D&RGW Utah Branch Lines
Index For This Page
This page was last updated on September 24, 2016.
Ballard & Thompson Branch
D&RGW operated the Ballard & Thompson Railroad from 1912 to 1950, under contract to the owning coal company. After May 1948, D&RGW used the name "Neslen Spur" in its employee timetables.
The branch was abandoned and removed in 1951.
(Google Map; Syracuse Branches)
Also known as the South Syracuse Branch, the Bennett Branch ran due west from Layton, to a sugar beet dump in Syracuse (right where today's Smith's grocery store is). Since the branch is not listed in any D&RGW summary of branches, it was apparently operated by D&RGW but built and owned by Layton Sugar Co. for sugar beet loading.
Rio Grande operated a spur in South Syracuse, straight west of the Layton sugar factory. The spur served Layton Sugar Company's beet dump that was built along 1000 West, just five hundred feet south of 2700 South. The line was called the Bennett Branch and angled southeast from the beet dump across Bennett's field until it was a half mile south of 2700 South and then headed due east to the sugar factory of the Layton Sugar Company.
The Bennett Branch was built and owned by the Layton Sugar Company to serve their beet dump in South Syracuse. Property for the spur was purchased in October 1926, although the spur may already been built.
The Bennett Branch was built due west along the half section line of Section 19 of T4N, R1W and Sections 24 and 23 of T4N, R2W. At the center of Section 23 the line turned northwest towards the northwest corner of section 23, ending at a beet dump on 1000 West, 500 feet south of 2700 South (on the site of today's Smith's grocery store).
The Rio Grande's Bennett Branch was built and owned by the Layton Sugar Company to serve their beet dump in South Syracuse, near present day 2700 South and 1000 West. Property for the spur was purchased in October 1926, although the spur may already been built. (Davis County Book of Deeds 1‑H, pp.181, 183)
The beet dump and spur was removed by 1952. In March 1952 the sugar company sold a parcel of land in section 24, 33 feet wide by 2,651 feet long to Allen A. Adams. James E. Ellison was President and J. B. Cooley was Secretary of the Layton Sugar Company. (Davis County Book of Records 36, p.96)
In January 1955 Layton Sugar Company sold a 1.97 acre (577.5 feet by 149 feet) parcel to George H. Bennett Jr. The parcel was located along 1000 West, 509 feet south of 2700 South and was the typical size for a beet dump. (Davis County Book of Records 178, p.63)
In June 1955 the Layton Sugar Company sold a 2.89 acre (33 feet by 3,809 feet) parcel to the Ellison Ranching Company. The parcel ended at the west line of the Denver and Rio Grande mainline and included a 12 degree curve in the description. (Davis County Book of Records 88, p.435) This is interpreted to be the connection of the Bennett Branch with the D&RG mainline.
From a history that I did for Syracuse:
"Three people have told me about a rail line in South Syracuse that went due west from the Layton sugar factory. Apparently the branch went due west along the half section line of Section 19 of T4N, R1W and Sections 24 and 23 of T4N, R2W. At the center of Section 23 the line turned northwest towards the northwest corner of section 23, ending at a beet dump on 1000 West, 500 feet south of 2700 South.
"The Rio Grande's Bennett Branch was built and owned by the Layton Sugar Company to serve their beet dump in South Syracuse, near present day 2700 South and 1000 West. Property for the spur was purchased in October 1926, although the spur may already been built. (Davis County Book of Deeds 1‑H, pp.181, 183)
"The beet dump and spur may have been removed by 1952. In March 1952 the sugar company sold a parcel of land in section 24, 33 feet wide by 2,651 feet long to Allen A. Adams. James E. Ellison was President and J. B. Cooley was Secretary of the Layton Sugar Company. (Davis County Book of Records 36, p.96)
"In January 1955 Layton Sugar Company sold a 1.97 acre (577.5 feet by 149 feet) parcel to George H. Bennett Jr. The parcel was located along 1000 West, 509 feet south of 2700 South and was the typical size for a beet dump. (Davis County Book of Records 178, p.63)
"In June 1955 the Layton Sugar Company sold a 2.89 acre (33 feet by 3,809 feet) parcel to the Ellison Ranching Company. The parcel ended at the west line of the Denver and Rio Grande mainline and included a 12 degree curve in the description. (Davis County Book of Records 88, p.435) This is interpreted to be the connection of the Bennett Branch with the D&RG mainline."
- Midvale (MP 0.00) (yard)
- S. L. & U. Crossing (MP 2.0)
- West Jordan (MP 2.0) (23 car side track)
- Welby (MP 5.1) (47 car side track)
- Wye track, connection with Garfield Branch
- Locomotive service facility including turntable and roundhouse
- Bagley (MP 6.6)
- Dalton (MP 9.0) (15 car side track, connection with Dalton & Lark Branch)
- Robbe (MP 11.5) (changed to Proler)
- Upper Junction (MP 11.8)
- MP 11.81, changed to Copperton upon becoming end of track in (?).
- Copperton (MP 11.9)
- Bingham (MP 14.1) (yard)
- MP 14.26, End
Cane Creek Branch
- Brendel (MP 0.0)
- Arch ( MP 10.3)
- Lee (MP 18.3)
- Seven Mile (MP 21.3)
- Emkay (MP 28.5)
- Potash (MP 35.8) (end)
- 35.8 miles
- Completed in 1962; in service in 1965 when the potash mine started operations
- Connects with Utah Division at Brendel, Utah
- 7050-foot Bootlegger Tunnel (1.3 miles)
- Two significant summits - one at about mile 12, and the other on both sides of Seven Mile, at about mile 21.
- Ruling grade is 1.2 percent
- One siding at Seven Mile, which also has a separate spur with a truck dump.
