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Leamington Cutoff

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This page was last updated on February 16, 2018.

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The original Utah Southern main line between Salt Lake City and the connection at Leamington Hill was 133 miles long and had grades as high as 1.14 percent and numerous 6 degree curves, not suitable for use as part of Harriman's projected trunk line between Utah and southern California. Leamington Junction was originally called Leamington Hill Spur and was at the top of a 1.5-mile 1 percent grade west from Leamington Station. The original mainline was replaced in 1903 by what was called the "Leamington Cut-off," which had maximum grades of 0.8 percent and curves up to 4 degrees.

Construction of the Leamington Cut-off began in March 1902, with the grading work being done by Utah Construction Company. The new construction included a cut 100 feet deep and 3,000 feet long through the "Stockton Bar" at the south end of the Tooele valley. This ridge of sand and gravel is the geological feature that separates the Tooele Valley from the Rush Valley, to the south.

The old Utah & Nevada narrow-gauge had terminated at the north slope of the ridge, preparing to construct a 1,000 foot tunnel through it. But the little narrow road was not able to build the tunnel because of the type of material that makes up the ridge ("unconsolidated conglomerate") would not allow construction of a tunnel with the technology available in the 1880s, and the railroad couldn't afford to go around. Later consideration of the tunnel project was not possible due to the financial condition of the company. (from Engineering News, September 17, 1903, pp. 249-252)

At time of transfer of ownership to SPLA&SL, in July 1903, all of the track work and bridges were completed, but the line was not yet ballasted. Upon completion of the cut-off, the 31 miles of former Utah & Nevada narrow-gauge line was abandoned. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

The Leamington Cut-off crossed the Tintic Branch (built in 1887 by the former Salt Lake & Western) at Boulter, 43 miles south of the branch's connection with the Provo main line at Lehi Junction. The Cut-off also crossed the old SL&W Silver City Branch 1.8 miles northeast of its connection with the Tintic Branch at Ironton. The point where the Cut-off crossed the Silver City Branch was named Tintic Junction and the point where the Eureka Branch made its connection with the Silver City Branch was called Silver City Junction. The 10.04 miles of the old OSL (former SL&W) Tintic Branch between Boulter and "old" Tintic was abandoned in 1904, including the wye at Ironton, the old connection between the Tintic Branch and the Silver City Branch. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

These four branches that served the Tintic Mining District made up the Tintic Subdivision. The subdivision consisted of :


February 2, 1902
The formal survey of the new Leamington Cutoff started when an OSL survey party left Salt Lake City, en route to the Rush valley south of Stockton to begin formal location of the route. (Salt Lake Herald, February 4, 1902, "yesterday")

March 6, 1902
"Now that the City Council has granted the Short Line's petition for changing the gauge of the Garileld line within the city limits, the work can be rushed. It is expected that by the end of the week the broad gauge rails will be laid to the new material yard at Buena Vista, and trainloads of material can be unloaded there very shortly. The route for the Leamington cutoff is quite interesting. It has already been shown how the line is expected to run from Buena Vista, but from Garfield. Also, the route will be practically new. The stations will be Lake Point, Half Way House, Lincoln, Tooele, Terminus, Stockton, Slagtown, Center, Faust, Doremus, Silver City Junction, and Leamington Hill spur. The big 2000-foot tunnel is to be cut between Terminus and Stockton. The new line crosses the present Tintic line of the Oregon Sheet Line at Doremus, and again at Silver City Junction, and joins the present main line south at Leamington Hill Spur. The line, compared with the present routes, as shown by the maps, is a splendid one in every way and a vast improvement. The Draper Hill, known as Point Mountain, and the curves and bridges of the Sevier river crossings will he succeeded by a straight line, with very little grade and trains can make very fast time from Salt Lake to Leamington. From now on the work will be rushed. Material will all be on hand when the contracts are let, which will be very soon. Considerable progress was made yesterday on the track. The switch has been put in and the force is now stretching the rails to Buena Vista." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 6, 1902)

March 15, 1902
The contract for the construction of the Leamington Cutoff was awarded to Utah Construction Company, of Ogden, Utah. The value of the contract was reported as being $1.25 million. (Ogden Standard, March 15, 1902)

-- 117 miles in length
-- four miles of the old narrow gauge to be used
-- 113 miles of new construction

March 27, 1902
Work started on the Leamington Cutoff, at Buena Vista. Sixty-pound rail was to be used temporarily because 85-pound rail was not available. OSL standard gauge 4-6-0 #518 was to be assigned as the work train locomotive, and would be the first standard gauge locomotive to be used on the old narrow gauge line to Garfield. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 1902)

(OSL 4-6-0 518 was built in 1882 as UP Railway 51, to OSL Ry. 8 in 1882; to OSL&UN 965 in 1889; to OSL 518 in 1897; to SPLA&SL 56 in 1903; sold in 1905; scrapped in 1906)

May 13, 1902
Mr. Ashton hopes that the new standard gauge line, the Leamington cut-off, will be done by August, so that the narrow-gauge can be torn up. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 13, 1902)

