Union Pacific in Utah, 1996 to today
This page was last updated on February 19, 2019.
August 3, 1995
UP and SP announced their intentions to consolidate their operations and merge. In Utah, both Geneva Steel and Kennecott Utah Copper were concerned that the new rail-monopoly in the state would result in increased rates. Geneva shipped about 70 percent of its finished products by rail, using either UP or SP. UP has agreed to allow a second railroad to have access to serve companies that were once served by both railroads, but following the merger, would be only served by the new merged company. At the time of the proposed merger, SP operated 564 miles of route in Utah, with 300 employees, and UP operated 859 miles of track in Utah, with 1,500 employees. (Ogden Standard Examiner, August 21, 1995, page 4A)
September 11, 1996
Union Pacific received federal Surface Transportation Board approval to control Southern Pacific Rail Corporation (formerly Rio Grande Industries), including its Southern Pacific and Denver & Rio Grande Western subsidiaries.
(From here on, this chronological history includes all references to events and actions on former Southern Pacific tracks and locations in Utah, and former Denver & Rio Grande Western tracks and locations in Utah.)
June 24, 1997
Union Pacific began using its new Garfield line change. The double-track mainline was moved north to make room for the expansion of Kennecott Utah Copper's tailings pond at Magna. Construction began in late summer 1995. Although trains were using the trackage as early as June 18, the formal cut-over date for the signals for the Number 1 track (north track) was on June 24. The Number 2 track (south track) was formally placed into service on June 26. Information about the project is difficult to obtain because its cost was fully covered by Kennecott, therefore the railroad has no budget or planning data. They engineered the project, and acted as a contractor to Kennecott to complete it. (Information from Bill Van Trump, Director Track Maintenance, Salt Lake City Service Unit, Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1998)
In July 1996, Kennecott began the relocation of 8.2 miles of Union Pacific railroad mainline, moving the railroad line from its current location along the north side of the current tailings pond, north to a new alignment parallel to Interstate 80, and along the north edge of the planned expanded pond. (Deseret News, July 5, 1996)
June 30, 1997
D&RGW was formally merged with Union Pacific Railroad, including ownership of equipment and the DRGW reporting mark. D&RGW formally ceased operations on June 30, 1997, but on December 31, 1996, D&RGW ceased compensation of employees. From January 1, 1997 to June 30, 1997, D&RGW employees were compensated by Union Pacific. (Railroad Retirement Board, Employee Status Determination, dated December 19, 1997.)
June 30, 1997
Southern Pacific Chicago St. Louis Corporation (SPCSL) was formally merged with Union Pacific Railroad. SPCSL formally ceased operations on June 30, 1997, but on December 31, 1996, SPCSL ceased compensation of employees. From January 1, 1997 to June 30, 1997, SPCSL employees were compensated by Union Pacific. (Railroad Retirement Board, Employee Status Determination, dated December 19, 1997.)
September 30, 1997
St. Louis Southwestern Railway (Cotton Belt) was formally merged with Union Pacific Railroad, including ownership of equipment and the SSW reporting mark. SSW formally ceased operations on September 30, 1997, but on December 31, 1996, D&RGW ceased compensation of employees. From January 1, 1997 to September 30, 1997, SSW employees were compensated by Union Pacific. SSW began operations on January 16, 1891. (Railroad Retirement Board, Employee Status Determination.)
SP owned 99.9 percent of SSW at the time of control by UP. Minority portions of SSW were owned by private individuals and institutions. The FRA also owned shares of SSW.
December 22, 1997
Union Pacific no longer needed its Little Mountain Branch following it merger and control of Southern Pacific, giving UP direct access to the industrial complex by way of the former SP trackage. UP served notice to the federal Surface Transportation Board that after a 180-day waiting period, service over the Little Mountain Branch would be discontinued. The STB approved the abandonment in a decision dated August 12, 1996, noting that the approval was embraced in the proposed UP-SP merger and control case.
February 1, 1998
Southern Pacific Transportation Co. was formally merged with Union Pacific Railroad. Union Pacific began operations on July 1, 1897. Southern Pacific began operations on November 26, 1969.
The full name for the Southern Pacific was the Southern Pacific Transportation Co., organized and incorporated in Delaware. To benefit from this corporate location, Union Pacific Railroad, previously a Utah corporation, was merged with Southern Pacific Transportation on February 1, 1998, and on the same day, the Southern Pacific Transportation Co. name was changed to Union Pacific Railroad Co. (SEC Form 8-K, dated February 13, 1998)
(SPT's parent company, Southern Pacific Rail Corporation (formerly Rio Grande Industries), had formally merged with Union Pacific Corporation, parent company of Union Pacific Railroad, on September 11, 1996.)
August 27, 1998
UP CEO Davidson announced changes in the railroad's operations. The railroad, which included the merged SP/D&RGW/SSW and the merged C&NW, was split into three regions, each to be headed by a new Regional Vice President. The new Western Region was to be headed by Jeff Verhaal, headquartered out of Roseville, California. Tom Murphy was to be the Assistant Vice President-Operations. Lynn Jensen was to be the new Chief Engineer. Rick Phillippie will be the new General Superintendent Car Maintenance, and Paul Johnson will be the new General Superintendent Locomotive Maintenance.
The new Western Region was to encompass all of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, along with part of Colorado (to Grand Junction), New Mexico (to Lordsburg), and Wyoming (to Green River).
As part of the new Western region, the new Utah Service Unit was to encompass the routes from Grand Junction to Provo, and from Provo to Lynndyl, along with the former LA&SL line from Smelter to Yermo. This new service unit was created to manage the flow of export coal to the Port of Los Angeles, along with the many intermodal trains that operate across the South Central Corridor. The new Salt Lake City Service Unit was to encompass the former WP and SP lines from Portola and Sparks, east to Salt Lake City and Green River, north from Salt Lake City to Pocatello, and east from Pocatello to Granger, along with the line north from Pocatello to Silver Bow, Mont.
Management of the new Utah Service Unit would come under Field Superintendent Ken Ratcliff, and the Salt Lake City Service Unit was to be managed by Field Superintendent Greg Workman.
September 30, 1998
Union Pacific received federal Surface Transportation Board approval to abandon 3 miles of rail line within Salt Lake City. (STB Docket AB-33, Sub 116X; initially filed on June 12, 1998; decided September 28, 1998)
The trackage to be abandoned included:
- 1.26 miles of the Provo Subdivision, milepost 799.0 to milepost 800.26 (600 South to South Temple)
- 0.47 mile of the Passenger Line Industrial Lead, milepost 782.32 to milepost 782.79 (between the crossing with the former D&RGW freight line, and the connection with the Provo Subdivision)
- 1.28 miles of the Provo Subdivision Running Track Passenger Line, milepost 744.20 to milepost 745.48 (former D&RGW passenger line along 500 West, from D&RGW depot, south to connection with former D&RGW freight line at about 1000 South)
The four existing shippers served by the trackage all supported the abandonment:
- Cereal Food Processors, located adjacent to the Provo Subdivision, will continue to be served by UP by way of a new spur from the former D&RGW passenger line along 500 West
- Holnam, Inc., located adjacent to the Provo Subdivision
- Tenneco Packaging, located adjacent to the Provo Subdivision Running Track Passenger Line (former D&RGW passenger line)
- Mountain Cement Co., located adjacent to the Passenger Line Industrial Lead, will continue to be served by UP by way of purchasing a portion of the abandoned line (by mid 2006, the Salt Lake City plant location was being dismantled, and was in use as a distribution facility for the company's cement product shipped in from its Laramie, Wyoming, production facility).