- (Google Map)
- (see also: Moving The Moab Tailings)
Castle Valley Branch
- Salina (MP 0.0)
- Gooseberry (MP 7.0)
- Tunnel No. 7, 329 feet long
- Tunnel No. 8, 586 feet long
- Saw Tooth (MP 12.6)
- Tunnel No. 9, 301 feet long
- Tunnel No. 10, 269 feet long
- Sumner (MP 13.8)
- Crystal (MP 17.7)
- Nioche (MP 18.8) (Nioche to end of track, 2.33 miles, not operated in 1934) (80-feet long turntable at Nioche)
- End of track (MP 20.0, end)
- 20 miles long, from Salina to Nioche
- Construction completed in 1903
- Construction cost was $420,083.56
- Washed out during 1904
- In 1913, D&RG spent $35,000 restoring condition of branch, but the effort was discontinued because of the war effort.
- Between March 1921 and September 1923, $142,000 was spent by D&RGW and its court appointed receivers toward rehabilitation.
- Similar monies expended from time to time between 1925 and 1927.
- U. S. attempts to take back branch on grounds of non-use in U. S. vs. D&RGW RR, et. al. in 16 F(2nd) 374, Eighth Circuit Court in 1924.
- Crystal to Nioche removed in 1936, having not been operated since 1930.
- Salina to Crystal removed in 1942, having not been operated since 1933.
- Castle Valley Branch shown in Salt Lake Division employee timetable No. 119, dated June 2, 1940
- Castle Valley Branch *not* shown in Salt Lake Division employee timetable No. 122, dated July 5, 1942
- ICC Valuation Docket 960 (26 ICC Val. 746)
- Salt Lake Division timetable No. 95, June 1, 1924 (courtesy John B. Charles, email to D&RGW Yahoo group dated July 22, 2003)
- Salt Lake Division timetable No. 102, June 9, 1929 (courtesy Scott Meier, email to D&RGW Yahoo group dated July 23, 2003)
Diamond Quarry Spur
- One mile long.
- Completed in 1887 as narrow gauge.
- Converted to standard gauge in 1890.
- Removed in 1900.
- Diamond Quarry was a stone quarry at the mouth of Diamond Creek, just west of Thistle.
Farnsworth was the site of a beet dump owned by Interstate Sugar Co., and a cannery owned by West Point Canning Co.
Rio Grande had a spur to the West Point Canning Company, at 3200 West and the West Point Road (300 North). The spur was built in 1923 as a private rail line owned by the Interstate Sugar Company, which operated the sugar factory at Hooper.
The spur was built south from the siding that Rio Grande called Kingsville, at about 3000 West and 1800 North, named after James King who sold the land to the railroad in 1917. King also sold property to the Amalgamated Sugar Company, which completed a beet dump at Kingsville in 1918.
The Interstate Sugar Company constructed the line to serve the beet dump that was built at Farnsworth, at the end of the line on the north side of the West Point Road (at about 3200 West). Farnsworth was named after Lou Farnsworth, one of the officers in the Interstate Sugar Company.
The sugar company constructed the line to serve the beet dumps that were built at Farnsworth, at the end of the line on the north side of the West Point Road (300 North at about 3200 West). Farnsworth was named after Lou H. Farnsworth, one of the officers in the Interstate Sugar Company.
Interstate Sugar built its railroad south from Kingsville on the D&RG to Farnsworth in 1923. In June 1923 the sugar company bought 4.25 acres of land (SEQ, Sec 32, T5N, R2W) from William H. Dalton and Oly C. Oelson to be used for a beet dump and a railroad right of way at Farnsworth. The property for the entire rail line was purchased from the adjacent land owners, Julia A. Davis, Hannah S. Stokes, Brigham Hartley, and Oly C. Oelson. (Davis County Book of Abstracts 5, pp. 150, 153)
The Farnsworth Spur was built from where it joined with D&RG's Kingsville Spur just north of Kingsville and headed southwest to about 3200 West then due south to the Interstate's beet dump at Farnsworth, at about 3200 West on the north side of 300 North. (Davis County Book of Abstracts 5, p.175, lines 4 and 26)
The spur to the West Point cannery at Farnsworth began at Station 78+23 of the Interstate Sugar Company's railroad and headed southeast and south one hundred feet east of the sugar company's railroad for a length of 765 feet.
The railroad was 1.6 miles long with a 647 foot spur. Consolidated Assets was a Utah corporation based in Ogden. James E. Ellison was vice president. (Davis County Book of Deeds 1J, p.569) The Ellison family also owned the Layton Sugar Co.
The West Point Canning Company was served by the 765-foot Dalton Spur at Farnsworth.
The West Point Canning Company's cannery was located about a hundred feet east of the beet dump at Farnsworth. The canning company began business in 1925 and Rio Grande built a spur to the cannery in May. The canning company went bankrupt in 1936.
In 1925 the West Point Canning Company built a cannery on the east side of the spur on land purchased from William H. Dalton in February 1925. The canning company sold a right of way to the D&RG for a spur, "as now constructed", in April 1925. (Davis County Book of Abstracts 5, p.175, lines 4 and 26)
In 1930, after the Interstate Sugar Company went bankrupt in 1927, the Rio Grande bought mile and half long spur and called it the Farnsworth Extension. The railroad bought the spur to maintain service to the beet dump which was taken over by the Amalgamated Sugar Company.
October 14, 1930
The "Interstate Sugar Company's Railroad" from Kingsville to Farnsworth was sold by Consolidated Assets to the Denver and Rio Grande Western on October 14, 1930. (Davis County Book of Abstracts 5, p. 176, line 35)
(The cannery building still stood as late as 1991, being used as a horse barn.)