August 29, 1902
The track layers reached Garfield "last night" (August 28). The narrow gauge line between Buena Vista and Garfield was lifted and moved to one side to allow the new standard gauge line to be built. Both lines remained in service as the construction progressed. (Salt Lake Tribune, August 29, 1902)

September 16, 1902
Three miles of the narrow gauge track, this side of Garfield, is already gone, and the narrow gauge is running on a third rail; this because the new standard gauge line could not be built without disrupting the narrow gauge; for a space of about four miles, the two alignments are on top of each other, or nearly so. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 16, 1902)

September 26, 1902
The old narrow gauge line is abandoned from a point about 1/2 mile west of Saltair Junction, the narrow gauge running west of there on a third rail in the standard gauge line. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, September 26, 1902)

November 8, 1902
The new standard gauge line reached Terminus, at the south end of Tooele Valley. "Next Wednesday" (November 12) the track gangs will begin removing the old narrow gauge tracks. (Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 1902)

Approximately 2.36 miles of the roadbed and right of way of the "Terminus Line" from Mile Post 1.28, at the west bank of the Jordan river, to Buena Vista and 4.91 miles of the right of way near Garfield were utilized in the construction of the Leamington Cut-off. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

November 15, 1902
Last OSL narrow-gauge train operated. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 16, 1902)

November 15, 1902
"The train on the new broad gauge road of the Oregon Short Line will leave in the morning at 7:45, returning in the evening at 5 o'clock. The train for the present will consist of a combination baggage and smoker and a day coach." (Salt Lake Herald, November 1902)

November 16, 1902
"End Of Narrow Gauge. -- When the little Mogul pulled the narrow-gauge train into the city last night from Tooele and Garfield she gave one shrill blast of her whistle, like a great big sigh, and like a whipped puppy slowly moved into the dilapidated train shed. It was her last trip in this section, and her trip was the final one over the narrow-gauge, which will at once be abandoned." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, November 16, 1902)

November 17, 1902
The first standard gauge train arrived in Tooele (about one and a half mile west of Tooele) on Monday November 17th, amid a grand celebration of band playing and flower throwing; "bottled-up enthusiasm" that including bathing the locomotive's pilot wheels with wine. After arriving at the depot at 9:30 a. m., a special train of citizens and school children was taken to where a large steam shovel was working on the big cut, to see the giant machine in action. (Salt Lake Herald, November 18, 1902, "yesterday")

November 30, 1902
All of the remaining narrow gauge equipment was moved to a siding at Buena Vista, and the narrow gauge crossings along South Temple street were being replaced by standard gauge crossings. Much of the narrow gauge track at the Terminus end of the line had been torn up, and all would be gone within a few days. (Ogden Standard, December 1, 1902, "yesterday")

January 1, 1903
Review of 1902: O. S. L. lost 39.5 miles of line, "by the abandonment of the old narrow-gauge,..." on, it says, November 15, 1902. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 1, 1903)

April 3, 1903
The portion of the new standard gauge line between Terminus and Leamington Hill was all graded and ready for rails, and track laying was beginning on that portion, with just 60 miles of rails to be completed. (Salt Lake Herald, April 3, 1903)

April 19, 1903
Huge headline says "SAN PEDRO, LOS ANGELES & SALT LAKE ROAD BUYS ALL OREGON SHORT LINE SOUTH OF SALT LAKE CITY," which is self explanatory. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, April 19, 1903)

May 3, 1903
"Ho for Stockton!" "Broad Gauge Line Open to New Station Tomorrow" for regular traffic, there being a fine new station building at Stockton now. U. S. Ragland, the agent at Terminus, in a box car, on the narrow gauge, also goes to Stockton tomorrow. He had been the entire population of "Terminus City," and the box car its only building; "...for the present Terminus will retire to its desert solitude." (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, May 3, 1903)

May 5, 1903
Three miles of side tracks and switches were being laid at Tintic Junction, along with a new depot, a new 50,000-gallon water tank, and a new hotel. (Salt Lake Herald, May, 5, 1903)

May 26, 1903
Just 15 miles remain to be laid on the new standard gauge line to Leamington Hill. (About five miles south of today's Jericho siding) (Deseret Evening News, May 26, 1903)

June 20, 1903
OSL completed the 117-mile Leamington Cutoff, between Salt Lake City and Leamington Junction (later Lynndyl). (SPLA&SL corporate history)

June 20, 1903
The last rail was laid on the new standard gauge Leamington Cutoff, at Leamington. Considerable ballasting needed to be done, but the task would take only a few days. (Salt Lake Herald, June 23, 1903, "Saturday")

June 23, 1903
At the time that the new SP,LA&SL time card goes into effect, on or about July 1st, Leamington Hill station was to be renamed as "Lynn Junction." (Deseret Evening News, June 23, 1903)

April 28, 1905
"Railroad Notes" "Lynn Junction has been changed to plain Lynn." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 28, 1905)

April 30, 1905
"When the new company took hold it operated the cutoff as far as Tintic and through it, was enabled to haul all materials for the front. The line was ballasted and after it was completed the work was pushed on the line south of Lynn Junction. This point is where the old Nephi and Milford line is joined to the new line via Stockton, the station formerly being Leamington Hill spur." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 1905; article is a full page story describing the recently completed San Pedro line.)

