Retirement scheduled again for FrontRunner Comet cars

Apr 12, 2022, 4:40 PM
A comet car is seen behind the engine in this photo. (Used by permission, UTA)...
A comet car is seen behind the engine in this photo. (Used by permission, UTA)
(Used by permission, UTA)

SALT LAKE CITY – Days are numbered for the original FrontRunner Comet cars after a few weeks’ reprieves.

The Utah Transit Authority said it will now retire the classic single-tiered cars on April 18. The cars were set for retirement last month until TSA changed its mind.

Most people know the 50-year-old cars by their camel-colored leather seats. UTA’s website said the cars have been with UTA since FrontRunner opened in 2009. 

UTA purchased 25 Comet cars from New Jersey Transit for $35,000 and another $400,000 to refurbish them, which transit officials said was a steal compared to the $2.2 million for newer cars. 

The Comet cars are headed for storage so they can be brought back into service for increased capacity during large community events.

UTA said the 50-year-old cars are beyond their normal life span and it is increasingly more expensive to maintain them. A news release said it’s next to impossible to find replacement parts.

The Comet cars are also heavy. UTA said the newer cars are lighter and that means the trains will show improved acceleration and deceleration.

That translates to as much as $800,000 in annual fuel savings.

Once the Comet cars are removed construction will begin to raise platforms at stations for boarding on the newer trains.

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Retirement scheduled again for FrontRunner Comet cars