As usual, I took care of some work in the morning and then I was ready for some adventure around 10am. I decided that today would be the day that I traveled to Salt Lake City on the train. I called Trey to see if he was game and to my surprise, he jumped up and was ready to go pretty quickly. We packed my backpack with some water and a few snacks since you never know what you’re going to run into in a new place and off we went to Salt Lake City on FrontRunner.
Salt Lake City on FrontRunner from Ogden was Cool!
Our plan was to catch the 11:15am FrontRunner train to Salt Lake but we arrived as it was leaving, so Trey took off on an errand while I check out the scene. The next train was scheduled for 12:15pm. FrontRunner runs from Salt Lake City to Ogden and back. It has lights on the front and the back so the train just reverses its brakes and heads back the way it came, but backwards. When it gets busy, they have 2 trains running on the two tracks. It looks like at one time the train went a little further north of Ogden, then did a curve and returned to Salt Lake on the south bound track. Besides hopping on box cars when we were kids, Trey and I had never been on a passenger train. This train was a double-decker, had restrooms on board, comfortable seats and actually had tables at every other seating area for eating, working or studying. Another cool feature was that the bottom level had passenger seating but also allowed plenty of room for bikes to be brought on board. Sweet!!
To get around in the cities of Utah on public transportation, you use the UTA or Utah Transit Authority vehicles. These include the FrontRunner train, buses and trolleys. Where I’m from in Houston, they use a Metro Bus and train system which costs about $1.25 per ride with free transfers for about 4 hours. In Houston you buy a bus pass, load the pass with money and just tap it as you get on board a bus or train.
From what we have discovered so far in Utah, the cost to ride public transportation is $2.35 with free transfers for a few hours. Almost double the price? I couldn’t find on the UTA site where you could buy a re-loadable pass but they do offer monthly passes if you plan to use the UTA often which I can imagine how useful it can be during the winter in the snow instead of driving your own car. A monthly pass for the use of buses and the trolley (TRAX) is $78.50 and then you pay extra for FrontRunner trips. The other option is to get the Premium pass which includes FrontRunner for $189 for the month. They also have the option of doing a Day pass or a 3-Day pass which I’m sure most skiers would be interested in.
Let’s say for example we wanted to go to Park City, Utah which is where one of two of the US Winter Olympic training facilities is located. From Ogden, you would get on FrontRunner to Salt Lake City and you would arrive at a main transportation hub. From there, you would jump on a bus off to Park City with your skis and all. It’s a pretty cool system it you are not used to driving in the snow and ice.
Back to our story. 🙂 Today, our goal was to just try out FrontRunner, see what it costs, how long it takes and what to do when get got off the train. While Trey ran his errand, I went into the UTA terminal and asked some questions and picked up some maps. They directed me to the self pay terminals out next to the train track so I went and checked it out. The train stops about 5 times in route to Salt Lake City and you have a choice when purchasing your ticket which stop to get off at and the price increases with each stop the closer you get to Salt Lake. The one-way far from Ogden to Salt Lake was $5.50 or $10.25 for round trip. OUCH!! The ride is about 38 miles and 45 mins on the train due to the short stops. The train travels about 70 mph and is a very smooth ride, although there were a couple bumps.
The picture below is Trey as we are just taking off from the Ogden station. I was able to slip in the Welcome to Ogden sign in the window.
And then you have me, Go Coogs!!
Our Quick Adventures in Salt Lake City
When we arrived in Salt Lake City, we had no plan as we really just wanted to ride the train, see where it goes, and have a short day trip so we would know what to expect next time. The train trip was great! You have about 45 mins to relax in comfortable seats and do what you want. Trey read the sports section and I did some people watching. We were in the top level of our train car with one guy listening to music and two girls at one of the tabled seats eating Subway. Each stop people got on and people got off, it was interesting thinking about where these people were going for the day.
As we arrived in Salt Lake, we jumped off the train with everyone else, looked at each other and said “Now what?”. Ha!! This stop was a major transportation hub for Northern Salt Lake so there was a bus terminal and, a Greyhound terminal and believe it or not a bike terminal. Well, not really a terminal, but there was a place where you could rent bikes or store bikes. Trey used his skills of speech to talk to a few people and find out where we could go from here for just a few hours. We found other that there was a nice outdoor mall nearby and not far from there was the Utah Jazz’s basketball arena which we still call the Delta Center but it has been renamed to Energy Solutions Arena. We decided to hit the arena first then double back to the mall for lunch and people watching.
The Energy Solutions Arena was about a 6 block walk from the UTA station. Being Houston Rockets fans, we always wondered what it would be like to watch a game in the “Delta Center” with our Rockets Red on, but today we were just checking out the outside. Below are statues of Stockon and Malone, the two most popular Jazz players ever.
Trey thought he could take Stockton:
Malone’s moves were too much for me:
One more picture of Trey and I at the Delta…I mean Energy Yada Yada Yada:
Well, that was fun! Now off to the mall to find some lunch and check out the crowd. Like I said earlier, this is an outdoor mall with plenty of shops but we were mostly interested in their food court at the time. The video below is us acting goofy at The Gateway Mall.
We walked around and checked out the shops for a little bit but our quick trip to Salt Lake was about over so we headed back to the UTA station, jumped on FrontRunner for the return trip and off back to Ogden. I do have to mention that we met this great guy on the return trip. He was one of the train conductors, is originally from Scotland, now lives in Utah and was in his 70’s and was just full of energy. He told some great stories and he was a joy to talk with. I hope we see him on our next trip. He was referring to us as the Texas twins.
Below, you will find my comment area. Please feel free to leave a comment whether positive, negative, constructive or maybe you have a funny, strange or cool story that relates. Comment away, thanks. Troy