Portions of the written testimony from the abandonment application:
UP states that the commodities transported over these line segments consist of wheat, flour and other milled grain products, pulp board or fiberboard, portland cement, railway equipment, and scrap paper. In 1996, 4,068 carloads of traffic moved inbound and 1,877 carloads moved outbound over the line, totaling 5,945 carloads; in 1997, the numbers were 3,347 carloads inbound and 1,649 carloads outbound, totaling 4,996 carloads. UP states that the wheat, flour, and cement traffic will continue to move by rail to and from the area after abandonment. UP indicates that the Provo Subdivision currently consists of 133-pound rail, the Passenger Line Industrial Lead consists of 131-pound rail, and the Provo Subdivision Running Track Passenger Line consists of 115-pound rail.
Petitioner states that the line segments are located on Salt Lake City streets within a city project area which is commonly referred to as the "Gateway Project." UP is seeking authority to discontinue operations and to abandon the segments because the underlying right-of-way is required for other public purposes, i.e., for the Gateway Project. The project requires, in part, the shortening of the viaducts at ground level at 500 West Street and construction of an intermodal transportation facility in the Gateway area. According to UP, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) plans to: (1) reconstruct a segment of Interstate Highway 15 which requires demolition and reconstruction of the viaducts; and (2) shorten the viaducts in order to accommodate the Gateway Project. UP indicates that the shortening of the viaducts and the redevelopment will require removal of portions of the trackage proposed for abandonment here.
UP states that it wants to promptly convey the right-of-way underlying the line segments to UDOT and the City.
The abandonment of the above trackage forced Amtrak to move (in July 1999) from the former D&RGW passenger depot to a temporary intermodal facility directly to the west and located adjacent to the former D&RGW freight line along 600 West. Trains magazine's "NewsWire" reported the following on September 30, 1998:
Thanks to the 2002 Olympics to be held there, Salt Lake City will be getting a new Amtrak station. Presently Amtrak's daily California Zephyr uses a small portion of the former Rio Grande depot. The impetus for the change is that several overhead street crossings that now go over the Union Pacific passenger line and the former Rio Grande station line have to be rebuilt as part of a major highway project before the Olympics, and if those lines can be removed, the new bridges will be much shorter (and less costly). Without the long approach bridges the area around the two lines can more quickly be redeveloped.
The city has had a team of consultants working on the project for the past two years, and has selected architect Eli Naor of VBN Architects of Oakland, who designed the Jack London Square station there. The new Salt Lake City station is to be located on a triangular plot of land where the original D&RGW station was located in the 19th century. It is on the east side of the freight line leading south from Grant Tower interlocking toward Roper Yard. Some little-used freight tracks and sheds will be removed at the site. The station will be centered on the east-west street that the current D&RGW station is centered on, but about 2 blocks farther west. All this change will remove tracks of the former UP Provo Sub, and will leave both the Rio Grande and UP depot buildings with no tracks. The former Rio Grande freight line through the area will remain, as will the current UP main lines that head west.
Grant Tower, which is still standing, is the key junction where UP's two western routes (former Los Angeles & Salt Lake, and Western Pacific) connect with the former Rio Grande and the UP line north to Ogden, and in a related project, Grant Tower trackage will be modified to provide higher-speed curves. Also, a single double-track route west will replace the current separate UP and WP single-track alignments, thus reducing the number of grade crossings.
The new Amtrak station will be a full-service facility with three wide passenger platforms that can accommodate Amtrak and commuter service at the same time. It will include Greyhound and transit district bus routes, as well as the future commuter service. Salt Lake City will remain a service facility for the California Zephyr, and two platforms will be long enough to accommodate the train even with a string of express and mail cars.
During the last week of September 1998, UP operated an average of 43 trains per day between Salt Lake City and Ogden, Utah. (UP Update Line, October 1, 1998)
September 30, 1998
Union Pacific received federal Surface Transportation Board authority to abandon three segments of track in Salt Lake City:
- The 1.26-mile portion of the Provo Subdivision from 900 South to North Temple, all along 400 West.
- The 0.47-mile portion of the Passenger Line along 900 South between 400 West (connection with Provo Subdivision), westward to the crossing of the former D&RGW double-track mainline at about 650 West.
- The 1.28-mile former D&RGW passenger line from its north end at 100 South, to its south end at the connection with the former D&RGW freight main at Paxton Avenue (about 1200 South), all along 500 West.
- (Surface Transportation Board, Docket AB-33, Sub 116X, service date September 30, 1998)
November 2, 1998
The new Salt Lake City Service Unit and Utah Service Unit each took over the operations from the previous service units, known as the "cut over" date. (UP Online, Volume 4, Number 179, August 27, 1998; Volume 4, Number 180, August 28, 1998; Volume 4, Number 189, September 11, 1998)
April 26, 1999
UP's tracks along 400 West were officially removed from service when the turnout leading to the trackage was spiked shut at the north end, at Grant Tower. (interview with Rick Durrant, UP operating official)
The removal of UP's tracks along 400 West at 400 South, 500 South, and 600 South was begun by crews of Wasatch Constructors, the contractor for Utah Department of Transportation's rebuilding of I-15 and its approaches to Salt Lake City. The agreement between UDOT, Salt Lake City, and Union Pacific, for the removal of UP tracks, were completed in October 1997 "after many months of tough negotiations". The changes were to remove 66 grade crossings and a total of 4.3 miles of track. The removal of tracks along 500 West (the former D&RGW passenger line) was to begin in June. (Deseret News, May 3, 1999, "End of 400 West Tracks in sight")
June and July 1999
The former SP shops in Ogden were demolished to make way for two new run-through tacks. Work started during the second week of June 1999. (Ogden Standard Examiner, June 15, 1999)
July 31, 1999
Amtrak trains (Train 5/6) left the former D&RGW depot in Salt Lake City for the last time. Amtrak had completed a new, $100,000 temporary station at 350 South 600 West. The move to new station quarters was to accommodate the removal of both the former UP Provo Subdivision along 400 West, and the former D&RGW passenger line 500 West, both as part of the new Gateway Project. Arrivals and departures for Amtrak had been averaging 15 to 25 persons in each direction. (Flimsies, Issue 269, August 13, 1999, pages 9, 10)
Amtrak's Train 5, the westbound California Zephyr, on Saturday July 31, 1999, was the first train to depart from the new Salt Lake depot. (Deseret News, August 7, 1999, "S. L. transit center gets its first tenant")
August 3, 1999
UP demolished the smokestack for the powerhouse at the former Salt Lake diesel shops. The powerhouse, built in 1944, had already been demolished. (Trainorders.com, August 3, 1999; Flimsies, Issue 269, August 13, 1999, page 8)
During late September 1999, UP operated between 33 and 38 trains per day between Salt Lake City and Ogden. (The Overland, Issue 6, October 1999, page 11)
(From here on, this chronological history includes all Ogden updates after 1999)
Union Pacific was operating a trash train between Ogden and the land fill in East Carbon City, Utah, in Carbon County. The train was known by its symbol, LUH30, and ran daily between the former D&RGW Roper yard in Salt Lake City, and the trash transfer station in Ogden yard. Motive power was usually a pair of GP38-2s, or a pair of GP15-1s. Upon arrival at Ogden, empty container cars were exchanged for full container cars, and the train returned to Roper. The transfer station at Ogden was in the former PFE yard, adjacent to the former PFE ice plant. The trash containers were loaded and unloaded on dedicated flat cars using a "Piggy Packer" similar to those used to load and unload international shipping containers at intermodal yards nationwide. (Nelson Lunt, email dated March 29, 2000)
Union Pacific was installing two long run-through tracks in the Ogden yard, after removing the former SP yard and the former SP shop buildings. The new tracks were new from the subgrade up, with access roads between and along side the tracks to enable the car inspectors to do their work from vehicles. Traffic across the Lake was booming. Over 50 crews were in the pool to Carlin. The only fueling being completed was generally for eastbound trains if a locomotive had less than 1800 gallons on board, with fueling being performed by a contractor from a tank truck. Generally, westbounds were not being refueled. The regular fueling point was Rawlins, Wyoming. The eastbounds are brought up to 1800 gallons, enough to assure getting to Rawlins. (Trainorders.com, March 18, 2000)
From the (Ogden) Standard Examiner newspaper, March 29, 2000:
The company is about six weeks into a $12 million project that, when completed this fall, will cut about 45 minutes off the time it takes trains to pass through the Ogden rail yard.
