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Union Pacific Fillmore Branch

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This page was last updated on May 31, 2019.

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Overview

The Fillmore Branch was built by LA&SL in 1922. It was 32 miles long, from Delta to Fillmore. The construction had been approved by the ICC on July 1, 1922, in their Finance Docket 2360.

When completed, at a reported cost of $701,188, the Fillmore Branch opened up some 90,000 acres of farm lands in the Pahvant Valley and an estimated 100 square miles of white pine timber in the adjacent Pahvant Range. A triweekly mixed train service was established between Delta and Fillmore on January 16, 1923.

LA&SL at Delta

Timeline

June 1922
"In June 1922 construction was started of a single track line from Delta to extend southeasterly 32.24 miles to Fillmore, Utah. This extension is to serve a territory heretofore without railroad facilities containing approximately 150,000 acres of irrigable and 35,000 acres of dry-farming agricultural land now being extensively developed by the Sevier River Land and Water Company and other interests. The new line will result in increased production of sugar beets, grain and dairy produces." (Union Pacific 1922 Annual Report, research completed by James Ehernberger)

LA&SL to construct Fillmore Branch, approved July 1, 1922. (ICC Finance Docket 2360; 72 ICC 147)

January 15, 1923
"On January 15, 1923, new line officially opened between Delta and Fillmore, Utah." (Union Pacific 1923 Annual Report, research completed by James Ehernberger)

January 16, 1923
A special train from Salt Lake City arrived at Fillmore at 7 a.m. on January 16, 1923. No special ceremony was planned due to the weather, with a dedication ceremony planned for the following April. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 16, 1923)

January 19, 1923
"Delta-Fillmore Line Opened -- The first passenger train over the Delta-Fillmore branch left Lynndyl at 6 o'clock and pulled out of Delta at 8 o'clock this morning, well filled with passengers to take the first wide over this branch line. The train was pulled by Engineer Parkinson, Fireman Roberts and Conductor Ed. Marksheffel, and in charge of Superintendent W. H. Smith, Trainmaster G. W. Hamilton, Superintendent of Maintenance of Way Fran Strong and General Roadmaster Andrew S. Benson. The train was met at Fillmore by about 1000 people, and a short celebration held after an address of welcome by Maurice Lambert, mayor of Fillmore, to which Judge Joshua Greenwood of the utilities commission and Superintendent W. H. Smith replied for the railroad." (Beaver County News, January 19, 1923)

Between the spring of 1923, when the branch was opened to traffic, and June 1929 passenger service on the branch was provided with a locomotive and passenger cars.

June 10, 1929
To reduce costs, the railroad began using a gasoline motor car on the Fillmore Branch.

March 1930
Nine months later, in late March 1930, the Public Service Commission of Utah granted the railroad's request to discontinue all passenger train service between Delta and Fillmore, and replace it with auto bus service. During the time of motor car operation, between November 1929 and February 1930, the motor car had been operating mostly empty, and never with more than two passengers. The approval was in effect after April 3. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1160)

March 1932
Utah Public Utilities Commission approved the transfer of operation of the Delta-to-Fillmore auto bus service to a private contractor, Mr. Moyle Sargent. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 1268)

August 25, 1942
LA&SL (and UP as lessee) applied to the federal Interstate Commerce Commission to abandon the Fillmore Branch. Hearings were held in Salt Lake City at Hotel Utah on August 25, 1942, with numerous protests filed and recorded. in 1942. The request was dismissed without prejudice on September 11, 1942. (ICC Finance Docket 13771; decision not reported in ICC reports; information from Utah State Archives)

Abandonment

June 11, 1984
Union Pacific (LA&SL) received ICC approval to abandon the Fillmore Branch from Delta (Mile Post 0.5) to Fillmore (Mile Post 32.26).

After several bridges and culverts were damaged by the floods of Spring 1983, abandonment papers were filed in November 1983. The ICC approved the abandonment in June 1984, and all but the first eight miles were torn up within just a few months.

UP Fillmore (Utah) branch approved for abandonment June 1984. 32 miles long; Delta to Fillmore, Utah. Trackwork sold to Gammel and Ollendick, scrapper. (Pacific News, August 1985, page 22)

The depot building was sold to a local contractor, and moved off of, but adjacent to railroad property. During the move, the building was swapped end-for-end. The depot building was sold to the contractor who was selling lava rock and shipping it by rail, until the branch was abandoned. By the late 1980s, the contractor was still selling rock products, but it was all moving by truck.

Map

UP/LA&SL Fillmore Branch - A Google Map of the Fillmore Branch. Delta to Fillmore, 32 miles, built in 1923.

Documents

The request to abandon the Fillmore Branch in 1942 was denied. The ICC did not publish its decision for Finance Docket 13771 in either its "Printed Reports," or as one of the "Cases Not Printed" at the back of its printed reports.

Below are PDF versions of some of the documents furnished as a courtesy by the ICC to the State of Utah, and which are in the Utah State Archives.

Sources

Compiled from handwritten notes, dating from 1978-1988, with recent updates from other material.

Most of the original information here was transcribed from handwritten notes taken while doing research in the files of UP's engineering department during 1982-1983, then compiled as a computer file in 1988, with additions through September 1994. Other updates and additions made after creation of web page in 2015.

The notes from the early 1980s were completed prior to the closure of UP's engineering office in Salt Lake City in about 1984. All files and most personnel were moved to Omaha in 1983-1984. The office was located in the Utah Division offices in the former depot annex building, just south of Union Pacific's Salt Lake City depot. The building was demolished in 1999 to make room for The Gateway Project.

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