The Dummy Line
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This page was last updated on July 13, 2014.
By Shay Stark (no date)
(Copyright by Shay Stark)
During 1846 in the small hamlet of Eberstadt, Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany. The first cry of a new born baby was heard. The child born to Emanuel Bamberger and Helen Fleish, would be given the name Simon Bamberger. Little did the small family know the events brought on by Simon's birth.
Meanwhile half way around the world on the banks of the Mississippi river a group of weary people embarked upon a journey into the uncivilized western United States to find rest from their troubles, and :freedom to practice their religious beliefs with out interference. After a long journey, battling every opposing force nature could impose upon them, the first group of these pioneers, found themselves at the top of a mountain pass looking out into a grass and sage brush covered valley, bounded on the opposite side by a great life less, saline sea. Their ailing leader helped up to the look out point, proclaims that "This is the right place." The next few years would bring Simon Bamberger and the new comers of the Wasatch Front together, each relying heavily upon one another.
From the time Simon Bamberger arrived in Utah in the 1870's, the territory found prosperity in the varied ventures of this immigrant.
December 16, 1890, Simon Bamberger walked out of the Salt Lake City Hall with a :franchise to build and operate the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway, along 4th West, from the Union Pacific Railroad Depot on South Temple, due north to John Beck's recent acquisition, the Hot Springs Resort, a local mineral bath. The lines inception went virtually unnoticed, or intentionally ignored, as many people announced plans for new railroads with little accomplishment. Was Simon Bamberger's dream just another false start? Even if construction commenced, the line was bound to end up as part of the West Side Rapid Transit or one of the other street railways. Not one other potential rail line, anywhere in the country had been able to get funding, over the past year. And no doubt, Simon Bamberger would have the same problem.
In defiance of the odds, on January 1, 1891 workers from the West Side Rapid Transit deposited rail on the east side of 4th west, across form the Union Pacific Depot. Soon followed brawny men armed with shovels and hammers laying rail down the center of 4th west, in a northerly direction. The line was to be laid three and one half miles north out of Salt Lake, to the Beck's Hot Springs Resort.
The route to the hot springs was not flat by any means and thus became very expensive to built. Mr. Bamberger, no doubt, had a grandiose vision in mind, as construction of the line met and in many cases exceeded the standards of the larger steam roads. Cuts up to 8 feet deep and fills of 12 feet high were implemented in order to keep the line to a maximum 1 % grade. Curvature was limited to 6% minimum radius. Heavy ties were topped with 30 and 40 lb. rail, resulting in a smooth, solid road. By early July the last few feet of rail were being readied for the lines opening.
The evening of Friday, July 23, 1891, Simon Bamberger, and John Beck along with 500 Railroad employees, City Council members, County officials, Federal officers, prominent business men, farmers, members of the "fourth estate" (press),et., rode the first three trains to Beck's Hot Springs, in celebration of the Railway and the Hot Springs official opening. The grand event had all the vital elements, Music provided by Held's Band, entertainment by the boys of the Flambeau Club under the direction of Col. Murray, sandwich's aplenty, ruby claret punch, schooners of cold beer, fragrant Havana Cigars, "Spirits of Frumenti," and soothing warm mineral baths for those so inclined.
After the entertainment Simon Bamberger mounted a chair, and commenced to speak "This railroad is three and a half miles long and is as well equipped and well conducted as any road in the United States. We have adopted all the modern improvements in the way of steam heated cars, air brakes, etc. The road will be extended to Centerville as soon as circumstances will permit. We have adopted a schedule that will meet the needs both of our traveling public and of the health and pleasure seeker ...... .I wish to express my thanks to the city council, the city engineer, supervisor, as well as all the people along the line, for the help and assistance given us in pushing our enterprise to completion." He then commented about The Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway as the longest name in the country. It would not "pool its issues with any other road." and would always be operated for the benefit of the community.
At the conclusion of Mr. Bamberger's speech, Col. Lett and Wendell Benson, supporters of the cause, were obliged to present a few words. Both men were very complementary. Col. Lett explained the purpose of the line, being built "for the express benefit of the men who hadn't taken a bath for the last seven months." As Wendell Benson had put his 1890 campaign in a tight position by helping drum up support for Bamberger's line, a member of the audience felt inclined to call out, during his speech "He must be a Democrat."