The $12 million project began in mid February and includes 8,000 feet of new mainline trackage through the old Ogden yards, along with two 8,000-foot sidings that will be used as set-out tracks.
Trains now crawl along at 10 to 20 mph, said Jeff Gale, the Ogden track manager. The new run-through track will allow for speeds up to 40 mph.
This route is faster than UP's old routes around the lake. About 35 trains a day currently use that new route, Miller said, and that number is expected to increase.
The new tracks will be 3 miles long but installing them requires re-routing all the surrounding tracks, Miller said. "We're going to go right through the guts of Ogden yard with 40- mph track."
Email, Don Strack to The Streamliner Yahoo discussion group, March 29, 2000:
Union Pacific is making good progress on its new run through tracks in Ogden. The $12 million project began in mid February and includes 8,000 feet of new mainline trackage through the old Ogden yards, along with two 8,000-foot sidings that will be used as set-out tracks.
For those familiar with the former track layout in Ogden, the new trackage is located where the old UP yard was, north of 31st Street, south of 21st Street, and straight west of Ogden Union Station railroad museum. The old UP yard was removed about two years ago when the city of Ogden reportedly began taxing UP on the amount of rail it had in the city, rather than the number of track switches. The new tracks will be capable of 40 mph operations, and most trains bound for northern California will leave the Riverdale Yard (which remains untouched by the new construction) and proceed west from Ogden onto the causeway across Great Salt Lake.
The new tracks replace almost all of the former trackage once owned by the former Ogden Union Railway & Depot Co., a joint terminal company of both Union Pacific and Southern Pacific, and connect at their south end with the 28th Street Wye that allows traffic to head either south to Salt Lake City, or east to Wyoming. Some of trackage at the wye is also being relocated for better access.
For those with a copy of my Ogden Rails book, published in 1997, look at the foldout map in back. The former UP yard is in red, and the former SP yard is in blue. The western part of the SP yard (the old PFE yard) is used to load Ogden's trash trains for their trip to the landfill in eastern Carbon County, and current run-through operations use the eastern portion. The new tracks run north and south right through the middle of the old UP yard, and connect with the former SP tracks at the north end.
The demolition of the old SP shops last June and July was done in part to prepare for this new trackage.
The rail was being removed from the former D&RGW Marysvale Branch during the summer of 2000. (Roger Zuerlein, email to D&RGW Yahoo discussion group, March 22, 2001)
Union Pacific finished repairs to the former SP Salt Lake causeway, the result of a large sink hole that developed. (Trainorders.com, July 1, 2001)
Union Pacific completed the two new mainline tracks through the Ogden terminal. All switch crews had been moved from the Ogden yard, east to Riverdale Yard. In November 2000, a new building was planned to be completed in November 2000 at about 21st Street to accommodate managers and mainline crew changes, moving from the previous location at 33rd Street. (Trainorders.com, September 16, 2000)
February 5, 2001
UP reached an agreement with UTA that granted UTA to share a 20-foot corridor adjacent to UP's mainline between Salt Lake City and Ogden on the condition that UTA acquire a "fee interest" in the UP's mainline corridor between Ogden and Provo. The corridor was not uniform in width, and for UTA to acquire a consistent width for its own tracks, it would have to acquire small strips of additional land from 189 property owners in 60 jurisdictions by way of eminent domain. Senate Bill 256, then before the Utah legislature, would grant UTA the needed power of eminent domain and condemnation to proceed with the needed acquisitions. (Utah League of Cities and Towns, Meeting Minutes, February 19, 2001)
February 24, 2001
The City of Lehi, Utah held an open house for the newly restored 123-year old Lehi depot. UP had donated the building to the Lehi Preservation Commission in 1990. The building, the oldest railroad depot in Utah, was moved from its trackside location to its current location adjacent to State Street in 1995. The restoration was reported as having cost $250,000. (Deseret News, February 27, 2001)
Ballast Sources on former D&RGW
Smelter slag was loaded at Eilers (AS&R Spur), Leadville, Midvale, Murray, and Garfield, at least in the last 50 years. If it has a high iron content, it makes excellent ballast. Those smelters were lead-silver or copper smelters, which typically produce high iron-content slag because the ores contain high quantities of pyrite (iron disulfide, or FeS2). When pyrite is reduced in a reverberatory furnace, the sulfur combines with oxygen and eventually is recovered at the stack and made into sulfuric acid, and the iron becomes slag. Blast-furnace slag from steel mills is of course intended to contain as little iron as possible (it's mostly silica), which isn't nearly as good a ballast as lead-silver-copper smelter slag. (Mark Hemphill, email to D&RGW Yahoo discussion group, March 5, 2001)
UP's "Dirt Train" on former D&RGW: (from Jim Belmont)
As of March 2001, the UP symbols for the "Dirt Train" were:
- LJI44 from Roper to Helper and return (runs DPU, distributed power units)
- LJI45 from Helper to East Carbon and return (runs conventional power)
Train names on former D&RGW, as of March 2001: (from Jim Belmont)
- There is a branch line local out of the former D&RGW Roper yard that has for decades been called the "Midvale Tramp." The train's designation may be LJI40. However, it's still referred to as "Midvale Tramp" by UP dispatchers and crews.
- The Midvale Tramp has been running with 2 UP GP38's with Rio Grande GP40 3054 sandwiched. Kind of nice to see a bit of Grande gold on the branch. Back in January, GP40 #3087 was on the Tramp, but has since left Utah.
- The Midvale Tramp operates on weekday mornings. Leaves Roper yard before daylight and works the Bingham and Garfield branches, then return to Roper around noon.
- There is another local that runs from Provo down the old Rio Grande Tintic Branch to a limestone quarry that is still called the "Rock Train."
- The Tintic Branch Rock Train runs to the limestone quarry on an irregular schedule.
- Another named local is the "Potash Local" which goes down the former D&RGW Cane Creek Branch on Fridays.
