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Sugar House streetcars now running full test schedules

Published October 17, 2013 6:01 pm

Transit • Residents urged to be cautious around rail corridor.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Pedestrians and drivers be advised: Test trains on the new Sugar House Streetcar line began Thursday to run full, normal schedules — without passengers.

That allows training of operators and testing needed for final federal certification before the line opens to the public on Dec. 8. While occasional test streetcars have been on the line for weeks, they now will be running constantly.

"Two trains will be running up and down the line with speeds up to 25 miles an hour. However, the trains will slow to 10 to 15 miles an hour at crossings, and drivers will be taking extra care to watch for people and cars," said UTA spokesman Remi Barron.

"We ask people to be careful at crossings and look both ways before proceeding," he said, adding police will be at crossings periodically to remind people to watch for streetcars.

Barron said UTA has been working with schools, businesses and area residents to talk about safety around streetcars, including sending fliers to homes near the line.

UTA increased safety efforts around new lines after a 2011 tragedy on the red line to South Jordan during testing before it opened.

Shariah Casper, 15, was struck and killed by a test TRAX train at a crossing on 3200 West near 8400 South. She and a cousin had waited for an eastbound train to pass. Casper then walked in front of a westbound train, which she did not see because of a sound wall.

The new streetcar line will have seven stops along 2220 South. They are the Central Pointe TRAX station, 30 East, 300 East, 500 East, 700 East, 910 East and 1040 East.

The two-mile route is scheduled to offer service every 20 minutes. Daily ridership is estimated to be about 3,000 a day at opening and is expected to grow to 4,000 by 2030.