After the speeches were over and the last of the refreshments consumed, all returned back to Salt Lake in the same manner they came, quite cheerful, from the evenings events. Of the celebration, the Deseret News reported "Altogether the opening was a splendid success. Everything passed off pleasantly. Republican and Democrat, Liberal and non-liberal, Saint and sinner, Flambeau Club and Central Drum Corps all fraternized as if the advent of the millennium was already at hand."
With the celebration over, it was on to business. The next morning, the first train load of Hot Springs patrons departed the lines southern terminal, at 7:00 a.m. sharp. The schedule was set for trains to leave the Union Pacific Depot every hour, on the hour, and depart on the return trip every hour, on the half hour, till 9:30 p.m. Each trip took a little over 12 minutes, one direction.
The 14 daily round trips, kept the lines little Baldwin built teakettle very busy. While orders for cars and locomotives had been placed early on during the lines construction, only one locomotive, the Little Kate, purchased form the Ogden & Hot Springs Railway, and five passenger cars, possibly from the same source, were on hand for the opening day. Little Kate, was of the 0-4-2 wheel arrangement, and had a housing shaped very much like early street cars of the time. The housing was to camouflage the locomotives moving parts, making the little teakettle less distracting while traveling through neighborhoods, and sparking less fear in horses than its larger fire breathing counterparts. The little engines design was named the "Dummy" locomotive, and within a very short while the Hot Springs line became known as the "Dummy" line. While Little Kate bore the brunt of the lines opening, she soon received help from a second "Dummy" locomotive, arriving brand new from Baldwin Locomotive Works.
With the small dose of added equipment the line was off to a good start. The successful beginnings could very much be attributed to it's staff The railroads first officials were as follows: Simon Bamberger, President and General Manager; John Beck, vice-president; John W. Neff: second vice president; AL. Williams, Hudson Smith, Judge Stoker, A. E. Hyde, Directors; Charles E. Pearson, Secretary; James F. Woodman, Purchasing Agent; HM. McCartney, Manager.
Although only three and one half miles long, the line was staffed equivalent to any major steam road of the time. Another indication, that Simon's vision for the line was greater than the known dimensions. Parts of that vision soon began unveiling. Beyond the announcement of future service as far north as Centerville, given the night of the grand reception, another announcement was made within days of the lines opening. There was to be a line heading west at approximately 10th north, slated for construction. While no specific purpose for the line was implied, such a line would come very close to the Empire Smelter, thus opening up possibilities for commuter traffic. But even more intriguing, would be the possible introduction of freight operation to the GSL&HSRy.
One other evidence, indicated the road's interest in freight operation. In cooperation with the Jennings family, Simon Bamberger built a warehouse on 2nd west. With a franchise granted to serve the warehouse, the railroad gained a great advantage over the other freight railroad operations. The franchise brought the railroad two blocks closer to the central business district than any of the other rail lines had been allowed.
Talk of expansion was soon followed by construction, and by January 1892, the line had extended nine miles north, to Bountiful. The first official day of operation from Bountiful, being January 16. Almost $200,000 had been spent on right-of-way, construction, structures, and rolling stock. The Bountiful extension would lessen the roads dependence upon the resort traffic, which had proven to be somewhat inconsistent.
To improve the resort traffic, the summer of 1892 saw the opening of a large pool at the hot springs. The new amenity greatly increased patronage. On bright sunny Sunday's, ridership was from 1,000 to 1,200 people. In December management of Beck's Hot Springs changed hands, from John Beck, to Simon Bamberger, under the control of the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway.
During 1892 the road built a two mile branch from Stockdale to Simkins to access four large brick yards. Mr. Bamberger became heavily vested in brick production which for many years provided the bulk of the rail lines freight traffic.
However, the big news of 1892 was the actions of the "coal combine", which caused great worry, over the availability of affordable coal. At this point most of the coal supplied to the Wasatch Front was imported from points eastward. Costs were already high as shipping costs were added upon the costs of the fuel. Higher prices and reduced availability threatened the very existence of Wasatch Front residents. It became expedient to find alternate resources. The fact was that no coal existed between Salt Lake and San Francisco, but unbeknownst to many, large deposits of coal were in the hills next door. One of the known coal veins was in Coalville, Simon Bamberger saw opportunity to serve the public, get the extension of his road he wanted and, bolster shaky finances with profitable, consistent, freight traffic. Quickly his eye's set on Coalville and thoughts of westward expansion to the Deep Creek gold mines became a secondary priority. Surveyors were called upon and new dreams were being brought to reality. Since finances were extremely short, Simon petitioned the citizens of Salt Lake to help provide needed funding.
