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Union Pacific Provo Subdivision

Index For This Page

This page was last updated on July 8, 2018.

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Provo Subdivision

Union Pacific tracks from 900 South in Salt Lake City, south to the crossing (later junction) at Lakota, near Orem.

UP's Provo Subdivision was the original Utah Southern line built by Brigham Young in 1871-1881, Salt Lake City to Milford. Utah Southern later became Utah Central, then Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern, then Oregon Short Line, then Union Pacific.

(Read more about the building of the Utah Southern, 1871-1879 and 1879-1881)

Until 1977, the miles posts from Salt Lake City south to Sandy were numbered for Oregon Short Line from Ogden. In 1977, the mile posts between Sandy and Salt Lake City were renumbered from Los Angeles. Sandy was the dividing line between OSL and LA&SL in the 1903 sales agreement.

(Read more about the 1903 sale, OSL to SPLA&SL)

By 1980, and after 1978, the yard limits along the Provo Subdivision extended south from Salt Lake City to Sandy, and north from Provo to American Fork. This change allowed yard crews and engines to travel along the main line to directly serve rail customers along these two portions of the subdivision.

October 1985
UP and D&RGW exchanged trackage rights. UP began using D&RGW's main line between Salt Lake City and Orem, and D&RGW began using UP's main line between North Salt Lake and Ogden. After the change, the only UP traffic over UP's Provo Subdivision over Point of the Mountain was the daily Provo Local that provided rail service to customers along the line. Through trains used D&RGW's line. There were several occasions that, due to track maintenance or other reasons, a UP train was diverted from the parallel D&RGW line to its own line over Point of the Mountain. Reports indicate that the last UP train used the tracks in 1991 or 1992. UP's Sandy Local continued to serve customers as far south as Draper until the sale to UTA in 1993.

North of Mount

March 1993
Union Pacific sold its tracks between Salt Lake City and Mount to Utah Transit Authority. The tracks extend south from Salt Lake City to the line between Salt Lake County and Utah County, at a passing siding that UP called Mount. Freight service was provided by Salt Lake City Southern, a new shortline company that leased the tracks from UTA. Salt Lake City Southern seldom went south of Draper.

UTA bought the right-of-way, the track structure, and existing buildings for future passenger train operation, but not as a common carrier, to avoid ICC jurisdiction and common carrier labor requirements. Union Pacific retained a permanent easement for freight train operations, and common carrier status. At the same time as the sale to UTA, UP sold its freight easement to Salt Lake City Southern Railroad, a subsidiary of RailTex, Inc. Salt Lake City Southern would become a Class III common carrier under ICC requirements. (ICC Finance Docket 32186, decided December 31, 1992; ICC Finance Docket 32276, decided April 19, 1993)

March 31, 1993
Union Pacific sold a portion of its right-of-way between Salt Lake City and Provo to the Utah Transit Authority as part of its planned operation of light rail along the Wasatch Front. The actual trackage and railroad right-of-way involved includes the former Union Pacific route from 900 South in Salt Lake City south to the county line between Salt Lake County and Utah County. UTA also purchased the rights to first refusal on the UP line from the county line south to Lindon, Utah, in Utah County. Also included in the sale to UTA was the Dahl Spur, which runs west from the former UP tracks, under the Southern Pacific (former D&RGW) tracks and Interstate 15, to the west side of Midvale, at the former location of the abandoned smelter of the United States Smelting, Refining & Mining Company, later known as Sharon Steel Company. UTA acquired this trackage because of the existing access under the Interstate, saving them from having to fund such an underpass in the future. There was also some existing rail business at the end of the spur. To ensure continuous and seamless freight service to those customers, UTA negotiated an operating lease for its new rail property with RailTex Corporation, an operator of small, shortline railroads nationwide. The RailTex operating lease went into effect concurrent with the March 31, 1993 sale of the UP line to UTA. (Telephone conversation with Bruce Barnes at Utah Transit Authority, August 1994.)

(Read more about RailTex and Salt Lake City Southern)

April 1997
UTA began construction of its TRAX light rail line from Salt Lake City to Sandy.

September 1999
Utah Railway's parent company, Genesee & Wyoming, bought RailTex's Salt Lake City Southern Railroad, and continues to operate the railroad as an affiliate of Utah Railway, providing freight service along the UTA-owned tracks.

December 1999
The first UTA TRAX light rail trains began running Salt Lake City to Sandy in December 1999.

January 2011
The TRAX line to Sandy was extended the line to Draper. Construction started in January 2011.

August 2013
The first UTA TRAX light rail trains began running to Draper in August 2013.

