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Kenilworth Coal Mines and Railroads

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The original Aberdeen mine (near the later Bull Hollow mine) was opened in about 1888 as a wagon mine furnishing coal to the local market. The mine was notable in that the seam was so thick that wagons were able to drive directly into the mine and be loaded from the twenty foot thick seam, the roof of which couldn't be reached by standing on the seat of the wagons. The mine consisted several rooms, the largest of which was over two hundred feet long. (Independent: 1918, p. 6)

During early spring 1904, Heber J. Stowell, a resident of Spring Glen discovered veins of coal showing on the surface while exploring the region. He took a sample into Price and showed it to William H. Lawley. The next year, Lawley and Stowell began prospecting as time and money allowed. James Wade of Price and Fred Sweet of Salt Lake City became interested and financed increased development of the potential mine. (Madsen, p. 43)

The first development work was done in Bull Hollow, northeast of the site of Kenilworth. This coal seam proved to be a difficult to develop due to the seam at that location having been burned for several hundred feet into the mountain. Much of the coal that could be easily mined had been reduced to clinkers. Mr. Lawley discovered another seam, unburned, showing high on the cliff side, around the mountain west from the Bull Hollow site, 750 feet above and north of the later site of the town of Kenilworth. It was here that the first opening was developed. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 5)

(Question: Did the original Aberdeen wagon mine catch fire and burn unchecked for a period of time? Look into newspapers in the 1890s. Heber Stowell may have merely filed a claim on the burned mine and later discovered the upper access to the same seam.)

In October 1905, the local newspaper ran an item saying that the property first owned by Wade, Sweet and Lawley was "likely to open soon." (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, October 12, 1905, p. 5, "Opening Of Coal Mines Above Price")

In February 1906 there were sixteen men working in the mine, which was known as the Wade-Lawley prospect. (Zehnder, p. 15)

"...destruction of the railroad monopoly held by the Denver & Rio Grande Western and its subsidiaries. As soon as the federal courts broke the monopoly in 1907, the number of miles of track in Carbon County began to grow. Their expansion continued with only temporary increases until the late 1940s." (O'Neil: Carbon County, pp. 30,33) (see also Powell, Next Time We Strike, p. 22)

(Research: Find out about the grand jury and the court case concerning coal land fraud by Utah Fuel Company, circa 1907-1909.)

The D. J. Sharp Coal Company had fourteen miners working an adjoining property. (Zehnder, p. 15)

David J. Sharp sold coal property adjoining the Independent property to United States Smelting Company in April 1908. A tramway was to be built and the mines producing by June 1908. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, April 23, 1908, p. 1)

In December 1906 the Price Trading Company had bought the Aberdeen mine. In early January 1907 the Eastern Utah Advocate ran a story saying that the price of coal would remain at $3 per ton, delivered. (Zehnder, p. 15)

The Aberdeen property consisted of a tunnel 200 feet in length through which wagons were driven and loaded in a big chamber during the previous fifteen years whenever the citizens of price needed a load of coal. (Zehnder, p. 15, from Deseret News, December 29, 1906)

In late 1906 a group of independent businessmen began to develop the coal reserves in the region east of Helper near what is now Kenilworth. A coal company, appropriately called Independent Coal & Coke Company, was organized by L. H. Curtis, F. A. Sweet, W. C. Orem, C. N. Strevell, and James H. Patterson, all of Salt Lake City, and A. J. Orem of Boston. The organizers chose the Independent name because of the new company's independence from any large corporate or railroad interests. The new coal company was incorporated on October 13, 1906 in Wyoming to develop coal property north of Price. (Utah corporation, index number 6054; Wyoming 429)

(The Orems later organized the Castle Valley Coal Company.)