As of January 1893 the company had on hand enough rail and ties to lay track to Farmington. The goal was to lay track to the gas well area at Lake Point and onto Lake Park, with future extension to Ogden. Amendments to the articles of incorporation had been made and maps were being produced for 130 miles of new lines. Construction was projected to start in the spring, but did not come to pass, as little loose money was available, the silver panic had eliminated Bamberger's use of mining profits for railroad expansion, and internal funds were pouring into the ailing Hot Springs Resort. Even so, the line was now 12 miles long and as the Salt Lake Tribune noted, it was "well equipped for the present work."
Extension of the line to Centerville did not materialize until 1894. In general rail lines in Utah were going through a slump, traffic was down and very little construction had been completed, for lack of money. The hot springs lines mileage was just over 14 miles, only three miles further than in January of 1892. Revenues were not as high as expected and freight traffic consisted solely of brick shipments, although the line had succeeded in cornering the brick market. The line to Coalville had been surveyed, and a token amount of grading had been done. With many financial obligations cleared up the line was looking to make connection with Farmington in the spring of 1895. The official opening of the line to Farmington being May 23, 1895.
With completion of the line to Farmington, financial difficulties again arose, but so had a new idea. Out along the edge of the Farmington Bay, of the Great Salt Lake, stood a resort called Lake Park, served by the Rio Grande Western Railway. Lake Park had all the necessary buildings of a great resort, including an intricate pavilion designed by Richard Kletting. Best of all, the structures were for sale. The resort business had been tough financially, as could be witnessed in the roller coaster like ups and downs of the Hot Springs Resort, which had seen three management changes in just two years since John Beck's initial purchase. Resort management was the culprit of many financial difficulties for the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Ry., but had also brought in needed passenger revenue. Learning from the Hot Springs Resort experience, Simon Bamberger decided to make one more try. The Lake Park Resort buildings were purchased and a more suitable location was located closer to the railroad right-of-way. The new location was a swampy piece of property just north and west of downtown Farmington. The swamp was drained, and a manmade fresh water lake became the centerpiece.
The new resort was to be named Lagoon, and the next years activities would revolve around its construction. An article published in the Davis County Clipper on February 21, 1896, gives a look at Lagoon's construction; "From eight to ten teams are hauling the Lake Park pavilion from the Salt Lake to a new fresh water lake resort. It will require this number of teams for several days to move all the structures. An army of workmen are engaged making the excavation and stone foundation for the large and imposing dancing and music hall." By April the pavilion had been erected, although reduced by nine feet - eleven inches. It was "in the hands of the painter and being embellished with beautiful colors." The resort was well under way and had set an initial opening date for the first week of May. Although Lagoon was the physical manifestation of progress, equally important events were playing out, behind the scenes.
The coronation of statehood upon the Utah Territory, on the fourth day of January 1896, brought a furry of businesses with new incorporation's and amendments to incorporation's. The re-incorporation of the Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway was hot on Simon's mind. The fledgling railroad was growing fast, rail was being laid north and new ties in Ogden had given possibility of the mainline entering that city. The company was reorganized under the name of the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad on Tuesday March 17, 1896.
The months following the reorganization were spent feverishly readying Lagoon for a late spring opening, and constructing the rail line to the resort. By early May much of the final grading had been completed around Lagoon.
However, at the same time, Simon Bamberger was in New York His trip back east held the key to the newly organized Salt Lake & Ogden Railway. The Great Salt Lake & Hot Springs Railway had been "the work of home capital and home enterprise" as Colonel Lett, one of the original supporters of the line, stated. He also was heard to say, that "I am full of admiration and of commendation for the men who have completed this enterprise in a time of money stringency unparalleled in the history of our finance." Money had always been tight in the Utah Territory, large sums of cash were few and far between, as the first twenty years of Salt Lakes history, were spent in isolation. Goods and services were bartered. Most of the outside trade, came from people passing through the territory, those of which, had little or no money to spend. While the railroads had opened up the Utah territory to trade with much of the country, only a select few held the majority of the cash. Enterprises not directly endorsed by the Mormon Church had very little chance for funding, other than through outside sources. A small group of local investors had been found to fund the hot springs lines construction, but by the time the little line had reached Centerville, those investors were tapped out, having yet to see any return upon their investment. Outside help was the only option.