March 13, 2001
Union Pacific turned on the CTC for the new mainline tracks through Ogden. (verbal communication with Bob Gier, March, 17, 2001)
April 20, 2001
UP received STB approval to abandon the Syracuse Industrial Spur. This trackage extended from Clearfield, Utah, west to 2000 West in Syracuse, a distance of 1.08 miles. This spur was the last remnant of the original Ogden & Syracuse Railway, incorporated and completed in 1887 from Syracuse Junction (later Clearfield) to the shore of the Great Salt Lake. In its application, UP stated that there had been no traffic on the line for the past two years. The last known traffic was boxcar shipments of onions and other vegetables from the C. H. Dredge warehouse, located in the cannery building of the former Kaysville Canning Company. (STB Docket No. AB-33, Sub 177X, decided on April 10, 2001, service date April 20, 2001; effective May 22, 2001)
"... to abandon a 1.082-mile line of railroad over the Syracuse Industrial Lead from milepost 1.10 to milepost 2.182 near Clearfield, Davis County, UT. UP has certified that: (1) no local traffic has moved over the line for at least 2 years; (2) there is no overhead traffic moving over the line; (3) no formal complaint filed by a user of rail service on the line (or by a state or local government entity acting on behalf of such user) regarding cessation of service over the line either is pending with the Surface Transportation Board (Board) or with any U.S. District Court or has been decided in favor of complainant within the 2-year period."
August 22, 2001
Utah Central Railway leased from Union Pacific the following Ogden area trackage:
- Former D&RGW Transfer Yard, mile posts 781 to 788, including passing and stub tracks
- Evona Industrial Lead
- Relico Spur
- Sugar Works Spur
- Dyce Bypass Track, up to the point of switch to the Shasta Lead Track
- Tracks 713 and 714, serving Dyce Chemical
- (STB Finance Docket 34051, decided on August 14, 2001)
January 5, 2002
The first operational train to travel over the reinstated 900 South line was the westbound Wendover Local on January 5, 2002, at 11:25 am. The train was made up of 36 cars, with SD40-2s 3778 and 3686 as motive power. There was a signal crew (Wayne Stewart and John Carter) on hand to ensure the newly installed signals worked properly. (from Chuck Panhorst, via a June 24, 2002 email from Jim Belmont)
February 5, 2002
Union Pacific donated SP's first SD45 locomotive to the Ogden Union Station railroad museum in Ogden, Utah. (Union Pacific press release)
The Salt Lake City Council approved the closure of 4800 West at 700 South to allow UP to construct its new intermodal facility, situated along its mainline. Access to the new intermodal facility would be from 5600 West, at about 700 South. The new intermodal facility was needed to allow the closure of the existing facility at Beck Street and about 2000 North after UP sold the land there to UTA for its new commuter rail project. (Salt Lake City Council meeting minutes)
Union Pacific began service to a new shipping and storage facility operated by Moroni Feed Company, located five miles south of Nephi on UP's Sharp Subdivision. The facility included several storage silos and a separate feed preparation plant operated by Intermountain Farmers Association. Each silo was reported as having a capacity of 110,000 tons of corn, and was designed to accept complete 100-car unit trains of corn. Rail service was provided by 6600 feet loop of track that was accessed by way of a 1200 feet lead track from the mainline. (Deseret News, July 9, 2002; Trainorders.com, August 24, 2004, including photos)
July 29, 2002
The Salt Lake City Council approved UP's plans to build a new 300-acre intermodal and automobile unloading ramp facility on Salt Lake City's west side, at 5600 West and 800 South. The new facility would allow Union Pacific to close its intermodal ramp at Becks Street, and its automobile unloading ramp at Clearfield. (Deseret News, July 30, 2002; Salt Lake Tribune, July 30, 2002; Trains News Wire, August 1, 2002; UPOnline, August 6, 2002)
The new intermodal and auto unloading ramp was part of an overall improvement that included UP's sale to Utah Transit Authority two of its existing facilities, which UTA wanted as part of its Frontrunner commuter rail service. These two facilities included UP's intermodal yard at Becks Street on Salt Lake City's north side, and UP's automobile ramp at Clearfield, about 25 miles north of Salt Lake City.
The location for the new "Intermodal Freight Hub" was negotiated by UTA and was on land owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 6, 2002)
The original application and petition was presented by Union Pacific and UTA to the Salt Lake City Council on June 4, 2002, and the council was to set a public hearing to be held on July 2, 2002. (Memorandum, Salt Lake City mayor to Salt Lake City Council, dated May 31, 2002, which included specific improvements and street closures by the applicants.)
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)
The corridors in the sale included:
- A north/south corridor running parallel to the freight mainline, from Payson to Brigham City.
- The former D&RGW line between North Salt Lake and South Ogden.
- A line between South Salt Lake and Sugar House (known as the Sugar House Spur)
- A line from Midvale to West Jordan/South Jordan (known as the Bingham Industrial Spur).
- An extension of the existing north/south TRAX line into Utah County (part of what is known as the Provo Industrial Lead) (10000 South in Sandy, over Point of the Mountain to Lehi) (UP would keep the three miles of line between Lehi and Orem, at the former Lakota Crossing)
- A line between Orem and Provo (part of what is known as the Provo Industrial Lead)
- A line south from Spanish Fork (known as the Tintic Industrial lead)
The facilities in the sale included:
- North Salt Lake facility (the former UP intermodal yard at Becks Street)
- Maintenance facility (the former UP diesel shop)
- Clearfield facility (the former UP automobile ramp)
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:
"UTA indicates that it does not intend to conduct freight rail operations on any of the lines, but is acquiring them for possible passenger rail operations. According to UTA, UP will retain an exclusive, perpetual, transferable and irrevocable easement on the lines to conduct freight operations. Consummation of this transaction is expected to occur on or about May 30, 2002." "UTA simultaneously filed a motion to dismiss this proceeding, contending that the Board does not have jurisdiction over this transaction. The motion will be addressed by the Board in a separate decision." (Surface Transportation Board, Finance Docket 34170, decided February 14, 2002, service date February 22, 2002)
"On January 28, 2002, the Utah Transit Authority (UTA), a noncarrier, filed a notice to acquire from the Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) several railroad rights-of-way and related improvements located in Davis, Weber, Salt Lake and Utah Counties, UT. Consummation of the transaction is expected to occur on or about May 30, 2002. UTA concurrently filed a motion to dismiss the notice of exemption, claiming that the transaction, as described in the notice and as set forth in the trackage rights agreement and quitclaim deed attached to its motion, is not subject to the Board's jurisdiction. We agree and will grant the motion to dismiss. Accordingly, UTA will not become a common carrier as a result of this transaction." (Surface Transportation Board, Finance Docket 34170, decided May 17, 2002, service date May 22, 2002)
- Total of 62.77 miles
- Salt Lake Subdivision: milepost 754.31 in Bountiful, to milepost 778.00 in Ogden (former D&RGW mainline)
- Salt Lake Subdivision: 20 to 35-foot portion of right of way from milepost 782.48 in Salt Lake City, to milepost 818.05 in Ogden (adjacent to UP mainline)
- Provo Industrial Lead: milepost P-775.23 at Point of the Mountain, to milepost P-762.00 at Hardy (UP mainline)
- Provo Subdivision: 20 to 35-foot portion of right of way from milepost 705.71 at Lakota Junction, to milepost 729.29 near Riverton, and from milepost 729.50 near Riverton to milepost 745.50 in Salt Lake City (adjacent to former D&RGW mainline).