Independent Coal & Coke Company took over the Aberdeen mine formerly worked by Wade and Lawley in late December 1906. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, December 27, 1906, p. 3, "Aberdeen Mine Now Sold")

Grading for a railroad line from the mine in Bull Hollow to a point on the D&RG about a mile east of Helper was begun in late December 1906. (Zehnder, p. 15)

The town and mine were named Kenilworth, from the supposed similarity of the three peaks surrounding the coal camp with the famous 12th Century castle in Kenilworth, Warwickshire in central England. (Madsen, p. 43, wrongly locates the castle in Scotland.) Kenilworth Castle, which after Cromwell's 1648 attacks was mostly ruins, was romanticized by Sir Walter Scott in his 1821 novel, "Kenilworth". (Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, 1987; The American Peoples Encyclopedia, 1954)

(The choice of this English name, along with the name Aberdeen (a coastal port, and third largest city in Scotland) for the company's coal trade name illustrates the English ancestry of many of the Carbon County's coal mine owners, developers and engineers, and other early residents, who were mostly Mormon converts from the British Isles. The ethnic and cultural diversity of Mediterranean and south European immigrants that came to the area in the post-1900 era was a result of the efforts of labor agents to furnish inexpensive labor for the coal mine and railroad construction.)

The Aberdeen mine was leased to C. N. Sweet by the Independent company. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, November 14, 1907, p. 1)

Sweet produced fifty carloads during mid November 1907. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, November 21, 1907, p. 5)

Coal from the Aberdeen Mine of Independent Coal & Coke Company was being shipped to Price by wagon. (Salt Lake Mining Review, November 30, 1907, p. 39)

Once work began in developing the original twenty-two foot thick Aberdeen seam, a second seam was reached, directly above. This middle, or Royal Blue seam, averaged six to ten feet thick and was mined through an opening from the Aberdeen slope, sixty feet below. A third seam, called the Kenilworth, was discovered directly above the Royal Blue seam. This seam averaged sixteen to eighteen feet in thickness and was also mined from an opening inside the mine, from the Aberdeen seam. The general slope of all three seams was at nine degrees down towards the northeast, so that a level tunnel cut into the lowest Aberdeen seam eventually crossed through all three seams. The downward slope of nine degrees, or sixteen percent, would eventually work against the company in later transportation costs. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 5)

On August 10, 1907 Independent Coal & Coke shipped its first coal, over its new railroad using a leased Rio Grande Western locomotive. Their first Shay locomotive had not yet arrived. (Eastern Utah Advocate, August 15, 1907)

Independent's new locomotive, a Shay with road number 100, arrived in early September 1907, having left the Lima Locomotive Works factory in Lima, Ohio on August 24, 1907. (Koch, builder's record)

(Independent Coal & Coke began production in 1907. Prior to the beginning of mining operations, the mining company had built their own railroad between their mines at Kenilworth and the Rio Grande Western at Spring Glen. The line was over three miles long and the grades were so steep, and the curves so sharp that they needed an special locomotive called a Shay to operate it.)

By March 1908 the Kenilworth mine was producing about 300 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 12, 1908, p. 3)

By September 1908, the mine was shipping 600 tons per day and could not keep up with the demand. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 24, 1908, p. 3)

The second Shay locomotive had left "the East and would soon be in commission out of Helper hauling coal down for the Independent company." The mine was producing an average of 10 cars per day. (Eastern Utah Advocate, December 31, 1908, page 5, "Of A More Or Less Personal Nature")

Production at Kenilworth had increased by February 1909 to 700 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, February 4, 1909, p. 1)

During early 1909 the Kenilworth & Helper's Shay locomotive was used to haul water to the mining camp at night, and haul coal down to Kenilworth Junction at Spring Glen during the day. A second Shay locomotive had been ordered. (Eastern Utah Advocate, February 4, 1909, p. 1)

On February 6, 1909, Kenilworth & Helper received a new Shay locomotive, "The new Shay engine arrived last Saturday, as the production of the the mine is becoming so great that one could not handle all the traffic." (Carbon County News, February 13, 1909) Mr. William Griffin, representative of Lima Locomotive Works, builder of the new Shay locomotive, accompanied the new locomotive and returned to Lima on Thursday, February 18. (Carbon County News, February 20, 1909)

Kenilworth & Helper's second Shay locomotive, number 101, arrived in early February 1909, after having been completed by the Lima factory on January 21, 1909. The arrival of the second Shay gave the coal company two 70-ton locomotives to move its coal to the D&RG connection. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 14)

During 1910 the coal company purchased water rights to fulfill its needs. This water came from the Spring Glen Canal Company, from the Price River. Additional water was pumped from the river itself. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 16)

