Utah Transit Authority has selected SLC Rail Constructors to design and build the planned 4 km TRAX light rail branch from the city centre to the University of Utah, which is due to be completed in time for the 2002 Winter Olympics. In mid-March the federal government confirmed that UTA had prequalified for a full-funding grant agreement which will provide $84m towards the estimated $118m cost of the project.

On March 22 the UTA board voted to start construction in June or July, although cost saving measures are still being sought to bring the price back to the $105m budget. Meanwhile, Wasatch Front Regional Council has been asked to contribute nearly $13m in federal air quality funds towards the cost of rolling stock for the line. UTA has ordered a second batch of five SD-160 LRVs from Siemens Transportation Systems for delivery before the Olympics; these are an AC-motored version of the 23 SD-100 cars bought for the original line which opened last year; five were ordered earlier this year.

H Confirming the UTA order in April, Siemens revealed that it is also to supply six more SD-100s to Denver Regional Transportation District by 2002, bringing that city’s fleet to 37. A further 21 SD-160s are to be built for Calgary Transit in 2001-04, augmenting a fleet of 85 U2 cars supplied by Siemens in 1981-85 and 10 cars ordered in 1998. The 23m SD-160s will have IGBT controls and four 145 kW motors, giving a top speed of 90 km/h. Bodyshells are to be built at Carson, California, and the cars will be fitted out at Sacramento. Siemens says the latest orders are worth around US$80m.