Airport TRAX Line to Open April 14

Date posted: October 24, 2012

Edited to adjust testing dates due to weather.

Construction on the Airport TRAX line is coming to a close. Substantial completion is expected by the end of the month and will be followed by testing. The Airport TRAX line will open for operation Sunday, April 14, 2013.

“The Airport TRAX line is the most anticipated of our new lines,” UTA Board Chair Greg Hughes said. “It will provide a key connection to a top destination, employment centers and the rest of the Wasatch Front.”

The new line is being finished well ahead of schedule.

Testing

Testing on the line will begin with one train the first of November. Test runs will start at a relatively slow speed, working up to full speed by Nov. 9. During the week of Nov. 12, we will begin running multiple trains on the line.

Generally speaking, test trains will run Monday through Thursday during regular business hours. There will be a break in testing for the holidays from Dec. 20 through the first of the year.

Safety

Testing on the Airport Line will be conducted with the upmost attention to safety. Flaggers will be used along the line until all of the signals, lights and crossings have been thoroughly tested and certified for safe use.

“We remind motorists and┬ápedestrians┬áto be safe as we begin testing on the Airport Line,” UTA General Manager Mike Allegra said. “Be sure to obey all traffic laws and signals and always look both ways before crossing the tracks.”

In addition, staff have undertaken a safety campaign focused on the North Temple corridor, surrounding neighborhoods and schools. Safety presentations are available up on request.

More detailed plans surrounding the opening and operation of the line will be released after the first of the year.

Will you ride the new Airport Line?

41 thoughts on “Airport TRAX Line to Open April 14

  1. Yes, I will ride the new Airport Line. It will be a great connection at North Temple FrontRunner to downtown. Some other family members might use it to go to the Airport, depending on when their flights leave and arrive.

  2. I hope that UTA will consider allowing overnight parking at the park and rides once the airport line is open. It would be great if people could leave their car at a park in ride in Utah or Davis counties, rides frontrunner to the airport line for their flights. Currently I know overnight parking is not allowed but I hope that will be reconsidered.

    Really looking forward to the new line. It will be great and make traveling into SLC much easier. Can’t wait

  3. No, I won’t ride the new Airport Line. I usually fly home on Sundays when there is no FrontRunner service, so I will still need to drive to the airport.

      1. I would just like to see how things are coming along and how its starting to take shape, especially at the transfer station and the airport

  4. I am looking forward to the opening of the Airport line, which will be a great alternative to travbeling from my home in downtown SLC to the airport. I really hope that you will create a line that goes direct from the airport to the university of utah/hospital. I commute from downtown to the university, and ever since you discontinued the direct line from downtown to the U it has been much more inconvenient. Having to make the transfer at courthouse, especially when the U-bound red-line train doesn’t wait for the incoming southbound blue or green lines to stop in order for that transfer to occur, can be extremely aggravating. It seems like it would be a natural way to run that line in a way that would connect the hospital/university with the airport. Since the sandy line already has three lines on it going south out of town, I would think that it would be better to run an extra line to the university anyway. Please take this into consideration when you are planning the new routes from the airport line.
    Thank you,
    Steve Nichol

    1. Steve, Thank you for your comment. The Airport Line will be an extension of the Green Line that travels to West Valley City. I understand your concerns regarding the transfer, but lines are determined by budget, operational opportunity and ridership. Have you considered trying the bus? Route 2 to the U runs every 15 min. and Rt. 2x supplements that service in the morning. Taking the bus would make your trip much shorter.

      1. @teverett

        Will routes 2 and 2X be revised once the changes take place? Or in other words, how will riders get from the FrontRunner transfer station to the University?
        As a frequent rider from Davis County to the University, it really seems counter-intuitive to me that having airport trains go to the University would be less profitable and with less ridership than going to West Valley. Is there a link available to read up on how UTA reached this decision?

        1. There will be no changes to the routing on the 2 or 2x. FrontRunner passengers who wish to get off at North Temple can ride Route 6.

          Prior to making a decision on final TRAX routing, UTA did run modeling. The current configuration with the Red, Blue and Green line was chosen as it does the best job of optimizing ridership and minimizing transfers within the parameters of the budget. We still have a more significant number of riders to the University of Utah traveling from the south. In addition, traffic to the airport (which includes employees) tends to come from the south.

          Running from the Airport to the University of Utah would also require the introduction of a fourth line, which is operationally challenging. In addition, the route would require additional trains and personnel. I don’t have a link to the information, but you’re welcome to submit a GRAMA request if you’d like to take a closer look at the information available.