The holdings of the Independent Coal & Coke Company consisted of 3,200 acres of land, which included the townsite of Kenilworth, the railroad right of way for its own railroad (later the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad), the railroad terminal yard at Kenilworth Junction (later Spring Glen), and the coking plant situated between Kenilworth Junction and Helper. The coal mined at Kenilworth came from three different veins, or measures. The lower was the Aberdeen measure, at twenty-two feet the thickest of the three. The middle measure, the Royal Blue, was the thinnest, at eight to ten feet thick, and the upper most measure, the Kenilworth, was eighteen to twenty feet thick. All three dipped at about nine degrees down. The main workings were in the Aberdeen measure, which produced about 1,600 to 1,800 tons per day in 1910. The Royal Blue was producing about 250 tons per day, and the Kenilworth measure was not being worked at all. The output of the Kenilworth mine, from the Aberdeen measure, was conveyed to the wooden frame rail car loading tipple by way of a gravity tramway. From the mine to the turning point, called "The Knuckle", the tramway was called "The Shelf Line" and was single track, 1,300 feet long and at a ten percent grade down from the mine. It was operated by a Hendrie & Bolthoff hoist, situated at the mine opening, which lowered loaded cars down to The Knuckle. The gravity tramway from The Knuckle down to the loading tipple was double-tracked, 2,000 feet in length and had a grade of thirty-nine percent for two-thirds of its length, and twenty-seven percent for the remaining one-third to the tipple. The descent of the skips of seven or eight loaded cars down the gravity tramway was controlled by a Dillion & Box gravity drum hoist, and as the loaded cars are lowered, their descent returned empties to be reloaded in the mine. Each of the cars held about three to three and a half tons, so that each descending skip of loaded cars brought between twenty-one and twenty-eight tons of coal down to the loading tipple. At the tipple the coal from the loaded mine cars was weighed, sized and graded, and dumped directly into waiting railroad cars. In 1910, the major portion of the coal from the Kenilworth mine was sold to customers in Utah, Idaho, Nevada, California, and portions of Montana. Its customers included smelters, factories, railroads, and dealers who furnished the home heating market. (Higgins: Independent, p. 17)

The original tipple of the Independent company was wooden frame in construction, being made up of Oregon fir. The tipple was manufactured by the C. S. Card Company of Denver, and included Jeffery-type shaking screens for grading of the coal. (Higgins: Independent, p. 18)

In June 1910 Independent Coal & Coke Company purchased the Citizens Coal Company in Salt Lake City to give it a retail outlet for the Kenilworth coal. (Salt Lake Mining Review, June 30, 1910, p. 34) The Citizens Coal Company was incorporated on January 28, 1898. (Utah corporation, index number 2166)

In August 1910, a depot was built at Spring Glen by the Independent company for use by the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 30, 1910, p. 38)

By September 1910, Kenilworth's production had reached 1,500 tons per day. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, September 8, 1910, p. 2)

During 1910, the railroad was operated using two 72-ton Shay locomotives. (Higgins: Independent, p. 19)

On June 20, 1911 the Independent Coal & Coke received a new, third Shay locomotive. (Eastern Utah Advocate, June 22, 1911)

The formal completion date for this locomotive, with road number 150, was on May 31, 1911. (Koch, builder's record)

On July 15, 1911 the Kenilworth & Helper Railway was incorporated, in Wyoming, by the owners of Independent Coal & Coke Company. On July 19th the railroad company purchased and commenced operation of the coal company's railroad property, which they had built in 1907. (26 ICC 860)

In 1911 the Independent Coal & Coke Company incorporated the Kenilworth & Helper to operate their already constructed rail line, which remained in operation until it was replaced by the D&RGW's Kenilworth Branch in 1926. (105 ICC 720)

The Kenilworth & Helper Railroad was incorporated in Wyoming and was 100 percent owned by Independent Coal & Coke Company. The railroad was leased for operation for a ten year period to D&RG on December 1, 1914. Shay locomotives were used on a separate tramway by the coal company to bring coal down to the No. 1 tipple. Shay locomotives of the Kenilworth & Helper had a capacity of twelve cars over the line's 6-1/2 percent grades. Seven empties could be brought up from the D&RG connection at Spring Glen. Twelve to fifteen loaded cars could be taken down from the mine to the D&RG connection. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 868)

