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Hanna and Granger, Wyoming, and Aspen Tunnel

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This page was last updated on June 30, 2015.

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Hanna Timeline

From research by Jim Ehernberger:

Hanna, Wyoming, information (from annual reports):

1889 - September, 1889, construction started on 15.8-mile segment of trackage from Allen to Hanna, Wyoming, which later became main line.

1889 - October, completed construction of trackage to Hanna from Allen, Wyoming.

1893 - Frame depot 24 x 60 feet; Frame repair shop 10 x 12 feet. [about size of hand car house]; Frame section house 16 x 23 feet with frame addition 12 x 16 feet; Stock yards 7296 square feet; Three miles and 2346 feet of side tracks.

1899 - Acquired by purchase from The Carbon Cut-Off Railway Company on December 30, 1899, 16.98 miles of first main track Allen to Hanna, Wyoming, and 2.08 miles of branch track Hanna to mines, total 19.06 miles.

1899 - On March 1, 1899, contracts were let for grading and bridging of important changes of main line. Hanna to Dana, Wyoming, 8.15 miles, will save 3.87 miles distance and reduce curvature, work to be completed during the calendar year of 1899.

1900 - Line acquired during the fiscal year: Carbon Cut-Off Railway, Allen to Hanna, Wyoming, 16.98 miles

1900 - New line between Hanna and Dana, Wyoming, 8.15 miles, saving 3.87 miles over old line [via Carbon], and reducing grades and curves was completed and placed in operation June 10, 1900.

1900 - Under the reorganization, the Company acquired 16.98 miles of the former Carbon Cut-Off Railway Co., on January 1, 1900 between Allen and Hanna, Wyoming.
1907 - Lookout to Hanna, Wyoming, 48.75 miles of Second Main Track built.

1910 - The 38.23 mile Hanna to Rawlins, Wyoming, line changes saving .26 mile distance, and reducing curvature and grades, is in progress.

1919 - Reported (1922) a 24 x 100 foot one story frame station, built ca. 1919.

1924 - A 420-ton conveyor type reinforced concrete coaling station replacing smaller frame coaling station was constructed at Hanna, Wyoming.

1925 - At Hanna, Wyoming, constructed 200,000 gallon steel tank.

1928 - Between Hanna and Rawlins, Wyoming telegraph lines were reconstructed.

1941 - Near Hanna, Wyoming, constructed 14,520 feet of tracks to serve a new coal mine of The Union Pacific Coal Company.

1943 - The Union Pacific Water Company constructed 19,500 feet of pipe lines and purchased 1.14 cubic feet per second of water rights at Hanna, Wyoming.

1944 - Constructed at Hanna, Wyoming, water treating plant of 50,000 gallons per hour capacity to improve water supply.

1944 - Union Pacific Water Company constructed a 1,000,000 gallon capacity reservoir and 3,200 feet of pipe lines at Hanna, Wyoming, to protect water requirements of Railroad.

1945 - Constructed 8 houses at Hanna, Wyoming, for employes.

1946 - The Union Pacific Coal Company enlarged power plant at Hanna, Wyoming.

1947 - The Union Pacific Coal Company installed at Hanna, Wyoming, equipment for separating slack coal between stoker and smaller sizes and for conveying latter to manufacturer's plant to be made into briquettes.

1948 - Train signals were rearranged and improved between Laramie and Hanna, Wyoming (76 miles).

1949 - Train signals were rearranged and improved between Hanna and Green River, Wyoming (174 miles).

1950 - Southern Wyoming Utilities Company constructed extensions to electric power transmission lines aggregating 16 miles to serve radio relay stations near Hanna, Bitter Creek, Rock Springs and Green River, Wyoming.

1950 - The Union Pacific Coal Company constructed 50-ton dump hopper and installed belt conveyor systems at Hanna, Wyoming.

1967 - The 1.57-mile line change of double main track between Como and Hanna, Wyoming, was completed in 1967. This project was designed to eliminate or reduce sharp curves, which had previously restricted train speed, to provide for faster schedules.

1978 - Station building retired 1978. (This was trailer type station).

Granger Timeline

From research by Jim Ehernberger:

Granger, Wyoming, information (from annual reports):

1868 - December 23, 1868, 76.1-mile segment of trackage from Granger through Evanston, Wyoming to the state line, officially put in operation.

1881 - On July 11, 1881, E. E. Calvin, telegraph operator, drove the first spike for the Oregon Short Line Railroad at Granger, Wyoming.

1897 - 4573 feet of side tracks; Frame bunk house 16 x 28 feet; Frame depot 20 x 96 feet, 1/2 interest with OSL; Frame section house 20 x 36 feet with frame addition 12 x 18 feet; Frame tenement house 12 x 24 feet; Tank, pump house, etc.; Water from creek.