          Even if route did exist, it would still be faster for you to take the bus…

  5. Will I ride the airport line?

    DUH!!!!! No more having to rely on my siblings to take me to the aiport. I can take the frontrunner right by my apartment and then hop on the new airport line. I”m excited! Can’t you open it any earlier? :(

  6. This is going to be a great service, currently bus 550 (airport bus) is standing room only and then when people get on with luggage it is worse. For so many of us that ride this bus continue on to the International Center and we are wondering what will happen to us. Will there be an International Center bus leaving Central Station or shuttle buses from the airport. Maybe this hasn’t fully been determined but there are many that commute to the International Center that would like this question answered ASAP so we know what to expect.

    1. Allysa, It’s likely that there will be changes to Rt. 550, but decisions have not been made at this time. I anticipate that there will still be some service and more information will be available closer to February.

    1. Currently, there are not enough flights coming in outside of our current operational hours to justify additional service.

  7. I am extremely excited about the opening of the airport TRAX line! I fly to Utah to visit family, and it will be so much more convenient to simply take TRAX instead of taking a shuttle or having someone pick me up. I can’t wait! Now if only we had light rail here in Los Angeles that I could take to LAX, I’d be set!

  8. I know for a fact there are very early morning flights starting at 5;30 am and late night flights leaving as late as midnight. i wanted you to know I do work out at the airport. There are Airport workers who have to drive to work since there are no late night buses leaving the Airport. Maybe you can start the Trax early and keep it going late at night,so those can use the Trax more often I know my coworkers keep asking me if I know about the schedule. I take the first 550 during my work week.

    1. Danielle, Thanks for your comment. We’re familiar with the early morning and late night flights that come in and out of Salt Lake. Right now however, there are not enough potential riders to justify the addition of early and late trips under the current budget. Nothing is set in stone right now, but schedules will be available sometime in late February or March.

      1. It’s NOT just the travelers who ride the bus or trax it is the airport workers you NEED and MUST put that in the facts that there are a lot mor people who would ride the bus and trax if you made it EASIER for us workers even more so on the WEEKENDS instead of having a schedule that starts at 7 or 8 am try having it start at the weekday schedule and you will be surprized. My son and I work on weekends and we both have to get rides in since right now your buses don’t start intil 7:20 and 8:20 and that makes us LATE if we took the bus

        1. Danielle, We’re not just taking travelers into consideration…We’re looking for a large enough number of riders to make running additional service efficient. Right now, there are not enough individuals interested in early morning and late at night service to justify the budgetary expenditure.

  9. Why wait so long to start the use of the massive investment! Testing in Nov and riding in April! That is a huge waste of time and money!

    1. Randy, We’re currently in the process of initiating the six months of federally required testing. Though it may seem like a long wait, we’d rather be safe than sorry…

      1. Randy, UTA has released its real-time data for development. There are privately developed iPhone apps available in the Apple store.

  10. How many transfers will be involved in getting from the University of Utah to the Airport? We are looking forward to this service for our hotel guests.

    1. Justin, Good question! The Airport will be an extension of the Green Line. To get to the University Guest House, riders will simply need to transfer at Courthouse Station to a Red Line train. We look forward to carrying some of your guests.

    1. Tracey, That decision has not been made. It’s likely that the information will be shared in late-February or March of 2013. However, early departures and arrivals will likely mirror the existing TRAX schedule.

      1. Is there any consideration to extend hours of trax running to the University at night? Currently you can leave the University on trax an entire hour after the last train leaves courthouse running to the U. Doesn’t make sense for us who live near the U and want to take the trax home at night, or from the airport. It would be a shame to get to courthouse from the airport and not be able to get any further.

        I really miss the trax running until late days, it always had ridership when I was on it. :-(

        1. Jessie, There are no current plans to extend service. Airport service is an extension of the Green Line and the hours will remain about the same.

          As you noted, we did run late night service for a while. Unfortunately we were not able to generate ridership. I am not sure what time you were riding, but we were only averaging 10-20 passengers per night. You might want to take a look at our recent overview: http://www.letsrideuta.com/2012/10/16/late-night-trax-service/

          Thanks.

  11. I’m really glad this is almost complete. I drive an hour to work everyday and having the south line almost complete will save me tons of money in gas!

  12. While I think this is great for some, I probably won’t get to use the new line. Living in Kearns it is almost closer to drive to the airport than to a trax line and since most of my travel is from 2 days to 2 weeks, I need to leave my vehicle in a secured lot or at home if I can get a ride.

    Now, if you can extend Frontrunner to St. George so I can visit my daughter, then we can talk.

    1. Phil, We know not everyone will utilize this service. Fortunately everyone sees some benefit, even if it’s just less traffic to contend with!

  13. This is an essential line needed by air travelers to the airport who have to get a ride from family/friends or get a taxi. This will be more economical and convenient and hopefully have the riders to justify the line. Should also reduce parking waiting at the airport. Awaiting it being put into operation. Best wishes on its completion!

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