Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Utah County FrontRunner, airport TRAX lines still on track

Commuters heading to Salt Lake City from Utah County may have an alternative form of transportation sooner than expected.

Construction and testing on the FrontRunner South commuter rail line is moving ahead faster than anticipated, according to the Utah Transit Authority.

It promises commuters they will save time when the new FrontRunner South line opens Dec. 10. The agency projects approximately 6,800 passengers will ride the train each day. In addition to four stops in Utah County, FrontRunner South will also have stops in South Jordan and Murray.

According UTA spokesman Gerry Carpenter, who said the FrontRunner South line is expected to begin transporting passengers beginning Dec. 10. He added that the project is also under budget thus far.

He said this phase allows the agency to ensure that all track signals are working properly, operators are fully trained and schedules are appropriately aligned. Test trains run at maximum speeds of up to 79 miles per hour, he said, the same top speed allowed when service begins.

As for the Airport TRAX line, the $350 million extension is scheduled to be operational by April 2013.

Under construction since January 2009, the new light rail line is one of five rail projects UTA has had on its construction agenda in the past few years. The others include the $535 million Mid-Jordan TRAX extension and the $370 million West Valley TRAX line — which both began operation in August 2011. Also in the works are the $212 million Draper TRAX extension and the aforementioned $850 million FrontRunner South commuter-rail line that will run from downtown Salt Lake City to Provo. Deseret News