In late June 2018, UTA began removing the track structure (rails and ties and hardware) along the route between Draper and Mount. There have been proposals to further extend the UTA TRAX light rail line over the summit to Utah's "Silicon Slopes" (the north end of Utah Valley) but regardless of the outcome, the existing tracks need to be be removed.

South of Mount

December 1995
On the line south of the UTA-owned portion to Mount, UP used the tracks south of Mount to store out-of-service intermodal well cars.

UP continued to serve customers as far north as Cutler as late as October 2002, including the General Refractories brick plant at Cutler. There were reports that the brick plant converted to all-truck shipments in 1998, but rail shipments continued after that. Service came north from Provo, with Cutler being the north end of the line.

These customers included the steel fabrication businesses in Lindon (known as Hardy on UP), north of U. S. Steel at Geneva. In 1963 the owners of Mountain States Steel opened Western Warehouse as an affiliated company, with a site on the north edge of the Mountain States Steel property in Lindon. Western Warehouse blended granulated ammonia nitrate from the Anhydrous Ammonia Division of U. S. Steel at Geneva, with phosphate from Western Phosphate at Garfield. The finished fertilizers were bagged and/or shipped in bulk to customers all across the West under the U. S. Steel Nitrogen Fertilizers brand name. This was during the 1960s and 1970s. This meant lots of boxcars and covered hoppers being shipped over UP.

May 2002
Union Pacific sold to UTA, the remainder of its Provo Subdivision between Mount and a siding called Hardy (Lindon), a distance of 14.6 miles. Hardy is located about 1.25 miles south of Pleasant Grove, at approximately 300 South in Lindon. "UTA states that it is acquiring the Lines for possible passenger rail operations, and does not intend to conduct freight rail operations on them. Pursuant to the quitclaim deed submitted by UTA, UP will retain an exclusive, perpetual easement on the Lines to conduct freight rail operations. UTA and UP will enter into a trackage rights agreement that sets forth the terms and conditions that will govern their respective rail operations." (STB Finance Docket No. 34170, service date May 22, 2002)

The specific wording of the STB decision, "(2) the Provo Industrial Lead, between approximately milepost P-775.23 in Point of Mountain and approximately milepost P-762.00 in Hardy," indicates that UP retained ownership and rights to the tracks north from Provo, to the group of spurs and industrial tracks along Geneva Road in Lindon. There are several rail customers along this stretch of track between 300 North and 300 South in Lindon, and the Hardy name is used as a generic location for all of the spurs in the vicinity.

December 2002

As a condition of the UP-SP merger in 1996, BNSF is allowed trackage rights to provide competitive service to customers along the Provo Industrial Lead, with Utah Railway providing the crews and locomotives under contract to BNSF.

As of July 2018, UP continues to serve rail customers as far north as Rhinehart Oil in American Fork. There are reports that trains travel as far north as Lehi to serve the Lehi Roller Mills, and also to use the Lehi siding to place the locomotive on the other end of a train.

What UP called its "Western Warehouse" spur (P-761.5), is today's Schuff Steel, originally Mountain States Steel. The Western Warehouse building is still there, sitting parallel to 200 South, on the north edge of the Schuff Steel property. The Western Warehouse spur, which was removed from UP's timetables in 1980. The spur serving Schuff Steel today also serves Sunroc Building Materials.

The location of the Hardy Beet Spur (P-761-8; today known as Hardy), is about 1500 feet to the north. The spur is still there, crossing Geneva Road, then crossing Center Street.

Hardy is the separation point between UP-owned and UTA-owned. With all the steel fabrication business, one can understand why UP kept it under its wings.

Station Listing

Station 1975
Mile Post
1985
Mile Post
North Yard 35.3  
Grant Tower 36.0 P800.2
Officer (67 cars) (9th South) 38.9 P797.4
D. & R. G. W. Crossing (14th South) 38.4  
D. & R. G. W. Crossing 39.7  
Burton (15 cars) (21st South) 39.5 P796.8
Huslers (69 cars) (Mill Creek) 41.0 P795.6
Murray (37 cars) 43.6 P793.0
Pallas (28 cars) 44.2 P791.7
Atwood (13 cars) (Midvale Branch)
(East, changed to West)
45.9 P795.5
Sandy (89 cars) 48.9 P787.0
Draper (36 cars) (East) 782.9 P782.6
Rideout (5 cars) (East) 778.0  
Mount (63 cars) 775.5 P775.8
Cutler (63 cars) 771.0 P771.1
Lehi (day operator) 769.5 P769.3
American Fork (40 cars) 766.5 P766.4
Pleasant Grove 763.5 P763.0
Hardy Beet Spur (25 cars) (West) 761.8 P761.8
Western Warehouse Spur (28 cars) (West) 761.5  
Pipemill 761.3 P760.9
Bonnie  (4 cars) (West) 760.3 P760.3
Bunker Spur (14 cars) (West) 759.9 P759.9
Clyde (12 cars) (West) 759.4 P759.4
Geneva (day operator) 758.0 P757.9
D. & R. G. W. Crossing
(D&RGW Connection after 1985)
757.3  
Lakota Junction   P757.2
Gatex (East) 756.1 P756.1
Provo 752.7 P752.0

Map

UP Provo Subdivision, North -- Google map of Union Pacific's Provo Subdivision, Salt Lake City to Orem. Includes overlay layers for portions sold to Utah Transit Authority in 1993 and 2002.

Sharp Subdivision

Union Pacific tracks from Provo, south to Lynndyl, connecting with Salt Lake City - Los Angeles main line.

UP's Provo Subdivision was the original Utah Southern line built by Brigham Young in 1871-1881, Salt Lake City to Milford. Utah Southern later became Utah Central, then Oregon Short Line & Utah Northern, then Oregon Short Line, then Union Pacific.

(Read more about the building of the Utah Southern, 1871-1879 and 1879-1881)

Coal Loadout at Sharp

The coal loading site at Sharp (mile post P700.6) was reinstated in 1975-1976, after the Sufco coal mine in Salina canyon was purchased by Coastal States Energy Company in 1973. The coal from the Sufco mine is trucked 78 miles to the Sharp loadout of the Union Pacific Provo Subdivision (Sharp Subdivision after 1998).

Construction of the coal loadout at Sharp was started in February 1976, and was completed at a reported cost of $5 million. The initial loading process used just a front-end loader, which was housed in a small building on-site. (Provo Daily Herald, February 29, 1976; The Daily Spectrum, St. George, May 3, 1981)

A different earlier Sharp siding had been active at mile post 703.6, until mid 1950. The old location remained as a single-ended 13-car setout track until October 1958. (As a side note, the siding at York, mile post 728.0, was retired in mid 1950 at the same time as Sharp. York was the location where the end-of-track of the original Utah Southern had remained for four years between its time as a Mormon road, and its new life under direct UP control.)

The coal loadout at Sharp has a current capacity of 14,000 tons located on top of ten 1,000-ton-per-hour vibrating feeders, which in-turn place the coal on a belt to a 200-ton surge bin, where it is gravity-fed into trains. The loadout is equipped with an in-motion automatic scale, and has a loading capacity of 4,000 tons per hour. Maximum of 115 cars per train.

During 2015, between 1 million and 2 million tons were loaded at Sharp.

By Products at Mills

In 2004, John Kuhni Sons Inc., moved from Provo to its current site at the Mills spur on Union Pacific. The move was funded in part by a $2 million grant from Provo City, to move the plant from its previous site in Provo's east bay district. John Kuhni started the company in Provo in 1937. The facility processes over 1,000 tons of animal carcasses and butcher scraps daily. In addition, restaurant grease and yellow grease collected throughout the state is also processed. The facility is Utah's only dead animal rendering plant. All raw material collected is then cooked and crushed into meat and bone meal used in animal feeds, as well as tallow for makeup and other products. During 2010, there were numerous problems with waste water treatment, but the company, working with state and county officials, appears to have corrected the problems.

Cement Quarry at Martmar

Beginning in 1967, as much as 25,000 tons of cement rock was coming from the limestone quarry in the Sevier River canyon. the rock was trucked to Leamington for loading into Union Pacific cars, for shipment to Utah-Idaho Sugar sugar factories. The current cement plant at Martmar was opened in 1980 by Martin Marietta Cement, a subsidiary of Martin Marietta Corp. In 1989, Ash Grove Cement purchased plant.

(Read more about the cement plant at Martmar)

Station Listing

Station 1975
Mile Post
1985
Mile Post
Provo 752.7 P752.0
Ironton Spur (1.2 miles) (East) 751.1  
Springville (23 cars; telephone) 748.0  
Spanish Fork (25 cars; telephone) 744.4 P744.4
Benjamin (20 cars) 741.6  
Payson (95 cars; telephone) 736.8 P736.3
Starr (108 cars; telephone) 722.0 P722.2
Nephi (108 cars; day operator) 710.8 P711.5
Sharp   P700.6
Juab (108 cars; telephone) 696.3 P696.0
Mills (15 cars; telephone) 689.3  
Parley (108 cars; telephone) 681.1 P680.7
Uisco (9 cars; telephone) (East) 676.3  
Martmar   P676.1
Lynndyl 665.9 P665.7

Map

UP Provo Subdivision, South -- Google map of Union Pacific's Provo Subdivision, Lakota (Orem) to Lynndyl.

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