Kenilworth produced a record 2,339 tons of coal on one day in March 1913. (Coal Index: Eastern Utah Advocate, March 6, 1913, p. 13)

During mid 1913, Independent Coal & Coke began work on a new steel tipple, and conversion from steam operation to electric operation. (Salt Lake Mining Review, May 15, 1913, p. 35)

Steam was used to power the tipple shaker screens, the box car loaders, the machine shop, and the pumps which supplied the mine and the town with water. (Independent: 1918, p. 16)

The 1913 conversion brought two boilers from the Aberdeen opening to a new, enlarged power house at the tipple. The six steam boilers in the new powerhouse were used to generate electricity by the use of steam turbines. The various steam hoists in the mine, including the hoists on the Shelf tramway, were all replaced by electric models. The conversion from steam to electric power was completed during 1913. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 18)

A fourth Shay locomotive was completed on September 20, 1913. Its road number was 151. (Koch, builder's information)

During August 1914, the Independent company had contracted with Utah Construction Company to complete two large fills on its Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (Salt Lake Mining Review, August 15, 1914, p. 28)

A new steel tipple, designed by Link Belt Company, was under construction during August 1914, had a stated capacity of 3,000 tons per day, and included a semi-automated Link Belt car dumper. (Lewis, p. 22)

The new steel tipple at Kenilworth was completed by October 1914. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 30, 1914, p. 21)

The new steel tipple built in 1914 allowed the grading of the mined coal into four, rather than three sizes. The slack could now be separated and sold, and the dust still used in the company's steam boilers. The slack and dust coal were conveyed to a rescreening plant where the slack was separated from the dust. Both screened slack and dust were stored in separate sixty-ton bins with bottom gates that allowed their contents to be dropped into railroad cars. The dust bin was provided with a conveyor to move the dust coal to the boiler house for use as fuel in the company's boilers. The lump coal was loaded into railroad box cars by the use of two Ottumwa box car loaders, one a standard Ottumwa steam driven pusher type, and the other an example of the new Ottumwa-Ecks conveyor style. The stove, egg, and nut coals were loaded into both box cars and open top rail cars. (Independent: 1918, pp. 16,17,34,35)

The Kenilworth & Helper expanded its horizons in March 1915 when it filed an amendment to its articles of incorporation that would allow it to build from Helper to Salt Lake City, and from Kenilworth northeasterly through the "Vernal country" to a connection with a railroad from Colorado, presumably the Moffat Road. The roster of officials and directors of the railroad were identical to that of the Independent Coal & Coke Company, and included C. V. Strevell, Salt Lake, president and general manager; James H. Patterson, Salt Lake, vice president and treasurer; F. A. Druehl, Salt Lake, secretary; Walter Parker, Peoria, Illinois; Charles W. Buckley, Chicago; Normal B. Holter, Helena, Montana; M. H. Walker, Salt Lake; Joseph Geoghegan, Salt Lake; and H. C. Edwards, Salt Lake. (New Railroads, p. 17)

The Kenilworth & Helper Railroad operated its own property from July 19, 1911 until January 15, 1915. The D&RG took over the operation of the Kenilworth & Helper on January 15, 1915. (26 ICC 860,861)

The lease of the Kenilworth & Helper to the D&RG was signed on December 1, 1914. (105 ICC 720)

The lease of the Kenilworth & Helper Railroad to the D&RG was at no cost to the parent Independent company. (Independent: 1914, p. 7)