During 1895 and 1896, financial obligations were refinanced by a group of Eastern investors, and money was in place for the lines extension to the new resort, but money was not available for any further advancement of the line. The Lagoon resort was running behind schedule and a little over budget, and thus, Mr. Bamberger found himself at the mercy of the investors for any future improvements to the railroad or the resort. As will be seen, the trip to New York and many subsequent trips back east, yielded little or no additional funds, and the line was forced to stand on it's own for a while.
After the opening of the Lagoon resort and rail line in early June of 1896, efforts were turned to operation of the new facilities. Lagoon was an instant success with many groups utilizing the resort for everything from weekend ball games, dancing in the pavilion, to school graduations. A November 1896 timetable listed the Salt Lake & Ogden Railway as running five trains a day between Salt Lake and Lagoon. The 17 mile stretch taking an hour and five minutes Northbound, and just under an hour Southbound.
During the same month of November, the announcement was made that all aspects of the March reorganization of the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad were complete. The November timetable, being the first official timetable published under the fully organized Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad. However, even with all the changes over the years, including the new name, the line still retained the moniker of the "Dummy" line as far as the public was concerned.
While the title "Dummy" had come about because of the design of the roads first motive power, the diminutive 0-4-2 wheel arrangement, steam dummy locomotives, such a brand no longer seemed to fit. As the line had grown, so had the need for larger locomotives to handle the heavy trains on the grade between Salt Lake and Bountiful, (the elevation changing from 4300 feet in Salt Lake to 4408 feet in Bountiful). By 1895, the railroad had four locomotives, the two original steam dummy's, along with two larger 4-4-0 wheel arrangement, American type locomotives. Additional rolling stock had also been purchased to handle the ever-growing passenger ridership. The line had begun with five passenger cars, and by 1895 had purchased seven other passenger cars, including the Denver & Rio Grande's, narrow gauge (3 '-0" spacing between the rails), business car, "Trinidad", purchased and converted to broad gauge (4'-8 1/2" spacing) in January of1892.
Between 1895 and 1899, traffic on the line was still on the upswing. The new traffic warranted the replacing of all the rail on the line between Salt Lake and Lagoon with heavier rail. Freight had diversified and the 40 gondolas purchased initially to haul brick out of Davis County were making increasingly more return trips loaded with coal. Davis Counties, agricultural nature began to manifest itself as passenger trains carried combination coach and baggage cars which were handling a great deal of milk, and other agricultural products headed to the Salt Lake market. As Colonel Lett had prophesied at the lines inception, the road had truly become a source of "fresh milk, butter, and vegetables, in plenty for the citizens" of Salt Lake. Passenger traffic had also increased a great deal during this same four-year period, prompting a search for more rolling stock. Twenty passenger cars were purchased from the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company. These long narrow cars off Brooklyn's elevated lines, were already well worn when they arrived, but would serve in various capacity's for four more decades.
The line began to return a profit from the increased traffic. Lagoon had become the center of fun along the Wasatch Front. With the line making money, investors were slowly paid and the effort reconvened for a connection with Ogden. In October 1904, Simon Bamberger went before the Kaysville City Council, to request a franchise for the operation of the Salt Lake and Ogden Railway, Northwesterly along the county road, just past Davis High School, and then due north on 1st east. At a City Council meeting on December 4, 1904 a petition with 98 names, asking for granting of the franchise, was submitted, and the Salt Lake & Ogden received permission to build an electrically operated rail line through the city, this happening after agreement was reached upon the route, and infrastructure surrounding the line.
An article in the Davis County Clipper dated October 28, 1904, expressed much of the speculation set around Simon Bamberger's announcement of converting the existing railroad from steam power to electric power. It states: "There is very little doubt now, with those on the inside track, that the dummy line will be converted into an electric road and extended to Ogden, in the near future. If this is done, the company should get permission from the city council to change the track in Bountiful from the road where it now is (2nd West) to main street in passing through the city. This would not stop the Mccarron or Mahler road as they could use the same track through main street. The dummy line could bear off to the left near Heber Holbrook's residence so as to come out on main street at Hyrum Sessions'; there go back on the old track near Joseph Parkin's. If it made a similar change in Farmington and Kaysville and run along the county road to Layton, there could be no more desirable route selected for an electric line in both the completed and projected portions outside of the cities in the country run nearly parallel with, and, in most places, close to the county road, which is really better, the main road being narrow in places."
