Salt Lake City on the map for 2 major long-distance railways to Los Angeles and Seattle

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Salt Lake City is on the map to be a central hub for two potential major railways connecting the western United States.

As part of a study identifying new long-distance train routes, the Federal Railway Administration (FRA) has marked Salt Lake City as a stop for two preferred routes – one from Denver to Los Angeles and the other from Denver to Seattle.

A network of preferred railway routes across the United States from the Federal Railway Administration (Courtesy: FRA)
A network of preferred railway routes across the United States from the Federal Railway Administration (Courtesy: FRA)

The new routes will reportedly help connect cities across the United States with more efficient railways. For example, the new route between Denver and Seattle would be about a 40-hour ride on a single train, according to the FRA. The trip would be about 16 hours shorter than the current trip which requires riders to pass through Sacramento and ride along the Pacific coast on two separate trains.

The proposed Denver-Los Angeles route is estimated to take 33 hours on a single train. According to Amtrak’s website, that trip currently takes multiple trains and nearly 62 hours to complete.

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It will still be several years before these railways become a reality, however. The FRA said the final design and construction for its preferred network likely wouldn’t begin until “Year 8” of its timeframe. The railways then wouldn’t likely start operating until “Year 15.”

Over the next few months, the FRA will work to review feedback on its preferred routes and identify the costs to build and operate the tracks. The administration intends to meet again to reveal implementation schedules and discuss recommendations for the next steps sometime this spring.

Utah’s transportation officials previously applied for a $500,000 federal grant that would go toward connecting Boise and Las Vegas through Salt Lake City by train. That application was later denied with the federal government awarding the grant money to other projects nationwide instead.

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