In about 1915 the Independent company decided to open a second entrance into the Aberdeen and Kenilworth coal seams. A new 1.4 mile tram road was constructed to move the coal from the new opening to the tipple at Kenilworth. The lower portion, a 4,700 foot, forty-two inch gauge tram road was constructed from the Kenilworth tipple around the mountain as far as practicable, using a uniform four percent grade, at which point it connected with a 3,000 foot long incline from the new Bull Hollow opening. The incline was built with a grade varying from ten percent at the bottom to a short stretch of eighteen percent near the top at the new Bull Hollow mine opening, and was operated by an electric hoist. To operate the four percent portion of the tram road, the company purchased a new 30-ton Shay locomotive to carry the loaded mine cars from the base of the Bull Hollow incline to the Kenilworth tipple. The Shay locomotive handled the loaded mine cars in trains of thirty cars, each car having a capacity of three and a half tons, for a total train capacity of 105 tons (enough to fill a single railroad car by today's standards). The incline from the mine opening to where the cable hoist passed the cars off to the Shay locomotive was operated by a hoist located at mine opening, and the loaded cars were lowered down the incline in trains of ten cars each. (Independent: 1918, p. 18)

By 1917 with the expansion of operations into Bull Hollow, additional power was needed. The expansion required an additional generator which was not available due to World War One shortages, so in July 1917 power was purchased from Utah Power & Light, with the first power coming to the mine in September. Three of the boilers and the generator were removed and sold at a profit. (Independent: 1918, p. 16)

The location selected for the second entrance was the original 1905-1906 Stowell mine opening in the right hand fork of Bull Hollow, which was completely reworked. The first several hundred feet of the original opening had been burned. The new Bull Hollow portal was opened into the Kenilworth seam, and into the Aberdeen seam further into the mountain beyond the burned areas. The improvements at the new opening included a new cut-stone hoist house and fan machinery. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 22)

The new Bull Hollow portal and new Shay operated tram road was in operation by March 1918. (Salt Lake Mining Review, March 30, 1918)

In December 1917, the Independent Coal & Coke accepted delivery of a Shay locomotive with road number 1. This locomotive was isolated to the coal company's forty-two inch gauge tramway from the new mine opening in Bull Hollow, hauling loaded mine cars from the mine to the tipple in Kenilworth, at the base of the original gravity tramway. The new tramway was referred to as the "Bull Hollow Tramroad and Incline", with the original tram from the Kenilworth opening being called the "Shelf and Incline Tramway." (Independent: 1918, p. 29)

Additional tonnage by mid 1920 required a second forty-two inch gauge Shay locomotive for the Bull Hollow tramroad, which was delivered as road number 2 in late October or early November 1920, having been completed by the factory on October 22, 1920. (Koch, builder's record)

The local newspaper was impressed with the new mine, calling it fully modern in all respects and operating with electricity. (Coal Index: The Sun, November 29, 1918, p. 1)

A separate Aberdeen Coal Company was incorporated in October 1917. (Salt Lake Mining Review, October 15, 1917, p. 46)

During 1918 the railroad car capacity of the Kenilworth & Helper included nearly one hundred cars at the Kenilworth tipple and another 150 cars at the nearly four miles of yard tracks at Kenilworth Junction. The motive power for the Kenilworth & Helper during 1918 was the two 90-ton Shays and one of the two 70-ton Shays. (Independent: 1918, p. 20)

Coal production for the Independent company grew steadily from its opening in 1907 to 1912. The production for that year was 411,661 tons, about 1,372 tons per day for a standard 300 day year. Production fluctuated between that 1913 peak and 236,522 tons over the next four years, depending on demand for the company's coal. Record production for the mine took place on December 31, 1917 when 2,831 tons came out of the combined Kenilworth and Aberdeen (Bull Hollow) openings. The Kenilworth coal was marketed under the trade name of "Aberdeen Coal". (Independent: 1918, pp. 21,23)

In 1920 change came to Kenilworth & Helper railroad operations. The two original 70-ton, two-truck Shay locomotives were removed from service. Number 100 was sold to a used locomotive dealer in Portland, Oregon, and resold to Western Lumber & Export Company in May 1920. Shay number 101 was scrapped in December 1920, while still on the railroad's property. The two remaining 90-ton Shay locomotives, numbers 150 and 151, remained and were operated by the railroad until the entire railroad was leased to the D&RGW for operation in 1926. The two 90-ton Shays remained as locomotives leased for operation to D&RGW until 1928 and 1929, being replaced by a D&RGW 3300 class Mallet assigned out of Helper. Number 150 was sold in June 1929, ending up on a logging railroad in Oregon in August. Number 151 was sold in September 1928, and later resold to another logging company, located in Washington, in April 1929. (Koch, builder's record)