- Sharp Subdivision: milepost P-752.41 in Provo, to milepost P-757.25 at Lakota Junction (UP mainline)
- Sharp Subdivision: 20 to 35-foot portion of right of way from milepost 745.82 in Spanish Fork, to milepost P-749.99 in Provo, and from milepost P-750.81 in Provo to milepost P-752.41 in Provo (adjacent to UP mainline)
- Tintic Industrial Lead: from milepost 0.00 in Springville, to milepost 13.06 in Payson (former D&RGW Tintic Branch)
- Sugar House Spur: from milepost 0.00 at Roper, to milepost 2.74 in Sugar House (former D&RGW Sugar House Branch)
- Bingham Industrial Lead: from milepost 6.60 at Bagley, to milepost 11.81 (Lead Mine) (former D&RGW Bingham Branch)
- Bingham Industrial Lead: 20 to 35-foot portion of right of way from milepost 0.00 to milepost 6.60 (former D&RGW Bingham Branch)
- Consummation of sale to occur on or about May 30, 2002.
- UTA is acquiring tracks for future passenger operations, and does not intend to conduct freight operations.
- (STB Finance Docket 34170)
December 2, 2002
Union Pacific received approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon its rail operations along 23.69 miles of the former D&RGW mainline, from Mile Post 754.31 "near Valencia (400 North in Bountiful), to Mile Post 778.0 "near Ogden" (Midland Road in Roy). The portion south of 400 North in Bountiful was retained by UP to retain access to the oil refineries in North Salt Lake, Woods Cross and West Bountiful. The portion north of Midland Road in Roy was retained to retain access to the businesses in West Ogden. (STB Docket AB-33, Sub 191X, service date December 2, 2002)
(This 23.69 miles of former D&RGW Salt Lake City-to-Ogden mainline has been paved and is known as the "Denver and Rio Grande Western Rail Trail.)
December 2, 2002
Union Pacific received approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon its rail operations along 3.23 miles of the UP Provo Subdivision from milepost P-772.00 at Cutler (near Lehi) north to milepost P-775.23 at Mount (Point of the Mountain -- at the Utah/Salt Lake County Line). This section of track has been used infrequently for freight car storage. 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 192X; notice of intent to abandon published in Salt Lake Tribune, November 8, 2002)
(This 3.23 miles of line was a portion of UP's old Provo Subdivision mainline from Lakota Junction near Orem, to Salt Lake City's Grant Tower, built as part of the original Utah Southern Railroad in 1872, and shut down as a through route in November 1985. This route once hosted Wyoming's unit iron ore and Geneva's coil steel trains equipped with helpers.)
December 2, 2002
Union Pacific received approval from the federal Surface Transportation Board to abandon its rail operations along 2.83 miles of Provo Subdivision (known by this time as the Provo Industrial lead) between mile post 753.27 near Provo (one mile west of Provo) and mile post 756.10 near Gatex (one mile east of Lakota Crossing). There had been no traffic over the line for at least two years. 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 193X)
(This 2.83 miles of line was a portion of UP's old Provo Subdivision mainline between Provo and the Lakota Crossing with D&RGW, built as part of the original Utah Southern Railroad in 1872).
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; about 5200 West) to MP 11.81 near Lead Mine (Copperton). This trackage had been sold to Utah Transit Authority in September 2002, 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, service date December 2, 2002; 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.)
June 23, 2003
"OMAHA -- The Scoular Company announced today that it has assumed operation of the grain facilities owned by Farmers Grain Cooperative of Idaho. The principal facility is located in Ogden, Utah, with additional facilities in American Falls, Michaud, Malad, Grace and Bancroft, Idaho. These facilities give Scoular 6,950,000 bushels of grain storage space, in addition to the 360,000 bushels of space at the Ogden facility already owned by Scoular. Both of the Ogden facilities are served by the Utah Central Railway. The Bancroft, Michaud, and American Falls facilities are served by the Union Pacific Railroad." (The Scoular Company press release, dated June 23, 2003)
The rail and ties of the D&RGW line between Salt Lake City and Ogden were removed. The line was sold to Utah Transit Authority in May 2002, with UTA announcing plans in May 2005 to convert the former rail line into it a trail. (email from Larry Deppe, July 18, 2003; Deseret Evening News, May 24, 2005)
"Scrappers have been busy pulling rail on the old D&RGW line between Ogden and Salt Lake. Rail was pulled in Roy yesterday and they are currently working their way south through Clinton. Unlike the scrapping of lines in the past this line is not even graced with a final scrappers train. The line is being pulled up by about six people with a push car and a front end loader." (Shay Stark, email to Utah Railroading Yahoo group, July 18, 2003)
September 3, 2003
The Federal Railroad Administration approved the use of "Quiet Zones" in Salt Lake City.
Salt Lake Railroad "Quiet Zones" Approved
Sep. 3, 2003
(KSL News) -- The Federal Railroad Administration has approved two railroad "quiet zones" on Salt Lake City's west side.
That means trains will not be allowed to blow their whistles along the 900 South rail line from 700 West to Redwood Road, and on Union Pacific's main line tracks from 2nd South to 5th North.
The quiet zones were being pushed by Mayor Rocky Anderson... who says it will bring relief to residents in the Glendale and Poplar Grove neighborhoods, as well as the Gateway area.
The City Council must now approve funds needed to make the changes.
Operations on the former D&RGW line over Soldier Summit (just "Summit" after 1983) included moderate traffic between Provo and Helper. Mostly coal trains, some of which load at CV spur at Wellington, east of Price. BNSF usually ran a manifest one way each way per day. UP infrequently ran a manifest across the line. The Skyline Mine on the Pleasant Valley branch (south from Colton) may have already been shut down. The Utah Railway usually ran daily and employed manned helpers, but most other trains used DPU, or distributed power. UP also operated what had become known as the "Dirt Train," which was at that time running with three former D&RGW SD40T-2 tunnel motors, and a UP SD40-2. the Dirt Train usually departed Helper eastbound in mid-morning and returned in mid-to-late afternoon. On Saturday, the train left Helper around 7:00 a.m. (posted by "rivulet" on Trainorders.com, October 9, 2003)
Some Utah Railway trains used UP motive power. An coal empty coming over Soldier with only three units was likely a Utah train. UP empties seemed to run with four or more units. The Utah helpers usually came out to shove their trains and any BNSF train as needed. On Monday through Friday, Utah also ran the IPPX train, supposedly coming out of Provo in the 0600-0700 hour, coming over to either Wildcat or the CV Spur. Once loaded, they grabbed helpers at either Martin or Helper, respectively, and headed on up the hill. Helpers can cut out at Colton or on top. The Utah road train is currently running all MK-5000s with five matched SD-50s for helpers. Utah 5005 was in G&W orange. Also, the power was reversed if they load at Wildcat, and will turn with the train on the CV Spur. BNSF had two freights each way, each day, with occasional extra trains, like the coil steel U-JOLPIT train. (Trainorders.com, October 9, 2003)
Union Pacific was operating two locals on the Ogden Subdivision, including the Malad Local six days per week between Brigham City and the Nucor Steel plant at Plymouth, 31 miles to the north. The other local was the Cache Valley Local, which was operating five days per week between Cache Junction and Logan, and between Logan and Preston, Idaho. (James Belmont, posted to Trainorders.com, January 30, 2004)
February 1, 2004
UP's Cheyenne and Denver service units were combined, with new headquarters being located in Denver. The new service unit included all former D&RGW lines in Colorado, as well as the old kansas Pacific across Kansas, along with assorted branches in Colorado and the old UP mainline and associated branches across Nebraska (from O'Fallons) and Wyoming, west to Ogden, Utah. (David Blazejewski, email dated January 20, 2004)
The following comes from Trains magazine, "Big Train" by Edward Brunner:
Route of the auto parts -- When [Rock Island train no.] 57 left Council Bluffs, it traveled over the UP as ARRO (Auto RailRoad Overland). Pausing at North Platte for a new crew, it picked up additional GM auto parts and assembly traffic that had been ferried to North Platte from UP's Kansas City and St. Louis connections with the Norfolk & Western and the Missouri Pacific. UP delivered this much-enlarged ARRO to Southern Pacific at Ogden. Running as UPWSA (UP/Warm Springs Auto), SP made the final delivery to GM auto plants in Fremont (Warm Springs), California.
