FrontRunner Sunday service could be on the horizon, according to UTA
The S-Bahn currently only runs on Sundays for special events.
FrontRunner has been serving Utahns for 15 years—but not on Sundays.
The Utah Transit Authority commuter rail system serves passengers from Ogden to Provo, but only operates Monday through Saturday. The train runs every 30 minutes on weekdays and every 60 minutes on Saturdays during peak travel times. However, the agency currently does not have the infrastructure to offer the train on Sundays, a spokesman said.
However, the Sunday service could be added after the ongoing FrontRunner Forward project is completed. According to the Federal Transit Administration, the train currently operates on a single track for most of its length. The project will add an additional track running parallel to certain sections of the 83-mile corridor – increasing the frequency of operations will help avoid delays.
The Utah Legislature invested $300 million in the plan in 2021, and the Biden administration recently approved an additional $316 million to fund the project.
Although FrontRunner Forward does not currently envisage the implementation of a Sunday service, UTA project manager Janelle Robertson said in a May 2 update that the project’s planned dual tracking could make it possible. Officials said during the meeting that construction of the project will begin in 2025 and be completed by 2029.
“Double tracking is required for us to meet our preventive maintenance requirements on our rail infrastructure,” UTA spokesman Carl Arky said in an email. “This work is currently taking place on Sunday or during the short window of time between the end of regular FrontRunner service at night and the start of service the next day (approximately 3 hours).”
In the past, FrontRunner has only conducted Sunday services on special occasions, including the Hill Air Force Base Air Show each June and the recent NBA All-Star Weekend in February. Arky said UTA has no current plans to offer the Sunday FrontRunner service for other events like the annual Utah Pride Festival.
Curtis Haring, executive director of the Utah Transit Riders Union, said the union had made no contributions to the FrontRunner Forward project other than general support and hope for a faster timeline.
“More services are always a good thing. “People’s needs don’t stop on Sunday,” Haring said. “There may be some logistical issues that need to be resolved. And I can respect that. But we shouldn’t have to wait for a double chase to at least have service on Sunday.”
UTA officials said at a September 2021 meeting that community leaders often inquire about opportunities for Sunday FrontRunner services.
Several FrontRunner drivers who spoke to The Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday night at Salt Lake Central Station said the Sunday service probably wouldn’t affect them since they only use it for their weekday commutes.
However, many added that if they had to be in Salt Lake City on a Sunday, they wouldn’t mind using the train as a cheaper option.
“I imagine it would be similar to Saturday’s traffic, probably a little less,” said Kegan Penovich, who brings FrontRunner to work from Orem to Salt Lake City twice a week.
Marcy White, who takes the train from Lehi to Salt Lake City for work on weekdays, quipped, “It would help if I wanted to work on Sundays.”