1915 - At Granger, Wyoming: 200,000 gallon steel tank and tower.

1915 - At Granger, Wyoming: New boiler and pump house 30 x 32 feet, with two 80 H.P. boilers, two steam pumps and accessories.

1923 - 40.97 miles of second main track was constructed between Granger and Leroy, Wyoming during the year.

1923 - Between Granger and Leroy, Wyoming, 43.01 miles of Second Main Track was completed and placed in operation.

1923 - New water softener facilities installed at Granger, Wyoming.

1923 - Reported (1922) a 24 x 54 foot one story frame station, built ca. 1923?

1928 - Between Green River and Granger, Wyoming, telegraph lines were reconstructed.

1936 - Reinforced concrete and steel subways for highway traffic were constructed by governmental authorities under the tracks at Granger, Wyoming.

1937 - Remote control interlocking of switches installed at Granger, Wyoming to expedite train movements.

1939 - Other property retired (because of changed operating conditions): Yard tracks at Granger, Wyoming.

1940 - Other property retired (because of changed operating conditions): Yard tracks at Granger, Wyoming.

1950 - Extended passing track at Granger, Wyoming, 2,684 feet, to expedite movement of traffic.

1955 - To increase the capacity of the main line between Granger, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho, and make it possible to operate trains more economically and at a faster speed in this heavy-traffic territory, it was decided to install centralized traffic control for the 164 miles of single track and the 50 miles of double track, and to construct seven new passing tracks in place of fourteen side tracks to be retired.

1956 - Installation of centralized traffic control on 214 miles of main line between Granger, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho was well advanced at the close of 1956, 126 miles having been placed in operation. The project includes installation of the control apparatus at Pocatello, placing signals at 1 1/2-mile intervals along the line, extension and rearrangement of seventeen passing tracks, and construction of seven additional passing tracks. An eight mile line change between Moyer Junction and Nugget, Wyoming, to eliminate excessive curves and grades, was completed and placed in use in September. The cost of the entire job will be approximately $10,000,000.

1957 - The final 88-mile segment of centralized traffic control for the 214 miles of main line between Granger, Wyoming, and Pocatello, Idaho was completed and placed in operation in 1957.

1972 - Station building retired 1972.

1973 - Effective January 22, 1973, station at Granger, Wyoming, will be closed except during the hours of 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

1974 - Effective September 3, 1974, Agency at Granger, Wyoming was discontinued.

Aspen Tunnel, 1974

(from INFO magazine, Volume 6, Number 11, October 1974, pages 6-10)

Aspen Tunnel: A Report

Sometime near the end of 1975, construction crews will complete renovation of the Aspen Tunnel giving Union Pacific Railroad two broad passageways through the rugged western Wyoming terrain. Finished originally in 1901, the mile long tunnel has been a bottleneck for oversize loads in recent years.

The $6 million effort calls for enlarging the bore by dropping the floor five feet, a move that will enable the tunnel to accommodate high and wide loads. This action will simultaneously make room for overhead wires if the line through the area is electrified. In the course of construction, new 133 pound continuous welded rail and a new drainage system will be installed and repairs made to the existing tunnel lining.

Located in Wyoming's Wasatch Mountains just east of Evanston, the Aspen Tunnel rests on Union Pacific's double track mainline. During the rebuilding operation, traffic is being routed through the companion Altamont Tunnel, which has for years accommodated loads too high or wide for the Aspen Tunnel.

Track was removed from the 5,941 foot tunnel in July in preparation for excavation work that has already begun at both the east and west portals. Work on the portals of the tunnel will be completed first as a precaution against damage during the remainder of the construction period. And at these locations, the old concrete floor and part of the walls have been removed and a new floor and walls poured.

Excavation and clearing operations will proceed from both portals to the center of the tunnel. To lower the top of the rail five feet, nine feet of concrete and natural tunnel floor material is being removed. The old concrete floor, varying in thickness from two to eight feet, is being blasted away in 10 foot sections. As the supporting floor and walls are removed, the remaining tunnel lining is being held in place with horizontal struts and underpins.

Except for problem areas such as a point near the east end of the tunnel, old flooring and walls will be removed completely before new walls and floor are poured with work beginning at the center and moving to both ends.

The 23,000 cubic yards of concrete estimated to complete the project will be mixed at a batch plant situated on the hill through which the tunnel courses. A 12 inch shaft, 340 feet deep, was drilled through the hill piercing the tunnel lining just east of the center point. Inside the vertical shaft are an eight inch steel casing (through which concrete will be pumped into the tunnel), a two inch water pipe, and a pair of communication wires.