Little did the speculators know, that Simon's existing route for the rail line was in fact the best option that could have been chosen. As was eluded to, earlier on, Simon Bamberger had a much greater vision in mind as the line was built. He new that the best location for a rail line operated to serve both the needs of the passengers and shippers, would be one or two blocks off of the main street, on private right-of-way. As many railroads later found out, main street lines were usually govern by the whims of the city. The city would get upset about freight trains traveling down main street, and when they got tired of the rail lines, contributions to congestion, the city would ask the line to pull out, while creating restrictions, making it impossible for reasonable operation. Simon's vision paid off many times over the years.
Simon Bamberger continued to move northward acquiring franchises based upon conversion to electric power, but construction lagged way behind. After unsuccessfully struggling for two years trying to come up with the capital to electrify the line, Simon went back to each of the cities along the proposed right-of-way, from Kaysville northward, and pleaded for permission to build and operate the line under steam power for three years, furnishing a bond that would convert the line to electric operation by the end of the three year period. The cities reluctantly agreed, and construction from Lagoon northward began in early 1906.
Operation from Kaysville began May 30, 1906. The Davis County Clipper Reported upon the lines opening. "They had no tickets on the dummy for Kaysville on the opening day, as the tickets had been ordered printed in San Francisco and were burned at the time of the earthquake. So new ones had to be ordered from the east, and did not get here in time." Rough start or not, ridership was good. On July 24th, Utah's celebration of the pioneers arrival into the Salt Lake valley, the Salt Lake & Ogden Railway sold close to 1000 tickets at Kaysville, to passengers bound for the festivities, being held at Lagoon.
The SL&O did not cool its heals at Kaysville, but was quickly pressing on to Layton. News reports, show the rapid progress. A report on June 1, 1906 states: "Ties are being strung along the dummy grade between here (Layton) and Kaysville. The company expects to have the track completed and to start running trains over these in about two weeks." On August 10, 1906 the paper reported: "Track laying continues on the dummy. Two cars of Greeks and Turks are camped here (Layton)."
The lines extension beyond Kaysville opened up a new possibility. From the time the line reached Bountiful, Simon Bamberger found himself investing in the many brick producing facilities in South Davis county. This had provided much needed capital, as the brick manufactures found themselves obliged to ship their brick by way of Bamberger's rail line. Many of the brick manufactures, had however, used up all of the available material on their property and were moving on to new resources. Upon surveying the rail line into Layton, Mr. Bamberger found a patch of clay ideal for the production of brick. In short order, the land was purchased and brick production began. This not only brought in added freight shipments, but also a much needed infusion of money from the sale of the bricks.
On August 16, 1906, the first train load of passengers departed Layton, bound for Lagoon to participate in a resort sponsored special day titled, Sunday school day. From then on, trains ran regularly from Layton. However, officially the first scheduled trains, appearing on a timetable, were not to begin until September 4, 1906.
Construction progressed, and service became available from the Weber/Davis county line by mid 1907. Ogden was getting closer each day, but opposition from the Union Pacific Railroad and certain city residents, arose with the crossing of the county line.
The Union Pacific Railroad was not happy with the loss of local traffic along the line between Salt Lake and Bamberger's north terminus. The little line had successfully eaten into both passenger and freight revenues of the larger steam roads. Bamberger's line offered lower rates, more frequent service and was located closer to the majority of the people. Thus when Mr. Bamberger asked for permission to cross the Union Pacific mainline in order to reach Ogden's downtown, the answer was, No. During the early part of 1908, the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad, took the matter to court, as Union Pacific lines proved a barrier to entering the city from the south or west. Judge Howell of the second district court, passed down a decision to allow the line to cross the Union Pacific at a point near Thirty Third street, based upon agreement of both roads to construction details. On May 6, Simon Bamberger met with W. L. Park, the general manager of Union Pacific Railway Company, and settled upon details such as the type of rail to be used in the construction of the crossing, and other engineering details.
