News: January 2000
11 January 2000
- Amtrak's Empire Builder derailed in Essex, MT last week. The apparent cause of the derailment was snow build up on a switch the train was going over. At the time of the derailment the train was only traveling 5 mph causing no damage to the train. The third locomotive and the first three of 11 cars went on the ground. It did not take that long to get the train back on the tracks, however the train was delayed until 1:00am due to the investigation by the BNSF.
- A preservation group in West Yellowstone, Montana has received a grant of $60,000 to begin refurbishment of the former West Yellowstone Union Pacific station. The station was last used by the railroad in 1960, and is now being used as a museum, convention center, and hotel.
3 January 2000
- The city of Provo is using the construction of a new Amtrak station, as an effort to revitalize what is called the Franklin Area. The city will take the 21 block area from the new depot which is going to be built by the Union Pacific Railroad, to the new Town Center Mall, and will develop a new development plan for the neighborhood. The new depot which will serve Amtrak, Greyhound, Utah Transit Authority, and others will not only include the intermodal hub, but also meeting space, art displays, and areas for community events. The new intermodal hub will also include expansion room for the proposed Wasatch Front Commuter Rail Line, and light rail.
- Meanwhile, in Salt Lake, Mayor-Elect Rocky Anderson has condemned former mayor DeeDee Coridinni, for committed the city to building a new intermodal hub, west of the Rio Grande station, the location of the temp. station. He feels that the Fedral Goverment should have to pay for the new station. Rocky Anderson also opposed the Gateway Development Project which would allow neither the Union Pacific or Rio Grande stations to ever be used by rail in the future. Boyer Group moved up the ground breaking on the project to last month, to insure the project was already underway when the new mayor took office.
- With the first TRAX light rail line carrying 50% more people than projected, and construction to start this spring on the East/West light rail line, Utah Transity Authority is now working on three new light rail line projects. The first on will be an extension of the North/South line from Sandy to the fast growing suburb of Draper. Land is being left open along 12600 South, to build a new station for the Draper Area. This station will be the heart of an effort to create an historic area near the original townsite of Draper. The other two extensions will add a branch from the 6400 south station to South Jordan. The first half mile of the route is already being used by TRAX light rail vehicles to access the light rail vehicle maintence and storage facility. The route would follow the right of way of a Union Pacific branch line to the Bangater Highway then travel south to serve the fast growing areas of West Jordan and South Jordan. Both of these routes would use existing rights of way, keeping the cost down. The third extension would be the most expensive, but serve the largest area of transit dependent people. The route would leave the North/South line just to the south of 2100 South, then head west along a rarely used industrial track, then head southwest to the Valley Fair Mall in West Valley City. Most of the route will be elevated or along the right of way of Interstate 215, causing the cost for the extension to be quite high.
- Tim Enyman who wrote Intitative 695 in Washington State, which may cause the lost of the popular Cascade Service, has started a petition drive for a new ballot measure. This one would require 90% of all transportation funds to be used for highways, the rest could be used to fund ferry service, transit service, Amtrak and all other non-automobile transportation projects. Although there is little hope of the measure passing in areas such as King County, that heavely uses transit, but does have a good chance of passing in such areas as Spokane. If passed it would kill Spokanes light rail line, which is planned eventually to serve North Idaho.