The ARRO was one of a number of tightly-scheduled auto-parts trains that sprang up in the 1970s to serve assembly plants newly built in high-growth areas like the West Coast. Ford's parts manufacturing was consolidated in Detroit, making it easy to ship parts west. GM's parts manufacturing, however, was scattered across Michigan, Ohio and Indiana, so the traffic that UP handled west of North Platte had to be gathered from numerous points in the mid-west. Rob Leachman calculates that 70% of the traffic that eventually comprised a Warm Springs-bound ARRO funneled through South Chicago and Blue Island, with the remainder reaching North Platte via Kansas City.
To move parts traffic smoothly through Chicago, Rock Island had the advantage over competitors C&NW and BN. Its South Chicago delivery point, connecting with Erie Lackawanna and Penn Central, was 10 miles from its Blue Island receiving yard, where it could quickly build and launch its main-line trains. (Plus, GTW and Chessie interchanged directly at Blue Island.) Those 10 miles were relatively trouble-free and could be traveled in about an hour — important at a time when many east to-west Chicago transfers took 24 hours.
ARRO traffic lasted about a decade, during which it gradually declined. In the early 1970s, two 57s were common, one running straight through from South Chicago, the other originating in Blue Island. After 1975, 57's traffic shrank enough that it was often filled at Blue Island with other North Platte freight. By the late 1970s, 57 ran in two sections only about once a month. By 1980, when the Rock Island's collapse shifted ARRO traffic to the C&NW, traffic was down to half a trainload.
Numerous factors caused the demise of the tightly-scheduled auto parts train. Compact cars efficiently produced by Japanese manufacturers hurt the domestic builders, which were unable to respond quickly to changing consumer interests. And the system displayed its flaws: Trains didn't always reach their assembly plants on time, so large inventories still had to be maintained. Rough rides on bumpy rails didn't help. Labor and management's history of distrust complicated innovations of any kind. By 1982, GM and Ford each had closed their northern California assembly plants.
The Warm Springs plant eventually reopened, but as a joint venture of GM and Toyota. Components for its assembly line now arrived from Japan via container. Today  the traffic flow of the 1970s has been reversed: The assembly plants for the best-selling Toyotas and Hondas are located in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. And their auto parts do not arrive by the distinctive "elephant-size" auto-parts boxcars but in containers traveling on look alike double-stack trains. -- Edward Brunner (with statistical assistance of Mark Amfahr, articles of Rob Leachman, Joel Boucher, and Greg Davies; and conversation with Dennis L Stowe) (Trains magazine, May 2004, page 26)
Union Pacific and Utah Department of Transportation completed a new bridge and overhead crossing of UP's former D&RGW mainline at 12300 South in Salt Lake County. The project, started in late 2002, included a temporary track, known as a "shoofly," to temporarily relocate the main track while the new bridge was built, and also included a raised grade to increase the clearance for highway traffic below the bridge. (Trainorders.com, October 23, 2004, reported by James Belmont)
The operation of Ogden municipal garbage trains came to an end. About 680 tons per day of waste would be hauled by truck to a new landfill facility in Tooele County. The service started in 1997 when a transfer station was completed in the former SP yard just west of downtown Ogden. At the same time, Weber County closed it own landfill. The transfer station in Ogden was designed to hold no more than four days of municipal waste, but problems had developed with Union Pacific not delivering sufficient empty cars in a timely manner, causing waste to build up within the transfer facility. At times there was a week's accumulation of waste. Also, Union Pacific was increasing the haulage fee by double-digit numbers every year, including a 27 percent increase in 2004. The new landfill in Tooele County, known as Wasatch Regional, was to be completed in September 2005 and was owned by Allied Waste, which also owned the facility in East Carbon, Utah, the destination of the garbage-by-train. In the interim, the Ogden waste would be trucked to the Box Elder County landfill. Kory Coleman, district manager for Allied Waste in Utah, was quoted as saying, "It doesn't work when the railroad doesn't want the business. They've done very little over the last three years to improve the service. They continue to raise the prices significantly. We take that as a message." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 18, 2005)
June 22, 2005
UP received federal Surface Transportation Board approval to abandon its rail operations on the Sugar House Branch between milepost 0.0 near Roper Yard, and the end of the branch at milepost 2.74 in Salt Lake City's Sugar House district. The abandoned line was to become a rail-trail, with UTA reserving the right to reactivate or reconstruct the line for future rail service. UP had made its application on March 4, 2005. On March 5, 2005, UTA applied to use the line as a rail trail. (STB Docket AB-33, Sub 195X, decided on June 16, 2005, service date June 22, 2005)
"On March 4, 2005, Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) filed with the Surface Transportation Board a petition to abandon a line of railroad, known as the Sugar House Branch, from milepost 0.0 near Roper to the end of the branch line at milepost 2.74 near Sugar House, a distance of 2.74 miles in Salt Lake County, UT."
"In 2002, the line served two customers, Harbison Walker Refractories (Harbison) and Burton Lumber Company (Burton). Harbison received cars in 2002 and then relocated off the UP railroad network in 2003. Burton was an active shipper until it relocated to another UP served location in Salt Lake City in October of 2003. Therefore, there is no customer impact associated with the proposed abandonment. The line has not been a route for overhead traffic and is not in service at the present time."
"The UTA requests, in a letter of March 5, 2005, issuance of a Notice of lnterim Trail Use (NTIU) for the rail line. UTA seeks rail banking and interim trail use on the line. A request for a NITU was filed March 24, 2005, by UTA, with the Board."
The Sugar House Branch was sold to Utah Transit Authority in 2002, as part of a package of several other UP properties that UTA needed for future light rail projects.
The last rail business on the branch was apparently in late 2003 to Burton Lumber Co., and to Harbison Walker Refractories, which both relocated their rail business to other sites with access to UP's rail network. UP sought to abandon the line because of the changing nature of the neighborhoods along the line (away from light industrial uses), together with low rail activity and low profitability of serving businesses along the line.
The following comes from James Belmont, message posted to Trainorders.com on October 10, 2008.
The last few miles of the former D&RGW Sugarhouse Branch are being scrapped by A&K Railroad Materials, Inc. They started at Roper Junction and are currently at 8th East in Sugarhouse. The history fans will be interested to know this spur was once a busy D&RGW branch that extended up Parley's Canyon (where I-80 is today) all the way to the silver mines at Park City.
