Rail Station of the Month: Utah

By Mike Christensen, Executive Director Utah Rail Passengers Association

This article was published in the February 2019 edition of the Passengers Voice.

Recently I established the Utah Rail Passengers Association to advocate for state-sponsored Amtrak service in Utah that would connect north to Logan, southeast to Grand Junction, and southwest to Cedar City with motorcoach service connecting further to Saint George. More details at www.UtahRPA.org.

In December, I made my first field visits starting with Moab, which is a town of 5,000 residents and—located near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks—is the tourist hub of southeastern Utah. A committee was recently established to explore options for implementing transit service in and around Moab, as the entrance to Arches National Park is often closed by the Utah Highway Patrol when the highway becomes clogged with vehicles trying to enter the park.

In other words, Moab has realized that in order continue to grow its tourist industry, more transportation options are needed for visitors. I met with the committee to introduce state-sponsored
Amtrak service as an option for moving people between Salt Lake City and Moab, which was summarized by Moab Times-Independent.

On the same trip, I also made visits to Green River, Price, and Helper. Those familiar with the route of the California Zephyr across Utah will be aware of these towns. Green River has a  population just under 1,000 and boasts an Amtrak station. Despite its remoteness, Green River’s population has remained steady due to its location along the Union Pacific line and Interstate 70.

Price has a population of about 9,000 and lies on the route of the California Zephyr but lacks a station. The dwindling coal industry has left Price searching for new economic opportunities. Nearby, Helper has a population of just over 2,000 and a growing tourist industry due to its quaint Main Street. Its Amtrak station is a mere stone’s throw from Main Street, so an increase
in trains would be a boon to its economy.