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Dalton and Lark

Compiled by Don Strack

This page was last updated on July 17, 2011.

(This is a work in progress; research continues.)

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The Dalton & Lark properties were first brought together in 1895 with the organization of the Dalton & Lark Gold, Silver and Lead Mining Company. The company was organized to consolidate sixteen mining claims, on 155 acres, that made up the Dalton, Lark, Brooklyn and Keystone (earlier called the Yosemite) properties.

In 1895, the Dalton and Lark Gold, Silver and Lead Mining Company was organized to consolidate 16 claims (155 acres), including the Dalton, Lark, Brooklyn and Keystone properties. These mines had become inactive because of water drainage problems. The new company built a four mile horse tramway to connect the Dalton and Lark mines with the Rio Grande Western at Lead Mine station. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1899, p. 5; "hardly four years ago")

By November 1895 the Dalton and Lark mine had stopped using the horse tramway between its mine and Lead Mine station on the RGW's Bingham Branch. Instead they were using teams and wagons to move the ore from mine to ore bins at Revere station. "The Dalton and Lark company of Bingham have stopped patronizing what is known as the lead mill tramway, and are now shipping their ores by wagon to Revere switch." (Salt Lake Tribune, November 2, 1895)

The mines of the Dalton & Lark company had become inactive in 1899 because of water drainage problems. Prior to the end of mining operations, the Dalton & Lark company had built a four mile horse tramway. This tramway was built along the eastern slope of the Oquirrh Mountains, outside of Bingham Canyon, to connect the Dalton & Lark mines with the Rio Grande Western at Lead Mine station, at the mouth of Bingham Canyon.

The Dalton & Lark properties were sold on October 11, 1900 to P. T. Farnsworth and Willard F. Snyder, with the purchase price being $300,000. "Work will shortly be resumed on the big 5000-foot tunnel, by which it is proposed to tap and drain the immence property at the depth of 1200 feet." (Deseret News, October 12, 1900, "last evening")

The Dalton & Lark property was sold on July 5, 1901 to the Bingham Copper & Gold company, at the purchase price of $250,000, plus $1 million in stock of the purchasing company. (Deseret News, July 6, 1901, "yesterday afternoon")

A new shaft is being sunk to meet the drain tunnel at its 4500-foot mark, from which the tunnel will be extended an additional 2500 feet to meet the old workings, resulting in the drain tunnel being 7000 feet in length. (Deseret News, July 11, 1901)

By the fall of 1901 the development work on reopening the Dalton and Lark properties was nearing completion. In October 1901, in order to provide dependable transportation to the Dalton and Lark, Yosemite, and Brooklyn properties, the Bingham Consolidated company began construction on what would later become Rio Grande Western's Dalton and Lark Branch.

During January 1902 Bingham Consolidated completed construction of the 3.6 mile "Dalton and Lark Railroad" as a connection between the portal of its Dalton and Lark Drain Tunnel and the Rio Grande Western's Bingham branch. The new line was to replace the four mile horse tramway that had been built by the mine's previous owners in the late 1890s between the old Dalton and Lark mine, and Lead Mine station on the Rio Grande Western. The new line was built with 3.6 percent grades using 56-pound rail, and was operated with Shay locomotives. (Engineering and Mining Journal, July 24, 1902, p. 59; Hansen, p. 273)

The following comes from "Different Methods of Hauling Ore at Bingham, Utah" by W. P. Hardesty, C. E., Engineering News, July 24, 1902.

ROAD TO DALTON & LARK DRAIN TUNNEL -- This road was built to reach the mouth of the Dalton & Lark Drain Tunnel, still under construction, and which is designed to drain the workings of the mine of the same name. The tunnel will be about 7,000 ft. long when finally completed, and will drain other connected properties, and will eventually serve as a grand avenue by which the ore from a large area of underground workings will be brought to the surface without the expense of hoisting through shafts. It will tap all of them at depths greater than the present shafts reach, and will drain off the shafts and workings of the Dalton & Lark and other well-known mines which have been filled with water for years. The ore from these mines had for many years been hauled over a tramway connecting with the Rio Grande Western Ry. at Lead Mine Station, three miles below the Bingham terminus. This tramway had a total length of nearly four miles and grades far beyond the limits of a steam road.

The new road leaves the Rio Grande Western Ry. at Revere Station, nearly 3-1/2 miles below Lead Mine Station. The elevation here is 5,112 ft. and at the upper end it is 5,465 ft. The latter is about 1,000 ft. lower than the mouth of the shaft of the Dalton & Lark Mine, formerly reached by the tramway. The length is 3.6 miles.

The topography allows of a very good alinement. There is one tangent 1-1/4 miles long. Of the seven curves the sharpest one is a 12-1/2 degrees, followed by three 8-degree curves. The grade varies from level to 3.6 percent, and is compensated on curves at the rate of .04 ft. per station. Near the upper end a coal spur (for delivery of coal to coal chutes at a power house) leaves the main line and attains an elevation of about 20 ft. higher. The track is laid with 56-lb. rails on a 14-ft. roadbed.

The equipment is of the same kind as for the Copper Belt road. The Shay engine will handle a train of five cars on the grades of this line. Construction was begun Oct. 1, 1901, and completed Jan. 1, 1902.

[Along with the Copper Belt railroad, the Dalton & Lark spur was] ...built under the supervision of the Rio Grande Western Ry. Engineering Department, and the writer is under obligations to Mr. F. E. Baxter, Division Engineer for the Utah lines, for data and plans. The two roads were located by Mr. S. J. Norris. They are operated by a railroad department of the Bingham Copper & Gold Mining Co. Mr. D. McVichie is General Manager of the company and Mr. W. S. Hall is Superintendent of the roads.

To provide for hauling the ore which will be produced during the time before all work will be done so that connections can be made between the workings of the several mines and the drain tunnel (probably several years hence), an electric railroad has been built. This is a continuation of the steam road. It is a 24-inch gage line, operated with 10-ton motor cars. The grade is 5 percent, compensated. The sharpest curves have a radius of between 55 and 60 ft. The line is extensively developed, following the grade contour closely. Four miles have been built and put in operation, by which the present working shaft of the Dalton & Lark Mine has been reached. This is nearly directly up the mountain side from the mouth of the drain tunnel, but about 1,000 ft. higher in elevation.

Water has to be pumped from the mine, and all the ore hoisted until connection can be made with the tunnel. The electric road will be extended on about two miles further to the working shaft of the Brooklyn Mine, about 350 ft higher in elevation. This work is done under the direct supervision of the mining company.

Pending completion of the Drain Tunnel itself, "within five years", the ore was to be brought down from the mine (1,000 feet above the Drain Tunnel portal) by way of a new four mile, 24 inch gauge electric line. This "temporary" electric would be built with five percent grades and operated with ten-ton electric locomotives.

Both the new Dalton and Lark line and the Copper Belt line were built under the supervision of Rio Grande Western engineers and were operated by the "railroad department" of the Bingham Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company.

The first shipment of copper ore from the Dalton and Lark mine wasn't until 1903. It took Bingham Consolidated over two years to develop the property and to drain the water that had accumulated in the mines after they were shut down in 1899. With the shipment of ore actually beginning, in November 1903 Bingham Consolidated sold the Dalton and Lark line to Rio Grande Western. (Interstate Commerce Commission Reports, Volume 26, p. 809; 26 ICC 809; the sale was dated November 3, 1903.)

December 26, 1903
"Dalton & Lark main incline is down upwards of 45 feet below the 1,000, with about 400 feet to go to reach the Mascot (main tunnel) level." (Deseret News, December 26, 1903)