The line was cut back to Sugar House around 1960. The "Ping Pong Local" continued to serve Interstate Brick on the spur until about 1970. After that a local switch job served Granite Furniture and Burton Lumber yard until 1993 when the line was cut back to Main Street in South Salt Lake. The line was abandoned all together by UP a few years ago when a new team track was built at Roper.
Apparently the City of Sugarhouse hopes to operate a trolley line connecting with UTA's existing light rail at Central Point station (21st South). We shall see if that ever does materialize. This former D&RGW right of way is now owned by the Utah Transit Authority.
The Sugar House Branch was constructed by Rio Grande Western Railway in 1900 as a cutoff to allow Park City-bound trains direct access to the Park City Branch which ran east of Sugar House. Previously, access to the Park City Branch was via trackage of the former Salt Lake & Fort Douglas Railway in Salt Lake City, along 800 South, then to Sugar House by way of a route along today's McClelland Street. Continued suburban growth in Salt Lake City's southeast quadrant was making railroad operations difficult, leading to construction of the new Park City Branch between Roper and Sugar House in 1900. Traffic was reduced in 1948 when D&RGW abandoned its line to Park City, at which time the line was reduced from a "Branch" to a "Spur", ending at LeGrand station, 0.4 mile down-canyon from the cement quarry. In January 1956 the line between Sugar House and the cement quarry (about five miles) was abandoned due to Utah's highway department wanting the right of way to expand U. S. 40 in Parleys Canyon. After the 1956 changes, rail traffic was centered in Sugar House itself with customers such as Granite Furniture and their regular "carload" sales.
December 20, 2005
Union Pacific began using the new intermodal facility in west Salt Lake City, located adjacent to its mainline at 5600 West. The new site covered 240 acres and had four loading tracks. Trailers would not be accepted at the old facility at 2000 North in north Salt Lake City after December 23, 2005, and effective Monday December 26, 2005, all intermodal loads were to be "tendered" at the new facility. The first train was scheduled to leave on Tuesday December 27th. The old facility was reported to be just 30 acres in size and capable of holding just 470 units, compared to the new facility's 240 acres size, and capacity of 1315 units. Both facilities had four loading tracks, but the new facility also had four support tracks. (UP news release; Pacer StackTrain news release)
December 25, 2005
The first train entered the new Salt Lake City intermodel facility. ("spdesertdog", email posted to Trainorders.com, January 10, 2006)
UP realigned trackage in Farmington to allow the addition of new tracks for UTA's FrontRunner commuter rail, moving Track No. 2 (the west track) to the inside of the curve. UP also began the installation of new signal bridges to accommodate the new triple track, replacing the existing trackside signals on the existing double track. The first new signal bridge was at Centerville, with others at Glovers Lane (about Mile Post 794) and Shepard Lane (about Mile Post 801).
June 2, 2006
Union Pacific received federal Surface Transportation Board approval to formally abandon the 900 South Line between milepost 780.1, west of Redwood Road, and milepost 782.32, near 400 West, all in Salt Lake City. The line's abandonment was not to actually take place until after the reconfiguration of UP's Grant Tower interchange, which is planned for completion in early 2007 as part of many changes in support of UTA's commuter rail project between Salt Lake City and Ogden. (STB Docket AB-33, sub 237X, decided on May 24, 2006)
August 22, 2006
Palladon Iron Corporation's lease of Union Pacific's Comstock Subdivision went into effect. Palladon organized the PIC Railroad LLC to operated the line. On the same day, PIC Railroad assigned the lease to Iron Bull Railroad, a company controlled by Michael Root and the Albany & Eastern Railroad. Also on the same day, the Surface Transportation Board designated Iron Bull Railroad as a common carrier. (Surface Transportation Board dockets FD 34896, 34897, 34898, all dated September 14, 2006)
Authorization has been granted by the federal Surface Transportation Board for the operation of the newly-named Iron Bull Railroad, the 14-mile short line running between the Iron Mountain mine site and interchange tracks in Iron Springs, Utah. Mike Root and the Albany Eastern Railroad have also been authorized as the operator of the Iron Bull Railroad. Palladon Iron Corp. is the lessee. Construction of interchange tracks at Iron Springs was completed in April, 2006.
Union Pacific employed 1,756 persons in the state of Utah, with an annual payroll of $11.6 million. The railroad operated on 1,333 miles of track, with its operations centered within the Salt Lake City and Ogden terminals, along with a new 260-acre intermodal terminal at 1045 South 5500 West, west of Salt Lake City. (Deseret Morning News, September 24, 2006)
September 20, 2006
Union Pacific officially opened its new intermodal terminal in Salt Lake City. On Wednesday, September 21, 2006, Union Pacific officially unveiled its $83 million intermodal container terminal, increasing the railroad's shipping container capability in Salt Lake by three times. UP's 260-acre terminal in west Salt Lake City, which replaced an obsolete 30-acre facility closer to downtown, and was capable of loading or unloading 12 to 14 trains a day, each pulling 75 "double-stack" container rail cars. "The number of rail containers arriving and departing UP's terminal is up 20 percent since last year," said John Kaiser, UP vice president of intermodal marketing and sales. The old terminal was operated by six UP employees and 19 contract workers. UP still employs six people, but the number of contract workers has increased to 109, UP spokesman Mark Davis said. The new terminal was located at 1045 South on 5600 West on Salt Lake City's west side, adjacent to its mainline to Los Angeles. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 21, 2006)
The OSL depot at Smithfield (north of Logan on the Cache Valley Branch) was removed from railroad property after being retired in the 1960s and moved a few blocks away, but still in Smithfield. In 2007 the building was purchased from its owner and in late 2009 it was moved to become a real estate office at 775 South Main Street in Logan. (Herald Journal, November 9, 2009) The original site in Smithfield was on the east side of the OSL tracks, at 350 West 100 North.
March 28, 2007
The federal Surface Transportation Board approved the acquisition of railroad freight operations along UP's Bingham Industrial lead (former D&RGW Bingham and Garfield branches), by Savage Bingham & Garfield:
SBGR, a noncarrier, to acquire from Union Pacific Railroad Company (UP) and operate freight easements upon, over, and across:
- UP's rail line between milepost 0.18 at Midvale and milepost 6.60 at Bagley Spur (Bingham Industrial Lead, about 5200 West)
- UP's rail line between milepost 4.66 at Welby and milepost 17.10 at Magna (Garfield Branch)
- UP's rail line between milepost 0.00 at Kearns and milepost 2.01 at Bacchus (Bacchus Branch)
- Various UP wye, yard, and team tracks in the vicinity of Midvale (Midvale Trackage)
- A total of 20.87 miles, all in Salt Lake County, Utah.
- (Surface Transportation Board, Finance Docket 35002, decided March 28, 2007; service date March 28, 2007)
Savage Bingham & Garfield operations started on October 1, 2007.
April 24, 2007
Utah Transit Authority was given authority to acquire the remaining 35 feet of right-of way of UP's Bingham Industrial Lead (former D&RGW Bingham Branch) between Midvale and Bagley (about 5200 West), being the portion with the actual track structure on it, and adding to the 35 feet of right-of-way acquired in 2002, gave UTA complete ownership of the entire line. (Surface Transportation Board, Finance Docket 35008, decided April 23, 2007; service date April 24, 2007)
Construction of UTA's Mid-Jordan light rail passenger line started in May 2008, and was completed and opened to the public in August 2011.
