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UTA FrontRunner up and running today

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The Utah Transit Authority will launch its FrontRunner commuter rail service Saturday with a rolling, VIP-laden inaugural train that will stop for ribbon-cutting ceremonies at seven new stations.

Festivities begin at 7:30 at the Ogden station, 2350 S. Wall Ave., and make their way south culminating in a grand opening ceremony scheduled for 12:30 p.m. at the Salt Lake Central station, 250 S. 600 West. Sens. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, and Orrin Hatch, also R-Utah, will be among the speakers at the downtown station.

After the big finale, FrontRunner service will open to the public on a free basis through Wednesday. UTA officials are estimating the first trains will start at approximately 2 p.m. Saturday and run about every 30 minutes.

UTA spokeswoman Carrie Bohnsack-Ware said each of the station ceremonies is customized for the host community. Celebrants will be greeted with food and music in addition to guest speakers at every stop.

The $611 million FrontRunner project creates a transit option that will be available Monday through Saturday, running between Salt Lake City and Ogden, with five stations served. A monthly pass is available for $145, with individual rides costing $2.50 for one stop and each additional stop adding 50 cents up to a maximum of $5.50 per ride.

Beginning Monday, the new downtown TRAX intermodal line will connect FrontRunner passengers with light-rail service east to the University of Utah and south to Sandy. Connections for UTA bus service also will be an option at the new Central station. UTA officials also announced that beginning April 27, all transit schedules will be adjusted to sync-up with the addition of FrontRunner trains. See www.rideuta.com for details on changes.

Inaugural train ride station celebrations

• 7:30 a.m. Ogden Station, 2350 S. Wall Ave.

• 8:30 Roy Station, 2675 Sandridge Drive (enter from 4000 South)

• 9:00 Clearfield Station, 1250 S. State

• 9:45 Layton Station, 150 S. Main

• 10:30 Farmington Station, 450 N. 850 West (enter from Clark Lane)

• 11:30 Woods Cross Station, 700 S. 800 West

• 12:30 p.m. Grand Opening Ceremony, Salt Lake Central Station, 250 S. 600 West

E-mail: araymond@desnews.com