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D&RGW Utah Branch Lines

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on December 19, 2018.

(Return to Rio Grande in Utah Index Page)

(Listed Alphabetically)

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.

(Read more about the Ballard & Thompson Railroad)

Bennett Branch

(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)

March 1952
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."

Bingham Branch

January 28, 2002
Union Pacific and Utah Transit Authority applied to the federal Surface Transportation Board on January 28, 2002, and the STB approved on May 22, 2002, the sale by Union Pacific of the following properties to Utah Transit Authority, for use as part of a commuter rail project, total of 62.77 miles, including

September 20, 2002
A ceremony was held on the steps of the state capital, for the signing of the $185 million check to Union Pacific. In attendance were Utah governor Mike Leavitt, U. S. congressmen Jim Matheson and Chris Cannon, Union Pacific chairman, president and CEO Richard Davidson, and UTA general manager John Inglish. (BYU NewsNet, September 19, 2002; Deseret News, September 19, 2002; Union Pacific press release dated September 20, 2002) The sale was formally closed on September 23, 2002. (UTA press release dated September 23, 2002)

Included in the sale was the part of the former D&RGW Bingham Branch, from Midvale to West Jordan/South Jordan (known as the Bingham Industrial Spur).

(Read more abot the sale of UP trackage to Utah Transit Authority)

December 2, 2002
Union Pacific received approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon its rail operations along 5.21 miles of the former D&RGW Bingham Branch, which by this time was officially known as the "Bingham Industrial Lead." This section of track runs from MP 6.60 near Bagley (West Jordan Industrial Park) to MP 11.81 near Lead Mine (Copperton). This trackage had been sold to Utah Transit Authority, but UP had retained "perpetual easement and common carrier obligation to conduct freight operations", and this action allowed UP to abandon those rights. (STB Docket AB-33, Sub 194X; notice of intent to abandon published in Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 2002)

(This 5.21 miles of trackage hadn't seen any regular use since the mid-1990's when Kennecott's precipitation plant closed at Lead Mine. The line extends from West Jordan's Bagley Industrial Park (home of SME Steel and the Interstate Brick Company) west through Dalton Junction (connection to the abandoned Lark Branch) up Bingham Canyon to Lead Mine at Copperton. This track was a regular assignment for Rio Grande's fleet of SD7/SD9's and later GP30's.)

March 29, 2007
Union Pacific sold to Savage Bingham & Garfield Railroad, portions of the former D&RGW Bingham and Garfield branches.

Savage Bingham & Garfield operations started on October 1, 2007.

(Read more about Savage Bingham & Garfield)

Cane Creek Branch

More Information

Castle Valley Branch

The original Castle Valley Railway was organized in 1901 by D&RG (not RGW) interests to build a line through Salina canyon.

(Read more about Castle Valley Railway and the later D&RG/D&RGW Castle Valley Branch)

Diamond Quarry Spur

Farnsworth Spur

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.

1923
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.)

Garfield Branch

March 29, 2007
Union Pacific sold to Savage Bingham & Garfield Railroad, portions of the former D&RGW Bingham and Garfield branches.

Savage Bingham & Garfield operations started on October 1, 2007.

Goshen Valley Branch

August 1972
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)

Heber Branch

(see Provo Canyon Branch)

Hooper 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)

Initial construction in 1905 by D&RG.

March 1905
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)

April 1905
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)

January 1918
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

August 2013
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 Spur

Initial construction 3 miles to Jennings Quarry in 1892; extended to 4.97 miles to Potters Quarry in 1900; removed in 1917

Kenilworth Branch

Replaced Kenilworth & Helper Railway, which connected with D&RGW at Spring Glen, east of Helper.

1926
The following comes from various issues of Railway Age magazine:

DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN. -- This company has applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for a certificate authorizing the construction of a line of 6.28 miles from Spring Canyon Junction, Utah. (Railway Age, February 6, 1926, page 409)

DENVER & RIO GRADE WESTERN. -- Improvement program for this year calling for an expenditure of more than $9 million, includes "an extension from Helper, Utah, to Kenilworth, a distance of six miles." All of the other projects were in Colorado. (Railway Age, March 13, 1926, page 833)

DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN -- Abandonment. -- The Interstate Commerce Commission has issued a certificate authorizing the Kenilworth & Helper and the Denver & Rio Grande Western, lessee, to abandon the line of the Kenilworth & Helper, which extends from Kenilworth Junction, Utah, to Kenilworth, 3.75 miles. Similarly a certificate has been issued authorizing the Denver & Rio Grande Western to construct a new branch line from Spring Canyon Junction in a general easterly direction, 6.28 miles. The Kenilworth is leased by the Denver from its owners, the Independent Coal & Coke Company, which purposes to open up new coal operations which the present line will not be adequate to serve. (Railway Age, April 10, 1926, page 1039)

DENVER & RIO GRANDE WESTERN. -- A contract has been awarded to the Utah Construction Company, San Francisco, Cal., for the grading of a six-mile extension from Helper, Utah, to Kenilworth, reported in the Railway Age of March 13. (Railway Age, May 22, 1926, page 1415)

December 1971
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 Spur

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

(Read more about RGW's Lake Park Resort and Branch)

Lark Branch

Little Cottonwood Branch

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:

Additional Information

Marysvale Branch

D&RGW Marysvale Branch -- A Google Map of D&RGW's Marysvale Branch, built in 1891 and abandoned in 1984.

In 1956, the traffic on the Marysvale Branch included:
(from a Jim Eager email, dated March 4, 2001)

Originating traffic:

Terminating traffic:

Additional information about operations on the Marysvale Branch:

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.

Mammoth Branch

Joint operation with OSL, then with UP, to provide access to the mill of the Mammoth Milling Co.

Morrison Branch

Former San Pete Valley Railway

See also a History of Railroads in San Pete Valley.

Ogden Sugar Works Branch

Orem Branch

Purchased from the bankrupt Salt Lake & Utah Railroad in 1946.

Park City Branch

Timeline:

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

Timeline:

See also Utah Coal, Pleasant Valley Mines.

Provo Canyon Branch

Timeline:

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.

Summer 1966
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)

(Read more about the Provo Canyon Branch after it became a tourist railroad)

San Pete Valley Branch

Additional Information

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

Timeline:

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

Sunnyside Branch

(Read more about the Sunnyside Branch)

Tintic Branch

(Read more about D&RGW's Tintic area branches)

Sources

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.

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