November 2, 2007
Union Pacific began official use of the new re-aligned Grant Tower trackage. The adjacent right-of-way for Utah Transit Authority's commuter rail was located and partially graded; UTA trackage was laid and in place by December 28, 2007.
Union Pacific changed the track configuration at Burmester, on the former Western Pacific. They reinstated the wye, rebuilt 6000 feet of storage track of the former Tooele Branch, and added two more tracks to the yard. In late 2011, they were putting down the foundation for a cell tower just west of the yard. (Bradley Ogden, email dated December 13, 2011)
In October 2016 the UP yard at Burmester, Utah (former WP), was designated as Stauffer Yard. The new name was to honor Larry Stauffer, who worked on the Wendover local for 30 years. (Bradley Ogden, message to Utah Rail Enthusiasts group on Facebook, May 23, 2016 and October 6, 2016)
Layton Depot -- UDOT announced that the Layton depot building would be sold, with the previous owner given first refusal. Several plans and ideas for potential preservation have been discussed, but none are certain. (Deseret News, December 7, 2009; Standard Examiner, October 14, 2011)
Almost 100 years ago, in August 1912, Oregon Short Line Railroad, a Union Pacific subsidiary, completed its Layton depot building. With a reported cost of $6,567.20, the new depot was part of a larger project to add a second track to OSL's mainline between Salt Lake City and Ogden. The cost included a second mail crane for use by Railway Post Office to serve the new second track. Electric lights were added in May 1916, at a cost of $39.75.
Union Pacific closed its Layton depot in 1972 and the building was moved about one-third mile south along the railroad's Salt Lake City to Ogden double-track mainline. The original site of the depot, at UP's crossing of Gentile Street in Layton, remained partially vacant except for a small loading spur. In 1921, on property at the time owned by the railroad, Layton City had dedicated a small memorial to four veterans of World War I. In November 1991, the site was donated by Union Pacific to Layton City, and the city expanded the memorial from one-fifth acre to one-half acre, and rededicated the site as Veteran's Park. The park remains in place today Layton's oldest public park.
At its new location, the former Layton depot building was turned 180 degrees, putting the station agent's bay window on the east side. The old depot served as the home of a restaurant immediately after it was moved, with the most recent owners operating it since May 1992 as Doug & Emmy's Restaurant.
Utah Transit Authority started construction of its Frontrunner North commuter rail project in July 2005. The work started in Layton in May 2006, with full service starting April 2008. The new commuter line's Layton station stop and parking lot was located immediately north of the former Layton depot building. The building remained in place and continued in business as Doug & Emmy's Restaurant, although there was a six-foot chain link fence between it and the Frontrunner station and parking lot. Access to the restaurant was only from Layton's Main Street, an inconvenient and unsafe walk for potential customers.
In July 2009 Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) started construction on the Layton Parkway interchange with Interstate 15, which included a new alignment for the south end of Layton's Main Street. Doug & Emmy's Restaurant, which was in the old Layton UP depot, was in the way and the property and building was purchased by UDOT as part of the property acquisition for the Layton Parkway construction. Doug & Emmy's closed in December 2009, with plans for the old depot building to be demolished. However, the actual site where the building stood was not needed and the depot building remained in place, with its windows boarded up.
After starting the move in April 2009, by February 2012, Union Pacific had moved a total of 5 million tons of the Moab tailings.
In April 2009, Union Pacific began moving uranium tailings from the former Atlas Minerals uranium mill near Moab, Utah. With a total of 16 million tons of contaminated material to be moved, and with Union Pacific's Cane Creek Subdivision (the former D&RGW Cane Creek Branch) immediately adjacent to the mill site, rail transportation was seen as the best option for removal. A disposal site was selected 30 miles north at Crescent Junction, where the the Cane Creek line connects with Union Pacific's former D&RGW mainline in eastern Utah, again, because of the adjacent rail facilities.
The former D&RGW yard office at Ogden, known as "Transfer," was demolished by Union Pacific. (Tim Morris, courtesy of James Belmont via email dated March 16, 2013)
July 5, 2013
The federal Surface Transportation Board approved Union Pacific application to abandon the last mile of its line to Cedar City, Utah, from MP 30.8 to MP 31.8. UP made the application on June 6, 2013.
This is the line east of the I-15 overcrossing, and it served the team track that is right adjacent to Main Street at 400 North. This is an area with lots of commercial development, so it is likely that a developer, or the city, or both, has plans to put in something that will bring in some tax revenue. There are several mixed traffic customers west of the I-15 crossing, so UP will continue to serve these customers.
There was a delay in the STB approval due to the state historical society, which is a state agency in Utah, not yet responding to the standard STB request to determine any buildings or structures with historical significance. From past experience, they never find anything of historical significance, so this is simply a result of personnel cutbacks due to a reduced state budget. In the final STB decision, UP was restrained from removing any structure, including removing rails and ties, until the historical review has been completed.
This is not related in any way to the iron ore unit trains being shipped over the Cedar City Subdivision, which come on to UP tracks at Iron Springs, nine miles to the west at MP 21. (Surface Transportation Board, Docket No. AB 33, Sub-No. 283X [Decision 43120]; Union Pacific Railroad Company--abandonment Exemption--in Iron County, Utah; Decision 43120, dated June 6, 2013; Decision 43169, dated July 5, 2013)
Union Pacific began construction of a new bridge, 180 feet in length, in its Great Salt Lake causeway. The purpose of the bridge is to open the causeway, to help balance the ecology and salinity of the north arm of the lake and the south arm of the lake. Currently, the north arm is essentially cut off from the south arm by the causeway, allowing higher salinity due to evaporation.
(Read more about the history of the Great Salt Lake causeway, as part of the Ogden Rails project)
The depot at Thompson, Utah (former D&RGW) was demolished during the week of February 16-19, 2016. (Adam Pinales, message to Rails Through the Wasatch group on Facebook group, February 24, 2016)
The UP yard at Burmester, Utah (former WP), was designated as Stauffer Yard. The new name was to honor Larry Stauffer, who worked on the Wendover local for 30 years. (Bradley Ogden, message to Utah Rail Enthusiasts group on Facebook, May 23, 2016 and October 6, 2016)
December 1, 2016
Union Pacific completed its breach of the Great Salt Lake causeway, opening a breach that was 180 feet wide. The new opening in the causeway replaced much smaller openings that had sunk along with the entire causeway itself over the years since it was opened in 1959, blocking the flow of water. The new opening had been ready to be put into service as early as October 2016, but Union Pacific had agreed to delay the planned breach while federal and state agencies, as well as public and private organizations investigated the restoration of water levels between the north arm and the south arm of the lake. When the opening was finally breached, the difference was 3.5 feet, and the two sides of the lake were expected to be equal within six months. The north arm was expected to raise a foot within a month of the breach. The flow of water through the breach was reported as being 4,700 cubic feet per second, compared the current flow of the Colorado River at 2,800 cubic feet per second. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 13, 2016)
Union Pacific demolished its yard office building at about 700 north in Salt Lake City. The demolition began on February 13th and continued for about a week. The building had been completed in June 1953.