FrontRunner could get another track, City Council says

Passengers exit FrontRunner at Provo Central Station. Discussions about double tracking the train have begun in the Provo City Council. (Sydnee Gonzalez)

The Provo City Council discussed plans to add another track to UTA’s FrontRunner during a meeting on Jan. 21.

Double tracking would involve adding a second pair of tracks parallel to the current ones. The goal would be to double track the full length of FrontRunner from Ogden to Provo.

Train service would become more frequent with two tracks. Right now, a train comes about every 30 minutes during peak hours and every hour during non-peak times. Double tracking would allow the train to run as often as every 15 minutes during peak hours.

The FrontRunner would also become more reliable and allow for higher volumes of riders if it were double tracked, council members said.

“I personally know a dozen people who commute to Salt Lake in normal time every single day for work,” Councilwoman Shannon Ellsworth said. “Anything we can do to improve speeds and efficiency of that would have tremendous externalities for our community.”

The FrontRunner service also helps reduce traffic on I-15. Double tracking would help to decongest the freeway as Utah’s population density increases.

“I think the growth that’s anticipated for Utah Valley is unthinkable without that being a component of life here in the valley,” Councilman George Handley said.

Adding another track would cost between $300 million and $400 million. Luckily, the council said the state has funds to spend right now on infrastructure projects like these.

The long-term goal for FrontRunner is to extend the tracks south to Spanish Fork.

Legislative leaders in the Jan. 21 meeting were also keen on the idea of double tracking and viewed it as a necessary improvement in Utah transportation.

“I believe the council has a consensus on the need and value viability of double tracking. We’re very much in favor for several reasons,” Councilman Bill Fillmore said.

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