- Welby (MP 0.00) (47 car side track)
- Hunter (MP 6.0) (9 car side track) (later known as Kearns)
- Riter (MP 10.7) (71 car side track)
- East Magna
- Magna (MP 12.8)
- East Junction (MP 13.4)
- Garfield (MP 15.1) (77 car side track)
- Garfield Smelter (MP 17.0, end) (yard)
Goshen Valley Branch
The federal Interstate Commerce Commission approved D&RGW's request to abandon the Eureka Branch from Pearl Junction to Eureka, 13.13 miles, along with the Goshen Valley Branch from Flora to Dividend, 2.70 miles. (Railroad magazine, December 1972, page 66)
(see Provo Canyon Branch)
(Google Map; Syracuse Branches)
D&RGW's Hooper Branch began at the mainline, at about 5700 South in Roy. The curve was a 350 foot radius from the north to the west. The branch proceeded west along 5700 South to about 3900 West where it started a gradual turn to the north. At about 4925 West the branch turned due west again to Hooper, along 5600 South. The Hooper Road is 5500 South.
At about 5500 West the spur to the sugar factory turned north for about a quarter mile. The sugar factory was located at about 5400 South just west of 5500 West. The Hooper cannery was located about a half block south of 5500 South at about 5700 West. Apparently the Cox Extension continued west along 5600 South to a beet dump at about 7000 West. The station at Cox was the off‑loading station for a Conservation Corps camp in the 1930's, used to make improvements to the Howard Slough Bird Refuge. The same camp was used as a POW camp during World War Two.
D&RGW's Hooper Branch ran west, paralleling today's 5600 South (Hooper Road) at about 5650 South, to Hooper, at about 5700 West. The Cox Extension was built further west to about 6700 West where a beet dump for Interstate Sugar Company was located (just south of Thorald Cox's home). The station at Cox was also the off‑loading station for a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in the 1930s. The CCC were used to construct the Howard Slough Bird Refuge. The same camp was used to house a limited number of Italian POWs during World War Two. The beet dump at Cox was closed in about 1953, at which time the beets were piled at Amalgamated Sugar's Hooper beet dump, on the site of the old Interstate Sugar Company's sugar factory. (part from Garth Moore interview, September 1994)
- Hooper Junction (Roy) (MP 0.00)
- Barton (MP 1.1) (32 car side track)
- Kingsville Junction (MP 1.9)
- Hooper (MP 4.0)
- Cox (MP 5.0, end) (20 cars side track)
Initial construction in 1905 by D&RG.
RGW bought land for a sixty‑six foot right of way through several sections for use as a spur to Hooper in March 1905. (Weber County Book of Deeds G, p.67)
RGW bought land in Hooper in April 1905 for use as a spur to the sugar factory, connecting with the Hooper Spur. (Weber County Book of Deeds G, p.86)
Barton, on Hooper Branch, was at the section line between Sections 21 and 22, T5N, R2W (D&RG Valuation Map)
D&RG bought more land in Hooper from Amalgamated Sugar in January 1918. (Weber County Book of Deeds J, p.108, lines 6, 7, 8)
Iron King Branch
A section of the abandoned track was destroyed when Bureau of Land Management contractors used large chains pulled between bulldozers to remove invasive plant species. The chaining ripped up the rails and track structure in several places. (Information and photos from Pete Maxfield)
- Jennings Junction (later Kyune)
- Jennings Quarry (3 miles)
- Potters Quarry (4.97 miles)
Initial construction 3 miles to Jennings Quarry in 1892; extended to 4.97 miles to Potters Quarry in 1900; removed in 1917
- Kenilworth Junction (MP 0.00) (West Helper)
- Kenilworth (MP 6.2, end)
Replaced Kenilworth & Helper Railway, which connected with D&RGW at Spring Glen, east of Helper.
D&RGW received federal ICC approval to abandon its Kenilworth Branch, Helper to Kenilworth, 6.23 miles. (Railroad magazine, April 1972, page 65)
See also Utah Coal, Kenilworth Mines.
Kingsville was the site of a beet dump owned by Amalgamated Sugar Co.
D&RG's Kingsville Spur was built in late 1917 and early 1918. The branch started with a 12 degree curve to the south from the Hooper Spur, at a point 458 feet east and 414 feet south of the NW corner of Section 21, T5N, R2W. The land for the entire spur was purchased in December 1917.
The D&RG station at Kingsville was named after the original land owner, Joseph S. King, and was located at about 3000 West on the north side of 1800 North (Clinton Road). King sold a right of way for the D&RG spur, which had already been graded, in December 1917. At the same time King also sold two acres to the Amalgamated Sugar Company for use as a beet dump. The land for the beet dump was 665 feet north to south and 128 feet wide along the east side of the D&RG spur. D&RG purchased additional land from Amalgamated Sugar in January 1918, at which time the spur had been completed. (Davis County Book of Abstracts B, p.19, and Book of Deeds 1‑A, pp.437 and 478)
Amalgamated Sugar bought land for use as a beet dump at Kingsville in November 1917. (Weber County Book of Deeds J, p.79)
Lake Park Branch
- Constructed in 1887 to serve the Lake Park Resort on the shore of Great Salt Lake, west of Farmington.
- Converted to standard gauge in 1889.
- Two miles
- Dalton (MP 0.00) (15 car side track)
- Lark (MP 3.6, end) (yard)
Little Cottonwood Branch
- Midvale (MP 0.00) (yard)
- State Street (MP 1.0)
- U. P. Crossing (MP 1.8)
- Sandy (MP 2.0) (24 car side track)
- Sand Pit (MP 3.1) (27 car side track)
- End of Track (MP 3.4)
End of track, with a 17 car side track, after ?? was at MP 1.6, just short of the UP crossing at Sandy.
In 1939, D&RGW built the Alta Lodge at Alta in Little Cottonwood Canyon. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 30, 2006)
End of track changed from MP 2.0 (Sandy) to MP 1.0 (State Street) with D&RGW employee timetable No. 139, dated September 22, 1957.