Kenilworth & Helper Railroad was 6.39 miles long, including 3.525 miles of main track and 2.865 miles of yard and side tracks. (26 ICC Val. 781; D&RGW ICC Valuation Docket 960) D&RGW leased two locomotives from Kenilworth & Helper Railroad. (26 ICC Val. 785; D&RGW ICC Valuation Docket 960, done July 30, 1982)

By 1920 the workings of the Kenilworth mine had proceeded far enough along the coal seams that the farthest working face was 750 feet below the original Aberdeen opening, meaning that the mining activity was taking place at the same level as the tipple outside the mine. The coal was being hoisted up 750 feet inside the mine to the mine portal, then let down 750 feet by way of the gravity tram to the tipple. To cut the costs of transportation of coal from the mine to the tipple, the company undertook to drill two new tunnels into the mountain that would intersect the coal seams at the same level as the tipple outside. The new 3,100 foot long tunnel in Bull Hollow was begun in 1920, and was finished in 1921. The second new tunnel was begun in 1922, with its portal adjacent to the Kenilworth tipple, was 8,100 feet long and was equipped with a double track tram for coal haulage to the surface. It was finished in February 1924. Once these two tunnels were finished, all coal was brought through them to the surface, and the original openings at the Aberdeen (Bull Hollow) mine, and the Kenilworth mine were converted to exhaust openings for the mine ventilation system. The original Shelf line tramway, and gravity tramway from the original Aberdeen opening down to the tipple were abandoned. (HAER: Kenilworth, pp. 22,24,25)

When completed, the new 8,100 foot tunnel was said to be the longest in the west. (Coal Index: The Sun, February 1, 1924, p. 8)

The new tunnel at the No. 1 mine brought out 100 tons per hour. (Coal Index: The Sun, February 29, 1924, p. 1)

Production in 1926 was 2,200 tons per day. (Public Service Commission of Utah, case 828)

On January 28, 1926, Kenilworth & Helper Railroad and Denver & Rio Grande Western filed a joint application for the abandonment of the Kenilworth line, operated under lease by the D&RGW, and to construct a branch line of the D&RGW extending from a connection with the D&RGW mainline at or near Spring Canyon Junction, in a general easterly direction for 6.28 miles to Kenilworth. The Kenilworth's line, as operated by D&RGW, was 3.75 miles long and extended from a connection with D&RGW's mainline at Kenilworth Junction (Spring Glen) to Kenilworth. The daily production of the Kenilworth mine in 1926 was about 2,000 tons, or about 40 fifty-ton carloads. In 1924 the Kenilworth mine's production amounted to 382,336 tons (about 7,600 carloads, about 21 cars per day) and projections for 1925 production called for an increase of about 21 percent, to 465,000 tons, or five more carloads per day. The Kenilworth line had grades in excess of six percent and its operation required the use of a Shay locomotives, which required increased maintenance and operating expenses. The coal company was about to expand their No. 2 mine which was projected to produce an additional 2,000 tons, or 40 carloads, per day, and construct a new loading tipple and tipple yard, and the current railroad would not be able to handle the increased traffic at a reasonable expense. The coal company desired to construct an alternate line with more capacity and reduced operating expenses. This was projected to cost $469,000.00 for its construction, and the projected traffic was 600,000 tons for the first year, increasing to 1,000,000 tons by the fifth year. The land for the right-of-way for the new line was donated by the coal company. The new line was laid with 85-pound rail and was constructed with three percent grades westbound (loads) and 1.5 percent eastbound (empties), and was projected to be complete and in operation by October 1, 1926. (105 ICC 720; map accompanying application)

The following comes from Railway Age magazine in 1926, about D&RGW's new Kenilworth Branch:

February 6, 1926 -- D&RGW has applied to the Interstate Commerce Commission for a certificate authorizing the construction of a line of 6.28 miles from Spring Canyon Junction, Utah. (Railway Age, February 6, 1926, page 409)

March 13, 1926 -- D&RGW's iImprovement program for this year calling for an expenditure of more than $9 million, includes "an extension from Helper, Utah, to Kenilworth, a distance of six miles." All of the other projects were in Colorado. (Railway Age, March 13, 1926, page 833)

