Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Salt Lake City Preview

David writes.....

I traveled to Salt Lake City this past week to join Katy in looking for a place for us to live.  Moving day is fast approaching.  Katy was already out there, at meetings with her employer.  After arrival, I pretty much had Friday to myself, so I decided to tour Salt Lake City the way IRM's Tom Hunter recommended, via light rail and commuter train.  

Salt Lake City's light rail system is called TRAX and is operated by the Utah Transit Authority.  Currently, there are three lines in operation, with the addition of a single track "streetcar" line to the Sugarhouse neighborhood in the final stages of construction.  All three lines converge into a single trunk line just south of downtown.  Salt Lake City is different from St. Louis or Chicago in that there is a lot more outdoor activity, from mountain biking to skiing.  It seems every car has a roof rack.  People seem to be a bit more fitness-conscious.  While waiting for the train, this passenger decided to get some exercise in.  

Downtown Salt Lake City has very wide streets, originally intended to aid in the turning of wagons pulled by 8 or more horses.  When Brigham Young laid out the street grid for Salt Lake City in the 1840s, he unwittingly made it easy to run light rail down the middle of the streets.  Some TRAX lines run with three car trains, not a problem for the street trackage, as seen here.  

I rode to Salt Lake Central station, the end of the Green line, and a true multi-modal facility.  It is located about a block behind the old Rio Grande Depot and contains a Greyhound bus station, a TRAX terminal, stops for UTA's intra-city busses and is a stop on the Front Runner heavy rail line.  Front runner runs from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south.  I took a quick ride from downtown Salt Lake to Murray, just south of downtown, where I could connect back to TRAX.   The cars are fairly new, with the addition of some rebuilt Jersey Arrow cars added to each consist.  

Finally and most importantly, we managed to get a house rented.  We wanted to get a better feel for the area before we bought.  It's a little more suburban than I wanted, being located in Sandy, but it's only 2 miles away from a TRAX stop with ample parking.  

Well, I need to get back to packing.  North American shows up August 12.  There's a lot to do!


Anonymous said...

It is not clear to me how long you are going to be in Salt Lake City, but be sure to visit the LDS History Museum across the street from the Family History Library on Temple Square.

The cut away exhibits on the Tabernacle are something that you should not miss!

And the rest of the museum is neat also.

Ted Miles

Randall Hicks said...

Sorry, Ted, I'm not going to be in Salt Lake City at all, but David Wilkins will be living there. I'm sure he appreciates your advice, but I think he would rather visit railroad museums.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the confusion; I thought you were going on vacation.

David is not going to find any traction museums in Utah. That is one reason why we are the Western Railway Museum and have some cars from the Salt Lake region are in the collection.

Thank you for the interesting work on the #36! That sure is an ancient Interurban! I hope it will be possible to get her running some day.

Ted Miles
IRM Member

David Wilkins said...


I know of the lack of traction museums in Utah. In the past, I've worked on both steam and diesel locomotives, so I think I'll find plenty in the area to keep me busy, besides settling in, that is.


Anonymous said...

When you have time, I am sure other readers and me would like to read a report on the Heber Creeper steam operations.

i hope to get there some day; but when is unknown.


Ted Miles

Anonymous said...


My wife and I vacationed in Utah a few years back, its a great state to explore. I did search for remains of the Bamberger which was fun, but not many results were had. The State RR Museum in Ogen is a great stop, but by far the pinacle of railroad history was the visit to Promontory! My wife wanted to leave me as hse watched countless families arrive and depart as I was captivated by the entire scene. For me it was a trip back to 1869! Be sure to explore the state and enjoy its awesome scenery. Take care and all the best! Dave Diamond