General description of branch, from the 1937 D&RGW Branchline summary:
- LITTLE COTTONWOOD BRANCH - SALT LAKE DIVISION
- 3.41 Miles
- Purchased narrow gauge 1881
- Standard gauged to Sandy 1890 - to Wasatch 1913.
- The upper part of the branch from Sandy to Wasatch was built by the Wasatch & Jordan Valley Railroad Company in 1873 and extended to Alta in 1876, primarily to reach the rich gold mines at Alta, bringing the ores from those mines to the old smelter at Sandy. Soon after the construction of the branch, granite quarries were opened at Wasatch from which granite for the Mormon Temple and other important buildings was obtained. While the narrow gauge track was built from Wasatch to Alta, it was found impossible to operate the upper part of the line successfully with steam power, horses being substituted as motive power for operating the track as a tramway from Wasatch to Alta.
- In 1881, the branch and tramway were acquired by our predecessor, The Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway Company, but operation of the upper part of the branch was soon discontinued.
- The lower part, from Midvale to Sandy, was originally a part of Bingham Canon and Camp Floyd Railroad which was acquired by the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway Company in 1881.
- After many years of inoperative ownership, during which the upper part of the branch was leased to the Little Cottonwood Transportation Company; the track was removed above Sand Pit in 1934.
- The rail in this line is 90 pound, laid in 1937. It is on natural dirt and sand.
- There are approximately 3,200 ties per mile, 90 percent of which are treated.
- Maximum grade 4.2 percent.
- Maximum curvature 16 degrees.
- The only natural resource of any consequence remaining on this branch is a sand and gravel pit located at Sand Pit, Utah. A movement of ore and concentrates from points adjacent to the branch has been discontinued, with no possibility of movement in the future.
- The Ideal Sand Company, located at Sand Pit, Utah, ships sand, gravel and engine sand. During the year of 1937, 50 cars of commercial sand and gravel, and 267 cars of engine sand for the Union Pacific Railroad were shipped from Sand Pit. At Sandy, Utah, we have one coal and lumber dealer and one retail gas and oil dealer.
- Irregular service - operated as required - average service about one trip per week which is made by the "Ping-Pong" crew. This crew handles all industry work at Sugar House, between Roper and Midvale, and on Little Cottonwood Branch.
- Our conclusions are that that portion of the branch beyond the spur serving the Superior Oil Company at Mile Post 1.4 be abandoned. (Mile Post 1.4 was east of the UP/D&RGW gantlet crossing of State Street, and west of the crossing of UP at Sandy.)
D&RGW Marysvale Branch -- A Google Map of D&RGW's Marysvale Branch, built in 1891 and abandoned in 1984.
- Thistle (MP 0.00) (yard)
- Indianola (MP 14.8) (23 car side track)
- Hill Top (MP 23.3) (28 car side track)
- Wye track
- Oak Creek
- Wye track
- Fairview (MP 32.0) (29 car side track)
- Mount Pleasant (MP 38.6)
- Spring City (MP 44.1) (19 car side track)
- West Ephraim (MP 52.5) (61 car side track)
- Wye track, connection with San Pete Valley Railway
- Ephraim (MP 53.4) (yard)
- Morrison Branch Crossing --(MP 741.2)
- Manti (MP 60.8) (yard)
- Wye track
- Sterling (MP 66.3) (17 car side track)
- Gunnison (MP 72.0) (26 car side track)
- Spearmint (MP 75.0) (38 car side track)
- Axtell (MP 79.2) (18 car side track)
- Redmond (MP 82.5) (9 car side track)
- Salina (MP 86.4) (yard)
- Wye track
- Aurora (MP 92.2) (51 car side track)
- Sigurd (MP 96.3) (34 car side track)
- Kema (MP 100.1) (30 car side track)
- Richfield (MP 103.7) (yard)
- Wye track
- Central (MP 108.7) (15 car side track)
- Nibley (MP 110.0) (55 car side track)
- Elsinore (MP 111.7) (23 car side track)
- Joseph (MP 116.5) (24 car side track)
- Vaga (MP 119.6)
- Sevier (MP 120.6) (16 car side track)
- Tunnel No. 5, 200 feet long
- Belknap (MP 126.6)
- Marysvale (MP 132.2) (yard)
- Wye track
- End of track (MP 132.8)
In 1956, the traffic on the Marysvale Branch included:
(from a Jim Eager email, dated March 4, 2001)
- wallboard = largest single commodity, tonnage not listed but it was well over 100,000 tons; plant at Sigurd, shipped 1/2 to SLC, 1/2 to Denver/Pueblo
- sugar beets = 29,600 tons; loaded at Nibley, Aurora, Spearmint, shipped to SLC area for processing
- coal = 10,835 tons; loaded at Salina
- lumber = 6,719 tons
- frozen poultry = tonnage not listed but around 6,500 tons; processed and loaded at Moroni
- sheep = 5,259 tons
- cattle = 1,555 tons
- uranium ore = 478 tons, loaded at Marysvale for processing in SLC area
- coke = 192 tons
- sulphuric acid = 55 tons
- fluxing stone = 40 tons (just 1 carload!)
- manufactured goods = 43,285 tons
- agricultural products = 13,640 tons
- mine products = 2,200 tons
- forest products = 1,365 tons
- livestock = 711 tons
Additional information about operations on the Marysvale Branch:
- In the 1950s the wallboard traffic was carried in 50ft wood-sheathed 1 1/2 door boxcars (D&RGW 61200-61399 and 61400-61699, 1923 ARA design), and on 53ft AAR 50-ton flatcars with added bulkheads (22247-22317).
- The coal, coke, uranium ore and sugar beets were hauled in GS gondolas.
