and Ride: 561 spaces
Layton Layton  628  (Midtown Trolley, free)
Park and Ride: 383 spaces
Farmington Farmington  667  (Lagoon/Station Park Shuttle, free)
Park and Ride: 874 spaces
Woods Cross Woods Cross Park and Ride: 235 spaces
North Temple Salt Lake Salt Lake City 2012  704 
Salt Lake Central 2008  701  AmtrakAmtrak Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Murray Murray 2012  701   703 
Park and Ride: 345 spaces
South Jordan South Jordan Park and Ride: 577 spaces
Draper Draper Park and Ride: 600 spaces
Lehi Utah Lehi Park and Ride: 739 spaces
American Fork American Fork Park and Ride: 553 spaces
Vineyard Vineyard 2022 Park and Ride:
Orem Central Orem 2012  830X  (Utah Valley Express, free)
Park and Ride: 498 spaces
Provo Central Provo  830X  (Utah Valley Express, free) AmtrakAmtrak Greyhound Lines Greyhound Lines
Park and Ride: 811 spaces

Accidents[edit]

On January 24, 2017, a FrontRunner train impacted the front trailer of a FedEx double semi-trailer truck at a North Salt Lake crossing. The impact was of sufficient force to crush and split the trailer and fling its contents down the tracks. The crossing lights and gates did not operate during the train's approach so there was no warning to vehicles in the crossing. Furthermore, snow and ice were present at the time of the accident limiting visibility. There were no significant injuries in the accident. A police cruiser was in the opposite lane near the crossing with its dash camera active.[77] The accident video was released to the media and quickly became popular. UTA investigated the incident and fired an employee after determining he had improperly raised the gates without following procedures that would have made the crossing safe.[78]

On October 16, 2019, a FrontRunner train impacted an idle car on the tracks and threw it 30 feet after its driver suffered from a medical attack on Interstate 15. At the time, the train was traveling approximately 80 mph before emergency brakes were activated 3/4 mile ahead of the blockade by train operator Riley Nelson. The unconscious driver was pulled from the car moments before the train hit by Utah Highway Patrol Trooper Ruben Correa, who encountered the situation while on routine patrol. The train was still moving at around 30 MPH upon impact. Both the driver and the State Trooper's lives being saved was attributed to the FrontRunner being five minutes behind schedule and the operator's quick reaction.[79]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Tintic Branch runs from about 400 South and 400 West in Springville to just west of I-15 on the north end of Spanish Fork and then continues along the west side of I-15 to 800 South in Payson. From Payson, it passes by the northern edge of Santaquin, before heading west to Eureka.
  2. ^ TRAX Red Line Mid-Jordan extension and Green Line West Valley extension both opened in August 2011
  3. ^ FrontRunner South extension opened in December 2012
  4. ^ TRAX Green Line Airport extension opened in April 2013, Blue Line Draper extension opened in August 2013, and S Line (formerly known as Sugar House Streetcar) opened in December 2013

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Lustig, David (July 2016). "Commuter rail FrontRunner". Trains. 76 (7): 22–27.

External links[edit]

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata