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C. V. Spur Loadout

This page was last updated on April 15, 2016.

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What today is known as C.V. Spur was constructed in 1976-1977 by D&RGW for the benefit of a company using the name of Castle Valley Railway. Although the entire railroad was never completed, its intended route was from a connection with D&RGW at or near Price, Utah, then south along the Castle Valley to Utah Power & Light's Hunter power plant near Castle Dale, 34 miles south of Price. UP&L was putting the second unit of the power plant into commission, and needed the ability to receive coal by rail from locations in the region. The railroad was not completed, except for a short 2.4 mile spur to serve a site where coal from area coal mines would be transloaded from trucks to rail cars. Had the rail line to Hunter been completed, rail cars would then have moved the coal to the power plant.

The site was first known as Acco, and was built by Utah Power & Light as a coal loading site south of Price in the late 1970s. It was intended as a site to transload coal from trucks, from UP&L's coal mines in the area, to rail cars for shipment to other customers, including UP&L's own coal-fired power plants in other locations such as their Gadsby plant in Salt Lake City.

The Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining approved a permit for Utah Power & Light to use the original site in 1975. The permit was transferred to Swisher Coal Company in October 1977, expanded in April 1978, and transferred to Arco Coal Company in 1980 when Arco bought Swisher Coal.

In July 1977, Utah Power & Light lost its access to the Acco loading site, and received authorization from Utah Public Utilities Commission to ship single cars of coal to its Gadsby coal-fired power plant in Salt Lake City, from other locations in Utah. The newspaper account reported that UP&L was loading trucks at Acco for the trip to Gadsby. Three railroads, Union Pacific, Utah Railway, and Salt Lake Garfield & Western, were granted authority to establish single-car rates. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1977; Provo Daily Herald, July 4, 1977)

Utah Power & Light lost its right to use Acco as a loadout for its trucks after an out-of-court settlement of a law suit from an adjacent farm owner, who sued because of coal dust drifting across his fields. The new authorization was for single-car shipments of coal from Mohrland, on Utah Railway. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 2, 1977)

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Acco site became active on December 14, 1977.

Acco, Utah, was the terminal for a pair of trains operated by D&RGW in the fall of 1981. This pair of unit coal trains, known as trains 766/767, operated by way of D&RGW between Island Creek's loadout at Acco to Provo, then by Union Pacific to Nevada Power's coal-fired power plant at Moapa, Nevada.

Adjacent to the Acco site, and adjoining to the south, is the site of Swisher Coal Company's coal preparation and unit train loadout.

The second site at C. V. Spur was first developed in September 1979 by Swisher Coal Company as a coal preparation plant and unit train loading facility for coal shipped by truck from its various mines in Carbon and Emery counties. The facility was designed and built by McNally Pittsburg Manufacturing Company with the reported capacity of 400 tons per hour, with a planned capacity of loading one million tons per year (500,000 tons were planned during 1979).

In July 1978, General Exploration Company had announced that its subsidiary, Swisher Coal Company, would build a new preparation plant and a unit-train loading facility, and will add a third mine (two are already operating) in order to produce 1.5 million tons per year of coal. (Coal Age, Volume 83, Number 7, July 1978, page 152)

September 7, 1982
"Rio Grande Industries said it had agreed in principle to a $70 million venture with the Du Pont Company's Consolidation Coal Company to build and operate a 62-mile railroad between Acco and Emery, Utah. Construction is to start early next year, and the intention is to complete the line by the end of 1984 to help Consolidation and others to develop coal reserves." (New York Times, September 8, 1982)

August 6, 1984
The site was sold to Beaver Creek Coal Company, a subsidiary of Arco Coal Company. Arco Coal (formerly Anaconda Minerals, as a subsidiary of Atlantic Richfield Company) had purchased Swisher Coal Company in January 1980, but retained the Swisher name until 1984.

September 1984
D&RGW and Consolidation Coal Co. (Consol) announced that the plan to build a 62 mile line from Acco, Utah, to Consol's coal holdings at Emery, Utah, had been suspended due to low coal prices. No grading or construction was completed. (Pacific Rail News, Issue 252, published in October 1984, page 32)

(In 1985, Anaconda sold the last of its copper and molybdenum operations and became solely a coal mining company. Beaver Creek Coal Co,. was shown as its only operation in Utah. -- Coal Age, Volume 90, Number 6, June 1985, page 24)

When Intermountain Power Agency began construction of their Intermountain Power Project coal-fired electrical generation plant near Delta, Utah, they also began arranging for a steady supply of coal that could be used by the plant, about 12,000 tons per day. Several contracts were signed with coal mining companies to ensure a continuing supply of coal, which was to be transported by unit coal trains from points on D&RGW and Utah Railway, over Soldier Summit to Provo, then south by Union Pacific to the IPP plant near Delta. (Read more about IPP)

Three large coal loadouts were constructed to serve these IPP unit coal trains. First was the already existing C. V. Spur, south of Price. The second was a new flood loader on Utah Railway for the Star Point mine (formerly the Wattis mine), which went into service in January 1986. The third site was a new flood loader at Wildcat, also on Utah Railway. (Read more about Wildcat) (Read more about the Star Point mine)

September 5, 1991
Beaver Creek Coal Company changed its name to Mountain Coal Company, retaining ownership of the C. V. Spur Coal Processing and Loadout Facility.

September 9, 1994
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Savage Industries purchased the site on September 9, 1994. The permit from Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining was transferred on July 6, 1995.

The following comes from the Savage Industries web site: "One of our coal terminals, located in central Utah, receives and stockpiles coal from multiple mines and loads it into unit trains and trucks. Our teams manage our customers' inventories, provide blending and other services, and coordinate their rail logistics. This site handles more than 5 million tons of coal and ships more than 500 unit trains per year." (Savage Industries, Terminal Operations; accessed November 19, 2013)

During 2006, Canyon Fuel Company, LLC, a subsidiary of Arch Western Bituminous Group, LLC, constructed a new coal preparation plant at the Savage Coal Terminal in Wellington, Utah. The new plant uses the same structure that once housed the old ARCO Coal plant. The plant uses a heavy media process and has a cleaning capacity of 2 million tons per year. Canyon Fuel plans to operate the plant to optimize coal quality specifications. The plant will enable Canyon Fuel, through its sales agent Arch Coal Sales Company, to offer a premium product with consistent ash and heating values. Processed coal tonnage numbers are unavailable for 2008. (Utah Geological Survey, 2008 Annual Review and Forecast of Utah Coal Production and Distribution, page 18)

In August 2013, Savage was approved by state regulators to add the capability to transload crude oil from truck tankers into rail tank cars. In January 2014, the name of the facility was changed from "Savage Coal Terminal" to "Savage Energy Terminal." (Savage news release dated January 7, 2014)

More Information

Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit C0070022, Savage Coal Terminal

Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit Files -- Documents going back to September 20, 1979, when DOGM assumed jurisdiction over the site. (Most of the data presented concerns environmental and wildlife issues, but there is a limited amount of history presented as well.)