- The frozen poultry shown above was before mechanical reefers, and possibly used heavily-iced and salted ART reefers.
- (Jim Eager, email dated March 5, 2001)
The few available photographs show either a T-29 4-6-0 or a P-44 4-6-2 steam locomotive with a short train of three or four heavyweight cars. It was apparently referred to as the "Sanpete Hay Burner." The June 1949 timetable still listed trains 11 and 12 to Marysvale with an air-conditioned coach and also bus service. (Steve Seguine, email dated March 5, 2001)
There was a later report that the last passenger train left Richfield in 1947, with 4-6-2 no. 803 as the motive power.
According to the 1955 employee timetable, there were wye tracks on the Marysvale Branch at Marysvale, Richfield, Salina, Manti, Ephraim, and Oak Creek. Steve Seguine remembered that the old Conoco building at the eastern edge of Marysvale was along the west tail of the wye.
The 1968 Engineering Department Condensed Profile for the Marysvale Branch showed wyes at the Moroni Spur Junction (mp 52.8), Manti (mp 60.3) and Salina (mp 86.4).
Out of service after April 1983 Thistle slide; ICC approved formal abandonment in August 1986 and rails and ties were removed starting in September 1986, and completed by spring 1987.
- U. P. Crossing (MP 42.0, Tintic Branch)
- Mammoth (MP 42.6) (yard)
Joint operation with OSL, then with UP, to provide access to the mill of the Mammoth Milling Co.
- Ephraim (MP 34.7, connection with San Pete Valley Branch)
- Marysvale Branch Crossing (MP 41.2)
- Manti (MP 42.0)
- Mile Post 42.2 (end of track after 1918)
- Morrison (MP 42.7, end)
- Removed south of Ephraim in 1925
Former San Pete Valley Railway
See also a History of Railroads in San Pete Valley.
Ogden Sugar Works Branch
- Two miles, constructed by RGW in 1899.
- Owned jointly with OSL, connected with OSL's Evona Branch.
- Served the sugar works of Ogden Sugar Co., later Amalgamated Sugar Co.
- Still in service during 2003, operated under contract for UP by Utah Central Railway.
- Provo Junction (MP 0.00) (yard)
- Curtis (MP 3.8) (23 car side track)
- Lincoln (MP 4.2) (16 car side track)
- Snow (MP 4.8) (yard)
- Orem (MP 6.2) (yard)
- End of track (MP 6.4)
Purchased from the bankrupt Salt Lake & Utah Railroad in 1946.
Park City Branch
- Roper (MP 0.00) (yard)
- U. P. Crossing (MP 0.7)
- Sugar House (MP 2.8) (yard)
- Le Grand (MP 7.6)
- Cement Quarry (MP 8.0) (9 car side track)
- Dale (MP 10.5) (18 cars side track)
- Barclay (MP 14.7) (16 car side track)
- Tunnel No. 6 (1,132 feet long)
- Altus (MP 18.8) (12 car side track)
- Gogorza (MP 23.5) (22 car side track)
- Stoven (MP 26.0) (20 car side track)
- Snyderville (MP 28.3) (4 car side track)
- Park City (MP 32.2, end) (yard)
- Initial construction in 1889 as narrow gauge (3 feet) by Salt Lake & Eastern Railway
- Completed to Park City in April 1890.
- Salt Lake & Eastern reorganized as Utah Central Railway, April 1890.
- Utah Central Railroad organized in December 1897 to purchase the property and assets of the bankrupt Utah Central Railway.
- Utah Central Railroad leased to RGW on January 1, 1898.
- Converted to standard gauge in 1900.
- New line from Roper to Sugar House completed in 1900.
- In 1932, Salt Lake City extended 13th East across the "Penitentiary Fields" (today's Sugar House Park), which included a short concrete tunnel structure under the new fill.
- Abandoned from Cement Quarry to Park City in 1948.
- Abandoned from Sugar House to Cement Quarry in 1956; tunnel structure under 13th East was blocked with dirt fill.
- Trackage east of 1300 East Street was removed in 1956-1957 after the former state prison grounds were sold to Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County for the purposes of public space; Sugar House Park was created in July 1957. The park was not fully developed for another ten years.
- Abandoned from Roper to Sugar House in 1995.
- The line from Roper to Sugar House was purchased by Utah Transit Authority in 2002; plans were announced in 2008 for the construction of a street car route that would end on the west side of Highland Drive; ground was broken in May 2012; service started on December 7, 2013.
- In 2013, the tunnel structure under 13th East was discovered during excavation for a new bicycle/pedestrian passage under 1300 East.
The last train to operate in Parleys Canyon, east of Sugar House, was on Wednesday, January 5, 1956. That last train operated over the six miles of line between Sugar House and the lime stone quarry of Utah Portland Cement Co., and was made up of a D&RGW Fairbanks-Morse switcher, five gondola carloads of lime rock, and a caboose. Within hours, bulldozers began covering the tracks at the loading station at the quarry, in preparation for the improvement of U.S. 40 in Parleys Canyon, which would see the track buried by 18 feet of fill. After that last train, service was only to Alexander, at the mouth of the canyon, below the Stillman Bridge, where the cement company was to haul its lime rock by truck to a new loading station at that point. The engineer was Clarence Morandi and the conductor was Golden Calloway, both of whom had apparently been making the same trip every day since 1946. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 5, 1956, courtesy of Dave Gayer.)
See also the railroad portion of History of Transportation in Parley's Canyon.
Pleasant Valley Branch
- Colton (MP 0.00) (yard)
- Wye track
- Scofield (MP 15.2) (yard)
- Wye track, connection with Winter Quarters Spur
- Clear Creek (MP 21.1) (yard)
- End of track (MP 21.6)
- Completed Pleasant Valley Junction to Scofield in December 1882 to replace the original Utah & Pleasant Valley Ry.
- First terminal was the Winter Quarters mine, west of Scofield
- Second terminal was the Utah mine, south of Scofield
- 18 miles to Utah mine converted to standard gauge in 1890
- Pleasant Valley Junction changed to Colton in June 1898
- Final terminal was the Clear Creek mine, further south from Scofield, completed in 1899
- Winter Quarters spur removed in April 1933
- Still in service during 2003
See also Utah Coal, Pleasant Valley Mines.
Provo Canyon Branch
- Provo (MP 0.00) (yard)
- S. L. & U. Crossing (MP 0.2)
- S. L. & U. Crossing (MP 0.6)
- Smoot (MP 1.1) (23 cars side track)
- Caryhurst (MP 5.8) (14 car side track) (later known as Hale)
- Olmstead (MP 6.4) (6 car side track)
- Nunn's (MP 9.3) (2 car side track)
- Upper Falls (MP 10.6)
- Vivian Park (MP 11.8) (17 car side track)
- Wallsburg (MP 17.2) (12 car side track, later extended to 24 car side track)
- Charleston (MP 24.2) (13 car side track)
- Heber (MP 27.9, end) (yard)
- Wye track
- Constructed Provo to Upper Falls, 11 miles, by RGW in 1899
- Constructed Upper Falls to Heber City, 15 miles, by Utah Eastern Ry. in 1899.
James Belmont wrote this summary in April 2001:
From Provo, Utah, 28 miles to Heber City called the "Provo Canyon Branch," was primarily agrarian in nature. D&RGW shipped out hundreds of stock cars of sheep in the 1940s and 50's. At Heber City were an oil/gasoline bulk plant, a grain feed lot, a coal and lumber yard, and several team tracks around the wye that served local customers. In the 50's and 60's, outbound carloads of Gilsonite from northeastern Colorado, pulpwood in gondolas for onion skin paper, and the National Christmas tree on an 85 foot trailer flat in 1968. The line was abandoned in 1968, but a portion survives today as a tourist line.
In the summer of 1966 D&RGW operated one of the very last 'Heber Local' runs up from Provo to Heber on the Provo Canyon Branch. Rail traffic at Wasatch County's largest city had declined with improvements to parallel Highway 189. The depot had been boarded up by then, with weeds lining the right of way. Back in the 1930's, Heber City was the largest shipper of sheep by rail in the United States. There was a weigh scale adjacent to the depot, for documenting the transfer of gilsonite, trucked from Vernal, Utah to the railhead at Heber City. In November of 1968, the mothballed line was reopened by the D&RGW to haul the National Christmas Tree (harvested in nearby Daniel's Canyon) from Heber via a specially equipped trailer flat toward Washington, DC. It was a somewhat glorious ending to service the branch. Of course the line's history took a positive turn when the upper 18 miles were preserved in 1970 for a tourist operation that continues to this day. Unfortunately, the former D&RGW Heber yard area has been stripped of it's trackage. The now 'trackless' D&RGW depot survives to this day, utilized by a private business on 6th West at Center Street. (James Belmont, January 30, 2011)
San Pete Valley Branch
- Nephi (MP 0.00)
- Gypsum (MP 1.9) (14 car side track)
- Water Tank (MP 3.3)
- Nebo Junction (MP 5.9) (13 car side track)
- Divide (MP 10.1) (8 car side track)
- Fountain Green (MP 14.4) (10 car side track)
- Cedar Cliffs (MP 17.1)
- Freedom (MP 19.5)
- Moroni (MP 23.4) (27 car side track)
- Larsen (MP 24.9)
- Chester (MP 26.8) (13 car side track)
- Ephraim (MP 34.7, end, connection with Morrison Branch)
- Former San Pete Valley Railway
- San Pete Valley Branch shown in Salt Lake Division employee timetable No. 130, dated June 8, 1947
- San Pete Valley Branch *not* shown in Salt Lake Division employee timetable No. 131, dated May 30, 1948
December 2, 1947
D&RGW received ICC approval to abandon 23.21 miles of the San Pete Branch, between Moroni and Nephi. (ICC Finance Docket 15476, in 267 ICC 807)
(LeMassena, p. 163, says that the portion of the San Pete Valley Branch from Moroni to Gypsum Mill, 32.8 miles, was removed in 1948.)
(The portion at the western end, from Nephi to Gypsum Mill to Nephi, 1.9 miles, was sold to Union Pacific's LA&SL subsidiary. UP operated the line as its Nephi Plaster Mill Spur until October 1953, when it was retired and removed. The spur ran down the middle of Nephi's main east-west thoroughfare, First North Street, which was also designated as Utah Highway 132. The state highway department wanted the tracks removed to allow improvements along the state highway.)
See also a History of Railroads in San Pete Valley.
Spring Canyon Branch
- Spring Canyon Junction (MP 0.00) (West Helper)
- Wye track
- Spring Canyon Yard (MP 0.4)
- Peerless (MP 3.6)
- Spring Canyon (MP 4.1) (first known as Storrs)
- Standardville (MP 5.0)
- Maple Creek Junction (MP 5.8)
- Latuda (MP 6.2)
- Rains (MP 6.7)
- Mutual (MP 7.2, end)
- Initial construction in July 1912 by Spring Canyon Coal Co. to serve its coal mine at Storrs, later renamed to Spring Canyon. Purchased by D&RG in 1913. First coal shipped from Storrs in May 1913.
- Storrs to Standardville initial construction in July 1913 by Standard Coal Co. to serve its coal mine at Standardville. First coal shipped in February 1914. Purchased by D&RG in 1917.
- Standardville to Rains initial construction in 1914 by Carbon Fuel Co. to serve it coal mine at Rains. First coal shipped in November 1915. Purchased by D&RG in 1919.
- Peerless Coal Co. first shipped coal from its mine at Peerless in 1918.
- Liberty Fuel Co. shipped its first coal from the Liberty mine at Latuda in January 1918.
- Competition by Utah Railway and its Utah Terminal Railway subsidiary beginning in late 1921, serving the mines at Peerless, Spring Canyon, and Standardville, where the branch ended.
- Mutual Coal Co. first shipped coal from its Mutual mine in 1921.
- Storrs renamed to Spring Canyon in 1924.
- MacLean mine (also known as Little Standard) above Mutual first shipped coal from its mine in 1925.
- Maple Creek mine opened in 1927.
- New steel loader at Latuda in 1927.
- Little Standard mine closed in 1945.
- Standard mine at Standardville closed in 1950.
- Peerless mine closed in 1954.
- Spring Canyon mine closed in 1954.
- Carbon Fuel mine at Rains closed in 1958.
- Liberty mine at Latuda closed in 1966.
Spring Canyon Branch shown in D&RGW Salt Lake Division employee timetables as late as No. 139, dated September 22, 1957
D&RGW Spring Canyon Branch possibly abandoned in 1954 in ICC Finance Docket 18361, decided 2/16/54. (282 ICC 810)
See also Utah Coal, Spring Canyon Mines
- Springville (MP 0.00) (yard)
- Spanish Fork (MP 3.8) (23 car side track)
- Payson (MP 10.8) (28 car side track)
- Santaquin (MP 15.4) (35 car side track)
- (Keigley -- site of Staker limestone quarry)
- Townsend (MP 17.3) (13 car side track)
- Harold (MP 19.7)
- Goshen (MP 22.1) (21 car side track)
- Pearl (MP 27.5) (8 car side track)
- Wye track, connection with Goshen Valley Branch and Iron King Branch
- Hillside (MP 27.9) (16 car side track)
- Laguna (MP 30.8) (14 car side track)
- Cañon Siding (MP 34.9) (9 car side track)
- Knightsville (MP 27.5) (17 car side track)
- Wye track
- Eureka (MP 39.1) (yard)
- U. P. Crossing (MP 42.0)
- Silver City (MP 43.7, end)
Maximum grade: 3 percent (4 percent after 1940)
Maximum curvature: 12 degrees
D&RGW's Tintic Branch was cut back from Silver City to Eureka in 1943.
The agent was removed from the Eureka depot in September 1961, but the agency had been closed by special permission since January 1961, after the last shipping mine was closed in December 1960. Although other mines may have begun shipping ore at some later time, the 1961 application showed that the last train operated out of Eureka on December 29, 1960.
At some time between May 1966 and June 1967, the time period between D&RGW Utah Division timetables No. 6 and No. 7, Rio Grande's Tintic Branch was changed from ending at Eureka, to end at the Iron King mine on the former Goshen Valley Railroad. The Goshen Valley Branch had originally consisted of two lines; one from its connection to the Tintic Branch at Pearl Junction to the Iron King mine, and another from Dividend Junction on the line to Iron King, to the Dividend mine.
This change in 1966-1967 eliminated the line to Dividend (the Dividend mine had closed in 1949), and changed the Tintic Branch to end at the Iron King mine (new mile post 33.8), instead of extending all the way to Eureka (old mile post 39.1). In 1958, Kennecott Copper opened a lead-zinc-silver mine at Burgin, very near the old Iron King mine, making this the end of the branch, at mile post 32.4. Kennecott continued to work the Burgin mine, along with adding the Trixie mine in 1969, until both were closed in mid 1978 due to high costs, including pumping to fight the increasing water levels in the mines. In November 1982, Kennecott leased the Burgin mine to the Sunshine Mining Co., which continued to sell ores to Kennecott as smelter flux for its large smelter at Garfield on the south shore of Great Salt Lake. A heap leach gold mine was also opened at Burgin, but the entire mine has been closed since 1985. After Sunshine closed the Burgin mine, Kennecott sold its interest to Tintic Utah Metals, a jointly held subsidiary of the still existing Chief Consolidated Mining Co., and Young Poong Corp., of Korea, and as late as 2000, Tintic Utah Metals continued to process the dumps from the Trixie mine in its refurbished Burgin mill.
The federal Interstate Commerce Commission approved D&RGW's request to abandon the Tintic Branch from Pearl Junction to Eureka, 13.13 miles, along with the Goshen Valley Branch from Flora to Dividend, 2.70 miles. (Railroad magazine, December 1972, page 66)
A large potential shipper was established in about 1980 at Elberta on D&RGW's Tintic Branch, with the opening of a large grain storage facility. Built and owned by Elberta Utah Grain Storage, a unit of the LDS Church, the facility has sixteen concrete bins that hold up to 93,250 bushels each. Hard red wheat is stored on a four-year rotation, depleting and replenishing 25 percent each year. Corn is stored for one year or less. The facility remains in place as of May 2015, but without rail service.
The last train to the Burgin mine was in 1986 when D&RGW ran a box car of equipment to the mine. Train 664 with two GP30s ran the entire 32.5 mile distance from Springville up the branch to the Burgin mine. The crew waited for it to be unloaded and returned. Conductor Neal Thorpe passed this news on to James Belmont during an interview in 1992. (James Belmont, email dated December 10, 2011)
After 1986, D&RGW (and later Union Pacific) only operated trains as far as the limestone quarry at Keigley (mile post 16.0), until Geneva Steel closed in 2001, taking away the need for limestone. Occasional traffic is still generated by the LDS Church's grain elevator at Elberta, at mile post 25.1.
In the late 1987 timeframe, D&RGW continued to provide service along its Tintic Branch, using Train 665 to designate the train itself. The dolomite mine at Keigley was dormant after U.S. Steel's closing of its Geneva Works, but would soon reopen to supply material after the steel mill reopened under new management.
