April 26, 2008
The Utah-based FrontRunner commuter rail service made its inaugural run. This line was opened by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to serve the metropolitan region known as the Wasatch Front, with red, white and blue FrontRunner trains operating in the north-central part of the state from the vicinity of Ogden to Provo (via Salt Lake City). The route that is used for these trains was part of the right-of-way for the now-defunct Utah Central Railroad, which had been built in 1869 to link the main line of the First Transcontinental Railroad with Salt Lake City.
The Saturday debut of the FrontRunner service – marking what the Deseret News called “[a] new chapter in Utah’s storied railroad history” – took place with a great deal of fanfare. At the kickoff ceremony in Ogden, the city’s mayor Matthew Godfrey highlighted the financial benefits of the new service. “Trains have been an important part of Ogden’s economic stability . . . for more than 100 years,” asserted Godfrey during the ceremony at the Ogden Intermodal Transit Center. “This very platform can once again be a gateway for economic prosperity for our community if we are prepared for it and we do the right things.”
A train carrying various dignitaries and UTA officials subsequently made its way south, with Salt Lake City the last stop on the journey. Hundreds of people were gathered at Salt Lake Central Station to welcome that train. In a tribute to Utah’s railroad legacy and specifically the official completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad at Promontory Summit in 1869, UTA arranged to have two FrontRunner trains nose-to-nose with each other behind the speakers’ podium as a backdrop to the ceremony commemorating the newest transit service.
Utah Senate President John Valentine alluded to those two trains during his own remarks to the crowd. “It is truly a historic moment,” he said. “None of us were here in 1869 when the great train from the East met the great trains from the West . . . but we’ve all seen the picture where they reached across the tracks and connected the East Coast and West Coast of this country.” Valentine added, “Remember where you are today . . . remember that you are that picture that was Promontory . . . you are the picture, you were there.”
The FrontRunner commuter rail service currently covers a total of 81.2 miles (130.7 kilometers) between Ogden and Provo. More than 17,000 passengers travel on those trains on a daily basis.
For more information on the debut of the FrontRunner commuter rail service, please check out https://www.deseretnews.com/article/695274205/FrontRunner-service-starts-amid-festivities.html
Additional information on the FrontRunner trains is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FrontRunner.