The Utah Transit Authority is beginning FrontRunner service to Pleasant View in Weber County, with full service expected in January.

Train service to the Pleasant View station, at 2700 North and U.S. 89, begins Monday. On Saturday, the public can hop on a train for a free inaugural ride between Ogden and Pleasant View.

Currently, the northernmost stop for FrontRunner Commuter Rail is Union Station in Ogden, at 23rd Street and Wall Avenue. Service to Pleasant View was expected when FrontRunner service began in April, but there was a delay in preparing the 5-mile section between Ogden and Pleasant View for commuter rail.

While UTA built sections of rail for FrontRunner alongside rail used by Union Pacific Corp., the section of rail between Ogden and Pleasant View is used by both UTA and Union Pacific, based in Omaha, Neb. Union Pacific was supposed to prepare the rail for FrontRunner, but the company pulled construction crews off the project and sent them to repair track buried by a mudslide in Oregon, UTA spokesmen Gerry Carpenter said.

"In order to run commuter-rail service on the same track as Union Pacific's freight service, there needed to be some track upgrades, signal upgrades to make it safe for commuter rail," Carpenter said.

Crews are now back on the Weber County project, and "we're at a point now where we can begin limited service," Carpenter said.

A train will depart from Pleasant View daily at 6:33 a.m. An evening train will stop at Pleasant View daily, departing Salt Lake City at 5:10 p.m. UTA's goal is to have three trains in the morning and three trains in the evening at the Pleasant View station beginning in January, Carpenter said.

To supplement the gap in service, UTA has been shuttling commuters by bus between Ogden and Pleasant View and will continue to do so, Carpenter said.

In August, average weekday ridership on FrontRunner was 8,700. UTA estimates as many as 100 new riders a day will use the Pleasant View station in the next few months, and that will increase to 400 new riders a day as service to the station expands, Carpenter said.

UTA wants commuter rail to span the Wasatch Front, from Brigham City to Payson, UTA General Manager John Inglish said.

Next for FrontRunner is expansion of the line to Utah County, stopping at the East Bay area of Provo. The line will be ready in 2012 or 2013.

UTA is buying up bits and pieces of property for stations in Utah County. The transit authority is installing a communications system to activate gates, bells and whistles and to coordinate with city traffic lights.

"There's all this advance work that's done" before laying rail, Inglish said. "The utility work is the most critical work."

What: FrontRunner is coming to Pleasant View, and the Utah Transit Authority is hosting a community celebration with a free inaugural ride to Ogden and back. There will be food and music, as well as speeches by UTA and elected officials.

When: Saturday at 9:30 a.m. The train will depart at 10:30 a.m.

Where: The Pleasant View FrontRunner Commuter Rail Station, 2700 North and U.S. 89.


E-mail: lhancock@desnews.com