Sunday, June 7, 2020


Moab, UT

63.5 F

    Rail group seeks support for statewide study

    Featured Stories

    Ignoring own standards and experts, Utah commission pushes reopening

    The COVID-19 model from the CDC predicts an increase in deaths from the coronavirus from Utah in the coming weeks, and key indicators predict more hospitalizations are to come.

    Leaving Guatemala

    I selected “send me where I’m needed most,” my desire to immerse myself in another country’s culture not affixed to any location in particular.

    Widespread testing is key to Moab’s path forward

    Once a person develops symptoms of COVID-19, it has likely already been days since they started unknowingly spreading the virus. As such, local health officials want to expand testing locally for the coronavirus.

    County to diversify post-virus

    The impacts of the pandemic have renewed local leaders’ focus on a topic many have worried over for years but must now confront in much starker terms: Economic diversification.

    Arches, Canyonlands to reopen May 29

    Arches and Canyonlands national parks will partially reopen to the public at the end of the month, according to a spokesperson for the parks, following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities.

    The party is over at Imagination Station art supply store

    Cindy Sue Hunter serves a customer at her art supply store, Imagination Station, which has been reconfigured to allow shoppers to do what Hunter calls “door shopping."
    Carter Pape
    Carter Pape
    Reporter Carter Pape covers news out of the Grand County Council Chambers, including housing, tourism, crime, and more.

    Passenger service between Moab, SLC, Grand Junction included in plan

    This map illustrates proposed train routes through Utah being promoted by the Utah Rail Passenger Association.
    Graphic courtesy of Mike Christensen

    A nonprofit passenger rail organization is looking to have the Utah Department of Transportation commission a study of a proposed passenger rail system operated by Amtrak that would run between Salt Lake City, Saint George, Logan, Moab, other Utah cities and Grand Junction, Colorado.

    According to Mike Christensen, executive director of the Utah Rail Passengers Association, the study would be a counterpart to a study UDOT is already conducting. The existing study, which has a price tag of $65,000, seeks to determine how much demand there is for rail service in Utah.

    Christensen said the additional study could cost roughly $2-3 million and that it would be a “pre-implementation” step to realizing his proposed rail plan for statewide passenger service.

    Christensen said that, if implemented, his plan could be in place within the next five years.

    Although the plan includes a stop in Moab, that phase would be in place later than the rest of the system, perhaps 10 to 15 years away.

    This estimate is based on how long Moab’s Uranium Mill Tailings Remedial Action project will take to complete. UMTRA is currently using the freight rail north of Moab to transport uranium mill tailings from north of town to a permanent disposal site in Crescent Junction.

    Until all 16 million tons of contaminated material is removed, the rail will be dedicated to transporting the tailings.

    How the rail system would work

    Passenger railroads in the United States are primarily operated by Amtrak, which is publicly subsidized. Amtrak operates on freight lines built by private companies, such as Union Pacific and CSX.

    Amtrak currently services Salt Lake City and Grand Junction via its California Zephyr route, but according to Christensen, traveling by rail between those two destinations is less than optimal. Each day, one trip goes from Salt Lake to Grand Junction, and it leaves at 3:30 a.m.

    Christensen’s proposed plan would bring state-sponsored Amtrak service to Utah, which would mean more train service at better times for travelers and service to more cities.

    Currently, Provo, Helper and Green River are the only other cities in Utah on Amtrak’s route from San Francisco to Chicago. Christensen’s plan would bring Amtrak service to Logan, Saint George, Moab and other cities in between, and with more frequent service. Christensen said the service could be as frequent as three times daily.

    The plan would require rail to be built from Cedar City to Saint George, where none currently exists. Rail to the other stops on the routes is already laid down and owned by Union Pacific, which owns rail operated by Amtrak in other states, as well.

    For more information about the rail plan, visit

    Share this!

    - Advertisement -

    Latest News

    Police chief chases man behaving badly

    File photo by Carter Pape A Moab man with a history of drug...

    CFI modifies summer camp due to pandemic; won’t do overnight programs

    Canyonlands Field Institute has made the difficult decision to cancel its traditional overnight camps this summer, but is continuing to hold a new type of day camp.

    Economic injury loans in Utah reach $365.3M

    The U.S. Small Business Administration said in a statement that as of May 25, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program approved 500,074 loans nationally totaling $42.4 billion.

    Synergy donates $40K to local nonprofits

    Thatcher Vagts, president of The Synergy Company, distributes coronavirus relief checks to nonprofits. Courtesy photo The Synergy Company...

    Hwy. 191 work continues with paving, storm drain

    An excavator operator works on Highway 191 as part of a project by the Utah Department of Transportation to expand the...