To secure the quantities of water needed, a water well was drilled adjacent to the batch plant. Using geological maps maintained by the original construction crews three-quarters of a century earlier, engineers were able to accurately predict and locate water at a depth of 500 feet (100 feet below the base of the tunnel) in a layer of fractured sandstone. The amazingly accurate geological information recorded from 1899 to 1901 is proving to be valuable as it details the materials and formations the excavation will encounter, and it gives indications of water levels, locations of gas formations and a geological blueprint of the area through which the tunnel passes.

Outside of the tunnel proper, earthmoving machines are at work broadening the approaches to the tunnel. Some 364,000 yards of fill will be moved at the east approach alone.

The first parts of the Aspen Tunnel were dug in 1899 to shorten the mainline through the area by 10 miles and reduce the grade. Work on the tunnel itself was completed in 1901, but it was 1914 before the concrete lining of the tunnel was applied.

During the course of construction, the tunnel claimed eight lives. Two men were killed in August, 1900, when a heavy slab of shale fell on them from the roof. A month later, two more men died when their drill struck a stick of dynamite that had not detonated. In December, 1900, a gas explosion resulted in the death of four men. Today automatic monitors continuously check the tunnel for a build-up of gas.

Approximately 115,850 cubic yards of material was excavated from the tunnel proper in the original excavation. In 1899, when the digging began, four tunnel headings were opened simultaneously-one each from the east and west ends and two more in a vertical shaft that had been sunk near what was to be the center of the tunnel.

Work on the tunnel is being conducted by an outside contractor working under the supervision of Union Pacific resident engineer Dave Monson. The excavation is proceeding 24 hours a day, six days a week. And the tunnel will be heated so that work can continue through the winter season.

Throughout 1974 two words dominated conversation in the office of the general purchasing agent - shortages and cost increases.

Together, they had major ramifications on Union Pacific Railroad. In the beginning, the emphasis was on availability of materials, but the law of supply and demand flexed its muscles demonstrating the close relationship of shortages and cost increases. And cost increases became just as formidable a hurdle as scant supplies.

Feeding on each other and working in tandem with the lifting of wage-price controls and the onset of panic-buying by industry, prices shot up sharply over the same time a year ago.

"The biggest factor in price increases," Max Hower, general purchasing agent, said, "has been the removal of price controls. Prior to that time, suppliers were locked into prices that were from two to three years old. And the big surge in price increases came from a catch-up effort on the part of suppliers."

The result was that on the 44,000 items Union Pacific Railroad buys, cost increases averaged about one-third over prices one year earlier with some items up as much as 100 per cent and others as little as five and ten per cent.

While it was a fact that on one hand prices on nearly everything were up, so too was it a fact that Union Pacific required fuel, lube oil, rail, wheels, freight car castings and the like to continue operations. Those facts meant that they had to be purchased despite dramatic increases that saw diesel fuel up 68 per cent, lube oil up 64 per cent, rail up 44 per cent, wheels up 60 per cent, and freight car castings up 30 per cent by the end of the third quarter.

The roots of the shortages and related price increases can be traced back to a number of sources. Hower assigns some of the fault to panic buying by industry during the energy crisis. And though panic buying is over for the most part, it left an indelible mark on prices.

While panic buying may have been one cause of scarce goods and high prices, other factors contributed, too. During the time of price controls and the money squeeze, steel manufacturers switched from the production of low profit items to higher profit products. And such seemingly unrelated items as new environmental standards and requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) had a negative influence on material availability and price. In the foundry industry, for example, a wide variety of castings have been historically manufactured by small foundries. When confronted with new EPA and OSHA standards that they were unable to meet, many closed. In closing, they aggravated existing shortages driving prices up as the law of supply and demand did its work.

While prospects were dim as 1974 opened, the outlook is brighter for the remainder of this year and into 1975.

"We see a slight loosening of the supply market," Hower said, "and in terms of dollars, the big jump appears to be over, but inflation is still with us."

"All indications," he continued, "are that it (inflation) will level out in 1975, so we don't anticipate the 40, 50, and 60 per cent increases again next year. Ten per cent may be a realistic figure."

Beset by shortages on one hand and price increases on the other, UP's purchasing department moved to protect the delivery of supplies to the road.

It began contracting with suppliers for manufacturing space on selected critical items as far as one and two years in advance. To release the growing amounts of money tied-up in inventories, they are being reduced wherever possible. Local suppliers were secured near the point of use. And through newly negotiated contracts, such local vendors...(incomplete)

Aspen Tunnel, 1975

(from INFO magazine, Volume 8, Number 2, January 1976, pages 8-9)

Aspen Tunnel Open Again

When "Scotty" Durrant, general manager-Eastern District, piloted the 71 car SLX-8 through the Aspen Tunnel on December 9, 1975, his was the first train through in 18 months.