April 10, 1926 -- Abandonment. -- The Interstate Commerce Commission has issued a certificate authorizing the Kenilworth & Helper and the Denver & Rio Grande Western, lessee, to abandon the line of the Kenilworth & Helper, which extends from Kenilworth Junction, Utah, to Kenilworth, 3.75 miles. Similarly a certificate has been issued authorizing the Denver & Rio Grande Western to construct a new branch line from Spring Canyon Junction in a general easterly direction, 6.28 miles. The Kenilworth is leased by the Denver from its owners, the Independent Coal & Coke Company, which purposes to open up new coal operations which the present line will not be adequate to serve. (Railway Age, April 10, 1926, page 1039)

May 22, 1926 -- D&RGW has awarded a contract to the Utah Construction Company, San Francisco, Cal., for the grading of a six-mile extension from Helper, Utah, to Kenilworth, reported in the Railway Age of March 13. (Railway Age, May 22, 1926, page 1415)

New D&RGW Kenilworth Branch shipped its first coal traffic on November 24, 1926. (Coal Index: The Sun, November 26, 1926, p. 1, "last Wednesday")

The Independent Coal & Coke built a second tipple at Kenilworth in 1927. (Madsen, p. 40)

(Some photographs show this second tipple in the distance, east, from the main tipple. This tipple was built near the base of the tramway to the new Bull Hollow mine, and was part of the expansion of operations that included the construction of the D&RGW Kenilworth Branch to replace the old Kenilworth & Helper line in 1926. No date has been discovered for the removal of the second tipple.)

The steel tipple that replaced the original 1907-built wooden tipple in 1914 was torn down and in 1931 replaced by one built by the McNally Pittsburgh Manufacturing Corporation. This last tipple remained in operation until the mine was closed in 1960. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 26)

After 1937, all coal from the Independent company's mine came from the upper, Kenilworth, seam. (HAER: Kenilworth, p. 26)

Mechanization of the mining operations began in 1928, and the mine was fully mechanized by 1939. The next major change in the Kenilworth mine came in 1951. In December 1951 the Independent Coal & Coke Company purchased the holdings of the Utah Fuel Company, including the mine at Clear Creek, and the mine and coal washing plant at Castle Gate, which was located directly across the mountain from Kenilworth. At that time, most of the coal being mined from Kenilworth was being hauled around the mountain by rail to Utah Fuel's Castle Gate coal washing plant. In 1958 Independent Coal & Coke began a 5,000 foot rock tunnel that was drilled north from the 1924-built Aberdeen tunnel to the main slope of the Castle Gate mine. With the completion of this new tunnel in 1959, coal was gravity fed down to the Castle Gate mine's main haulage tunnels and exited at the Castle Gate portals, adjacent to the coal washing plant, eliminating the cost of hauling coal around the mountain by railroad. (HAER: Kenilworth, pp. 27,28)

Utah Power & Light constructed its Carbon Steam Generating Plant at Castle Gate in the mid 1950s. The first unit went into operation in November 1954, and the second unit came on line in August 1957. The plant was located at the mouth of the Castle Gate coal mine. (McCormick: UP&L, p. 121)

Castle Gate No. 2 was officially closed on February 4, 1960, the same date that the new Castle Gate No. 4 was officially opened. The old Castle Gate No. 2 would after that date only be used as a main artery between the Kenilworth and Castle Gate mines. With the closure of the No. 2 mine, all workings were sealed and the track gauge changed from forty inches to forty-two inches. Work on a tunnel to connect the Kenilworth workings with the Castle Gate workings was to be completed in March. The tunnel would permit moving of Kenilworth coal to the Castle Gate facilities and eliminate tipple work at Kenilworth and a heavy freight expense. Kenilworth was producing about 1,800 to 2,000 tons per day, and Clear Creek was producing about 800 tons per day. Operations at the mines of the Independent Coal & Coke Company were reduced due to the depressed coal market, with the company cutting back from a five day week to a four day week, and laying off ninety-one miners from their operations, fifty from Castle Gate, twenty-eight from Kenilworth, and thirteen from Clear Creek. (Deseret News, February 5, 1960)

