USA: A day of free rides inaugurated Utah Transit Authority's 71 km FrontRunner commuter service between Salt Lake City and Ogden on April 26.

FrontRunner trainUTA placed two of the line's MotivePower MPXpress locomotives nose--to-nose behind the speakers' platform at Salt Lake Central for the launch, a modern re-enactment of the famous 1869 scene at Promontory in Utah when the transcontinental railway was completed.

Free rides continued until April 30, after which fares of $2·50 per trip plus $0·50 per station were collected. The push-pull trains of one loco and three Bombardier double-deck coaches use their own track on a Union Pacific right-of-way for most of the route. Trains run half-hourly during the day and hourly in the evenings and on Saturdays, and ridership is expected to level off at 5 900 a day.

A short extension from Ogden to Pleasant View will open later this year, and UTA expects to start construction of a five-station line from Salt Lake City to Provo this summer for opening in 2012.

  • A 1·6 km extension of the TRAX light rail network from Arena to Salt Lake Central station also opened on April 26.