Ashley Hayes ReportingNew trains are moving along the tracks in Centerville. The Utah Transit Authority is inching its first commuter trains closer to operation. Move over Union Pacific, there's a new train in town and it's called FrontRunner. Steve Meyer, engineering and construction manager for UTA, said, "We're working towards the spring of 2008 opening, but to do that we have to test and commission all of these vehicles to make sure they are operating in a safe manner."
This is the first week the Utah Transit Authority begins testing the newest member of its fleet: the passenger commuter trains.
It's also the first step in making 44 miles of track available to commuters traveling from Pleasant View to Salt Lake City.
For now the trains are only passing from Centerville to Kaysville. UTA is testing the braking and accelerating capabilities. UTA wants drivers to take notice. Meyer said, "With that we will be crossing some of that at grade crossings. So we want people to be aware of the safety aspects of that, to always expect a train at the crossings, and not just the freight trains that have been there in the past, but now the FrontRunner."
The FrontRunner trains are carrying three patriotic colored passenger cars during this training session, though the 12-cylinder diesel engines will eventually be able to pack 10 cars in one trip. "We think it's a great alternative. I don't think it will take very many days stuck in traffic seeing that train go past before you think you would like to try that train yourself.
Traveling at 79 miles an hour can't come soon enough because rush hour drivers are lucky to see 10 mph consistently on the speedometer.