The Aspen Tunnel has been the focal point of construction efforts over the past year and one-half that saw $6,000,000 invested in an operation to enlarge its bore. Now completed, it will compliment the companion Altamont Tunnel and provide a second passageway through the Wasatch Range capable of accommodating oversize loads.

A good deal of fanfare accompanied the opening. With Durrant in the righthand seat, engineer S.O. "Sod" Dean was free to bring forth a few strains of "We're a Great Big Rolling Railroad" on his harmonica accompanied by conductor Wilcox, brakeman Layman, and fireman Hicks as the train rolled through the tunnel.

On hand for the reopening of the tunnel were Eugene Rigdon, trainmaster, Lynn Jensen, Wyoming division engineer, Dave Monson, project engineer, and Durrant.

Aspen Tunnel Timeline

Altamont:

1901 - Altamont had a 14.3 x 44.7 foot one story frame station built ca. 1901. An extension 12.4 feet added in 1921. (Reported in 1922)

1972 - Altamont station building retired 1972.

Aspen:

1886 - Tank, pump house, etc. Water from well.

1897 - Aspen reported as having 3418 feet of side tracks.

1897 - Buildings reported at Aspen: frame depot 20 x 44 feet; frame bunk house 10 x 12 feet; Frame section house 20 x 24 feet; Frame (Chinese) section house 14 x 22 feet.

1900 - Aspen Line Change - The grading and bridging between Leroy and Bear River are practically completed, but owing to difficulties (water and soft materials) encountered in the construction of the tunnel, 5,900 feet in length, the line probably cannot be completed" before next spring. On June 30, 1900, the east and west headings had been driven 521 feet and 514 feet respectively, and the east and west shaft headings had been driven 107 feet and 104 feet, respectively, making a total of 1,246 feet completed to date. The work is well organized and equipped, and is being pushed vigorously to completion.

1901 - Aspen Line Change - The line between Leroy and Bear River, a distance of 21.61 miles, where work has been greatly delayed by difficulties encountered in the construction of the tunnel, but it is now expected the line can be opened not later than November 1st. This is one of the most important of the changes of line, effecting a saving in distance of nearly ten miles, a reduction of grades to the maximum of 43 feet per mile, and eliminating a section of road difficult and expensive to operate and maintain.

1902 - Aspen Line Change - Work on the change of line between Leroy and Bear River, Wyoming, which was still in progress at the close of the last fiscal year, has since been finished, and the new line and tunnel were opened for traffic October 16, 1901. The completion of this new line has resulted in a saving of 9.56 miles in distance, and a reduction of 25.3 feet per mile in maximum grade, and 1,371 degrees of angle of curvature.

1914 - Progress made on replacing timber lining of Aspen (Wyoming) Tunnel with permanent concrete lining.

1915 - Progress was made in lining the Aspen (Wyoming) tunnel with permanent concrete lining.

1916 - Progress was made in lining with concrete the Aspen (Wyoming) tunnel.

1918 - The work has been in progress since 1913 of relining Aspen Tunnel with permanent and reinforced concrete, replacing timber lining, was completed.

1921 - Reported (1922) a 14 x 44.3 foot one story frame station built at Aspen ca. 1921.

1926 - On July 10, 1926, over a thousand miles of double track had been completed. The only exception being 2500 feet across North Platte Bridge and 5941 feet through Aspen Tunnel. Final segment extended from Echo, 25.8 miles west to Gateway, Utah.

1930 - Between Cheyenne and Otto, and Green River and Aspen, Wyoming, reconstructed 81.3 miles of signal pole line and charging system installed on 97.3 miles of line.

1947 - Construction was authorized of a concrete-lined single track tunnel approximately 6,700 feet in length, parallel to existing single track tunnel, involving also construction of 5 miles of additional main track, which will double track the only section of the railroad not now double tracked between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Salt Lake City, Utah (1,029 miles). It is expected that the project will be completed in 1949.

1949 - Construction was completed of the 6,700 foot concrete-lined single track tunnel parallel to existing single track tunnel and of 5 miles of additional main track incidental thereto, authorized in 1947, thus double tracking the only section of the railroad which had not been previously double tracked between Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Salt Lake City, Utah (1,029 miles).

1952 - Constructed electric transmission line from substation at westbound tunnel to eastbound tunnel, and installed additional electrical circuits in the latter to improve lighting and provide outlets for operation of electrical tools" used in maintenance work.

1972 - Aspen station building retired 1972.

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