FrontRunner to continue using Comet cars for now

Mar 22, 2022, 5:31 PM | Updated: 7:32 pm

UTA's planning director discusses future possibilities to meet transportation needs in rapidly grow...

A southbound FrontRunner train leaves the Lehi Station on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

(Scott G Winterton/Deseret News)

Update: 7:28 p.m.

UTA spokesman Carl Arky contacted KSL Tuesday evening to say that the Comet cars are not being taken out of operation. He says an evaluation is still underway, but no decision has been made. 

He says there was an internal communications error and a misunderstanding at UTA.

Our previous reporting

SALT LAKE CITY — UTA announced that FrontRunner trains will no longer run Comet cars. The cars will end their run on April 2. 

UTA said it has used the 50-year-old Comet cars since FrontRunner opened in 2009.

Comet cars were easily recognized by their “camel-colored” seats, as described by UTA. The UTA website lists the cars as single-level, while the newer cars are bi-level.

The cars have reached the end of their “serviceable life” according to UTA, citing door malfunctions and the lack of replacement parts.

UTA said 25 cars were purchased from New Jersey Transit. It purchased the cars for $35,000 and refurbished them for $400,000. This was a steal, according to UTA, compared to the $2.2 million paid for the other FrontRunner cars. 

The cars offered extra capacity in the early days of FrontRunner, according to UTA.

FrontRunners riders will see three-car trains starting April 4. UTA advised Comet car riders to board the train near the canopies with the new change. 

UTA said it would host a send-off for the cars on April 1 at North Temple Station. The send-off will provide treats and Comet car stickers from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Related: UTA says fares will stay put despite rising gas prices

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FrontRunner to continue using Comet cars for now