The Kenilworth tipple operations were closed down during the middle week of October 1960. (Deseret News, October 13, 1960, "this week")

The following comes from Coal Age magazine, October 1960, page 54:

Transportation of coal underground is expected to result in substantial economies for Independent Coal & Coke Co., large Utah coal producer -- The company has built a 1-mi underground tunnel, linking from portal to portal, two of its properties in Carbon County, the Kenilworth and Castle Gate mines. W. J. O'Connor, president and general manager, related that coal coming from the Kenilworth mine to Castle Gate, where the firm supplies fuel to a mine-mouth plant belonging to Utah Power & Light, would be hauled through the new tunnel.

Objective of joining Kenilworth and Castle Gate is to eliminate overhead and freight charges and to obtain costs that will permit Independent Coal to make a profit on tonnages sold to the generating plant at Castle Gate.

The firm has also done considerable development work in its new C seam mine at Castle Gate. The new seam will supplant the abandoned No. 2 mine. Outside facilities at Kenilworth mine were closed Sept. 1, but the firm expects to keep them in operating condition.

Cost of the project was upwards of $300,000, not including seam development work. Mr. O'Connor said that the consolidation should result in lower costs in the last 4 mo of 1960. If sales hold up as estimated, he noted, the firm should have a good last quarter. (Coal Age, Volume 65, number 10, October 1960, pp. 54,55, "Underground Link")

"All outside mining operations at Kenilworth have ceased with completion of work joining the Kenilworth and Castle Gate mine tunnels, Carbon County, Utah. All operations now will be from the Castle Gate side. The mine shaft had dropped more than 6,000 ft from the surface and the coal had to be hauled up the main slope by a hoist. Now that the two underground tunnels have been joined, the coal being removed is at the same level as the outside works at Castle Gate. The Independent Coal & Coke Co. started the changeover about two years ago because the Kenilworth side of the operation was becoming too expensive." (Coal Age, Volume 65, number 11, November 1960, p. 50, "News Roundup")

The completion of the new Kenilworth to Castle Gate tunnel allowed the closure of the Kenilworth tipple and mine portals in 1960. The surface workings and tipple at Kenilworth were gradually dismantled and otherwise demolished, so that by 1983, they were selected as candidates for reclamation under the Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977. This law authorized the use of public monies for the demolition of all remaining facilities and return of the mining sites to their undeveloped condition. The site was surveyed and the reclamation work completed by late 1984, leaving the town of Kenilworth, with its remaining residents, as a very scenic suburb of the extended Price/Helper community. The site was later sold to the Price River Coal Company. (HAER: Kenilworth, pp. 27,28, title sheet)

November 6, 1967
"Coal Firm Sale -- Cleveland -- (UPI) North American Coal Corp. has agreed in principle to buy Independent Coal & Coke Co. of Salt Lake City for $4.4 million. (San Francisco Examiner, November 6, 1967)

November 19, 1967
"Coal Firms Merge -- Cleveland -- The North American Coal Corp. has acquired the Independent Coal & Coke Co. of Salt Lake City in a cash transaction. North American, a major coal producer had sales of $32 million last year and Independent had sales of $4 million. (Fort Lauderdale News, November 19, 1967)

December 29, 1967
The shareholders of Independent Coal and Coke company met at Evanston, Wyoming, for a special shareholders meeting to vote of the complete dissolution of the company, and the sale of its assets to North American Coal Corporation. The sale was approved, 73 percent for, and 3 percent against. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 30, 1967)

(Available online newspapers do not show a specific date the transfer of ownership took place, but by January 11, 1968, North American Coal had installed its own general manager of its new Utah Division.)

On March 8, 1968 Independent Coal & Coke Company corporation was dissolved. (Utah corporation, index number 6054)

(Read more about the Kenilworth mine after it was combined with the Castle Gate mine)

December 1971
D&RGW received federal ICC approval to abandon its Kenilworth Branch, Helper to Kenilworth, 6.23 miles. (Railroad magazine, April 1972, page 65)


Kenilworth Railroads -- A Google Map of the railroads in the Kenilworth area.


Kenilworth & Helper Railway -- Information about the railroad that served the Kenilworth mines.