Copper Belt Railroad
This page was last updated on July 13, 2011.
The Copper Belt Railroad Of Bingham
By L. H. Beason (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 15, 1905)
The Copper Belt railroad, of Bingham, is now in charge of the operating department of the Rio Grande Western. It was turned over to this company about a month ago when the deal, which had been pending for several months, was consummated.
The transaction was an important one for the Rio Grande in more ways than one. In the first place it cemented its hold upon traffic, both passenger and freight, to and from the copper camp, and with existing conditions, it would be a difficult matter for any competing road to enter the camp and expect to cut seriously into Rio Grande business; yet, in this day of modern railway building, nothing seems impossible. But the acquisition of the Copper Belt has placed the Rio Grande in possession of valuable franchises, and thus it has fortified itself effectively, it might be said, against any encroachment on this important territory, which has been seriously threatened since Bingham has won the distinction of being Utah's greatest copper mining camp; and, indeed, one of the greatest copper-producing districts in the world.
The Copper Belt is only about nine miles in length, but it furnishes the key to the situation in Bingham. Its tracks reach nearly all the important producing mines in the camp. It provides the means for transportation for the various companies operating in main Bingham canyon and in Carr Fork Gulch, and the freight charges for the movement of ores from the mines, and supplies to them, are considered reasonable and just. At least, no complaints have been made on this score.
The construction of the Copper Belt was originally conceived by J. G. Jacobs, the general manager of the Salt Lake & Mercur railroad. This was when the camp had just begun to show indications of awakening and increased activity after a long spell of depression following the shutting down of nearly every mine in the district which had been worked, mainly, for their silver and lead ores.
Mr. Jacobs foresaw a bright future for the camp and built the original road, which extended from the Rio Grande terminals in Lower Bingham to Upper Bingham. Later Mr. Jacobs retired, selling the road to William Bayley, Sr., of Los Angeles, and associates, who had become interested in the promotion of the Bingham Copper & Gold mining company, which afterwards became an asset of the Bingham Consolidated.
Under the Bayly administration the Copper Belt company was organized, and many thousands of dollars were spent in extending the line and in providing the system with new equipment. The Boston Consolidated branch was built about two years ago, and furnished an outlet for the ores of the Boston Consolidated, Yampa, and other mines in upper Carr Fork, as well as for the Utah Copper. During the same year the spur to the Yampa smelter was built. The road handles between 200 and 300 carloads of ore weekly, and this traffic comes principally from the Commercial mine of the Bingham Con, the Utah Copper, the Yampa, Bingham & New Haven. Ohio Copper and the Boston Con. mines. The construction of the Utah Copper's new 2,500-ton mill, and the increasect output from other sources will more than double the present traffic of the road this year.
As a scenic road the Copper Belt can hardly be surpassed anywhere in the state, but as yet no effort has been made to reach out for tourist passenger traffic. The reflects great credit upon its orgininators, and it will be a most important factor in the future upbuilding of this great camp. Its equipment is modern and of the very best, and the district, because of the little line, presents and entirely different appearance from what it did five or six years ago.