May 10, 1907
The post office at Lynndyl was established on May 10, 1907. Ida M. Edwards was the first postmaster. (Salt Lake Herald, May 11, 1907)

February 13, 1910
A company known as Sevier River Land and Water Company was established to develop and sell 50,000 acres. "The opening of Lynndyl townsite will follow immediately upon the sale of the land (starting April 11th). The townsite embraces 160 acres, besides 480 acres immediately surrounding the town, which will be laid out in 2-1/2, 5 and 10-acre tracts. The railroad shops have already been established there and a large number of homes have been built for the accommodation of railroad employees. The railroad interests form a good nucleus for the new town, which from now on, will be the scene of unusual activity." "The tract is situated south of Leamington, a greater portion lying east of the Sevier river. The station, Lynn Junction, is on the main line of the Salt Lake Route, 118 miles south of Salt Lake and will become the new townsite, and will be known as Lynndyl." (Salt Lake Tribune, February 13, 1910)

After a review of available online newspapers, the small community of Leamington is about 4.8 miles east of where the two railroad lines made their junction (on June 20, 1903), at what was then commonly referred to as "Leamington Hill spur." Leamington Hill spur was changed to Lynn Junction on or about June 23, 1903 when the first time card for the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railroad went into effect. It apparently remained as Lynn Junction until about February 1910 when the adjacent Lynndyl town site was organized, encompassing the railroad junction and yards. The Lynndyl post office was organized on May 10, 1907.

By mid February 1910, the names Lynn Junction and Lynndyl were being used interchangeably in the newspapers, and in March 1910, Lynn Junction was usually used in parenthesis, as in Lynndyl (Lynn Junction). Throughout 1910, whenever a reference was made to the railroad junction, yard, station, or shops, the name Lynn Junction was used. This continued through to 1918.

Sale To San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake

July 7, 1903
SPLA&SL purchased all OSL lines south and west of Salt Lake City. (SPLA&SL Corporate History)

Lines of railroad purchased by SPLA&SL included:

The connection on the new Leamington Cut-off was at the west bank of the Jordan River, 1.78 miles west of Salt Lake City, at SPLA&SL Mile Post 781.56 (from Los Angeles, via Leamington Cutoff) and OSL Mile Post 1.23 (from Salt Lake City).

Separation on Provo line was just immediately south of Sandy at OSL milepost 49.98 (from Ogden), and later LA&SL milepost 786.35 (from LA).

(Sandy was likely chosen as the point of separation because OSL(UP) wanted to retain the smelter traffic. At this time, Salt Lake City was the smelting center of the west, with numerous smelters at Murray, Midvale, and Sandy.)

(Read more about the smelters at Sandy)

Under a 99 year lease dated June 18, 1903, SPLA&SL was granted trackage rights over 18.74 miles of the two OSL lines into Salt Lake City; from Sandy on the Provo line and from the Jordan River bridge on the Leamington Cutoff. Also included was a 99-year joint use agreement for SPLA&SL to use OSL's facilities and yards in Salt Lake City. The line between Salt Lake City and Sandy was within the yard limits of the OSL/LA&SL joint Salt Lake City yard. (SPLA&SL corporate history)

Included in the sale were 17 OSL locomotives (15 rod locomotives for mainline use and two Shay locomotives for switching at Tintic). (Deseret News, July 21, 1903)

July 8, 1903
"The Salt Lake Route -- The formal transfer of the property included in the recent deal between the Oregon Short Line and San Pedro railroads was made Wednesday morning. The lines of the former road south of Salt Lake, which included the Tintic branch and the new Leamington cut off, was included in the deal and hereafter Eureka and other Tintic points are on the San Pedro Los Angeles and Salt Lake City railroad instead of the Oregon Short Line. Agent Stack at this place has been selling tickets bearing the stamp of the new road since last Wednesday morning and the old Oregon Short Line paste boards have been returned to the Salt Lake office. Wednesday morning the passenger train made the trip over the Leamington cut off from Salt Lake to Tintic for the first time. The Tintic trains now run around by way of Stockton instead of past Fairfield and Lehi Junction. A mixed train makes daily trips between Tintic Junction and Fairfield. The time table on the Tintic branch is practically the same but it is quite probable that we will have both a morning and afternoon train to Salt Lake in a short time." (Eureka Reporter, July 10, 1903; "Wednesday" was July 8th)

July 11, 1903
The first official time table for San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake was published on July 11, 1903. Trains were operated between Salt Lake City and Tintic Junction on the Leamington Cutoff; between Salt Lake City and Tintic Junction, by way of Lehi and Fairfield (for Mercur); and between Salt Lake City and Calientes, by way of Lehi, American Fork, Provo, Juab, and Milford (for Frisco). (Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 1903)