During 1991, nine miles of the former D&RGW Tintic Branch, between Keigley and Elberta, were rehabilitated to accept inbound shipments of pipe for the Kern River pipeline. The pipe was stockpiled at Elberta. (James Belmont, Rails Through The Wasatch group on Facebook, November 29, 2015)
Union Pacific continued to serve the limestone quarry at Keigley as late as September 1998, with service continuing until the closure of the Geneva steel mill in 2001.
The last train operated on the branch in February 2002. (James Belmont, Rails Through The Wasatch group on Facebook, November 29, 2015)
In May 2002 as part of a larger purchase of 62.77 miles of Union Pacific trackage in Utah, the 13 miles of the Tintic Industrial Lead (D&RGW's Tintic Branch, also known as The Elberta Line) was sold to Utah Transit Authority for future light rail construction. UP retained surface operation rights to continue common carrier service.
In May 2002, UTA bought the 13 miles of line from Springville to the Keigley quarry at Santaquin. The line west from Santaquin to Elberta was what UP formally abandoned in January 2008, along with its common carrier rights on the UTA portion.
A check of the Surface Transportation Board documents for the May 2002 sale of Union Pacific lines to UTA, shows that just the portion between Springville and Payson was sold, 13.06 miles.
UTA purchased the Tintic Branch in September 2002, from MP 0 to MP 13.06 (Payson). UP continued to operate to Elberta, at MP 26, a bit beyond Elberta to provide car storage for the Deseret Grain facility. UP ended rail service in 2002, but compensated Deseret Grain for its use of trucks after UP ended service.
While the tracks remain in place in mid 2004, after 1985, D&RGW, and later UP after its control of D&RGW in 1996, only operated trains as far as the limestone quarry at Keigley (mile post 16.0), until Geneva Steel closed in 2001, taking away the need for limestone. Occasional traffic was generated by the LDS Church's grain elevator at Elberta, at mile post 25.1.
In December 2005, Deseret informed UP that they were about to start a dairy operation at Elberta, and wanted UP to restart rail service. Deseret projected 300 carloads of grain through 2007. UP declined to provide rail service on the grounds it was not profitable.
In November 2006, UP applied to abandon rail service west of the UTA end of track at Payson, and STB approved the application in January 2008. With the formal abandonment, UP was no longer obligated to compensate Deseret for its use of trucks. UP agreed to leave the rail in place, in case someone else wanted to operate the line.
January 2, 2008
The federal Surface Transportation Board approved Union Pacific's application to abandon railroad operations on what the railroad called its "Tintic Industrial Lead." Union Pacific had submitted its application on September 14, 2007, as successor to D&RGW. As late as February 2009, the line was still being used to store surplus rail cars.
Tintic Southern Rail Road, as a subsidiary of Ophir Mineral and Aggregate Group, usually known as Omag, began planning for a new railroad that would operate the former D&RGW Tintic Branch. Omag was already shipping limestone and other minerals from the quarry at Keigley, but was using trucks. Omag planned on rebuilding and renovating the tracks all the way west to the Burgin and Trixie mines on the east slope of the Tintic mining district. Omag began working with Utah Transit Authority, which owned the tracks as far as Payson, as well as with Union Pacific, which owned the tracks west of Payson, all the way to the Burgin and Trixie mines.
Many observers noticed new signs that appeared at points where the tracks crossed local highways and roads, announcing, "Please Be Aware. This Rail Line Is Subject To Reopen."
Andover removed the rail from Burgin and sold it before they declared bankruptcy in 2012.
Omag and Tintic Southern's plans for renewed operation of the Tintic Branch apparently depended on the success of renewed mining operations by Chief Consolidated Mining Company, at its Burgin and Trixie mines, and surrounding area. Those plans disappeared with the bankruptcy and liquidation in February 2014 of Andover Mining Corp., a Canadian company that held 65 percent ownership of Chief Consolidated. In February 2016, indictments for fraud were issued for the principle owner of the proposed Tintic Southern rail line, and an associated proposed industrial development at Elberta.
Portions of the Tintic Branch were destroyed by contractors working for the federal Bureau of Land Management, in a project to remove unwanted plant species. The work is known as "chaining" and involves a large chain connected between two bulldozers as they move across the land being "restored." The chain rips out native juniper trees and shallow-rooted plants, such as sage brush, for the purposes of encouraging the growth of grasses for the benefit of cattle grazing. It also destroys abandoned railroad tracks. The portions of the abandoned tracks that were destroyed were located where the spurs crossed U.S. Highway 6 on the western edge of Goshen Valley.
During May 2015, UTA people were out near the LDS elevator looking at the rail. The UTA has their 2040 plan that implies a Front Runner line all the way to Elberta.
A large portion of the Tintic Branch was dismantled west of Keigley. Potential still exists for rail service out of Keigley, over UTA-owned track from Springville to Payson, then over UP-owned track to Keigley. (Information and photos from Pete Maxfield, courtesy of James Belmont, by way of postings to Facebook "Rails Through The Wasatch" group, January 6, 2016.)
D&RGW April 1884 passenger timetable, showing distances from Denver via the original narrow gauge
D&RGW Salt Lake Division timetable 117, December 4, 1938 (from Scott Meier's web site)
D&RGW Grand Junction Division timetable 119, June 2, 1940 (from Scott Meier's web site)
Maps in LeMassena's Rio Grande to the Pacific
D&RGW 1934 Condensed Profiles
John B. Charles email to D&RGW group at YahooGroups, July 22, 2003; information taken from Salt Lake Division timetable No 95, June 1, 1924.
Scott Meier email to D&RGW group at YahooGroups, July 23, 2003; information taken from Salt Lake Division timetable No. 102, June 9, 1929.