The night before meeting with Mr. Park, Senator Bamberger talked to reporters about other opposition raised while entering Ogden. He said: "I am just within the gates of the city with a railroad enterprise that means very much for Ogden. I have spent a good many thousand dollars to get so far, and I have felt all the time the people of the city wanted me to build into their city. I don't like to have them fight me now; but I am willing to place my case in the hands of the city fathers, and whatever they think is right I will abide by. They may stipulate, if they so desire, when I shall operate an electric car line, but for the present it is quite impossible for me to build such a system. Had it not been for the financial panic of last fall, I would now have had built into this city an electric car line. I hope they will give me time to recuperate a little, and I will then build the desired electric car line. Let the council stipulate when I shall install the electric system, and I will comply with their wishes. But I want to come into the city just now, and can do it with no other system than steam. If they will permit me to operate my road temporarily with steam, I will bring 30,000 people into Ogden within ninety days after the 30th of this month, and I think that will pay the city well for the privilege they grant me."
As Mr. Bamberger had mentioned, the fall of 1907 killed any chance to convert the road to electric power for a number of years. During the fall of 1907, Mr. Bamberger had floated a bond for the system to the tune of five hundred thousand dollars. A financial furry occurred as precious metals prices dropped, and he was unable to dispose of the bonds. This led him to divest of some of his own business ventures in order to pay for the construction of the line into Ogden. Unfortunately, the new money was nowhere near enough to electrify the line.
As if financial problems, franchise problems, and railroad crossing problems were not enough, the citizens along the proposed right-of-way, between the Union Pacific crossing and Washington Avenue began to oppose the routes location well into construction. The original plan was to lay the line up Healy Avenue, to Washington Ave. Upon citizen protest, it was found that Healy Avenue had never been deeded to Ogden City and thus, was not a public thoroughfare. None of the property owners wanted steam powered trains transferring passengers in their neighborhood. The next possible street was Carver Avenue. Even though Carver Ave. was a dedicated street, the residents threatened to fence off the street, obliterate it, and tie the whole mess up in court. Mr. Bamberger was on a shoe string, spending his own money, and did not want to waste valuable resources in litigation. Mr. Bamberger, however, remained enthusiastic, stating he would "get into Ogden sometime this summer, even if I have to bring this road in on stilts." He went on to state that there was still another solution that could possibly bring the line in, in time to open the first part of August, only three months behind schedule.
After finally securing permission to build the line up Healy Ave. Crews were scheduled around the clock on the steam shovel creating the three mile cut and numerous fills, at Ogden's doorstep. The line was completed on Saturday August 2nd and the first trains ran to Lagoon on August 5th.
The opening of the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad, was of major importance to the city of Ogden, although not looked upon with such importance in Salt Lake. The Ogden Press Club was honored with the first run out of Ogden. They met members of the Salt Lake Press Club at Lagoon for a "great struggle" taking place on the Lagoon baseball diamond. The stakes were to be supremacy between the Salt Lake and Ogden Press clubs. Although if one did not do well in the game, there was a second chance to redeem themselves, in Lagoon's bowling allies later that evening. Both county and city officials, from all along the line were to join in the outing. The newspapers billed the event as "The day will also mark the bringing into closer relationship of Ogden and the many new towns that are springing up almost daily, as well as Salt Lake.
Many others realized the great opportunity that the new railroad brought to unify Salt Lake City, Ogden City, and points in between. A banquet held at Lagoon on Tuesday evening Aug. 5th, billed as a who's who of Ogden, brought together many influential people from all points along the railroad. After eating a sumptuous feast from long rows of tables loaded with "dainty eatables," Mr. Bamberger was asked to speak, by Mr. H. H. Rolapp, one of the Ogden interests, designating him as the "next Governor of Utah." Senator Bamberger thanked the assembly, and replied: "I can't understand why you toast me as the next governor. I have troubles enough already. He then asked Mr. Rolapp to stand and "take a dose of the same medicine.
Mr. Rolapp's words displayed the point of view held by many Ogdenites as to the opportunities that the new line would bring. He said: "The people are glad that this new line has been built; they are glad that Salt Lakers can now enjoy the privilege of coming in from the suburbs and enjoy life in Utah's future metropolis (Ogden)."
He went on to say: "Residents of Salt Lake can now come to Ogden to do their trading. But Salt Lake, being a beautiful place will continue to be an attractive residential district." He then extended an invitation to Mr. Bamberger to bring his family to Ogden. He said "It's a great place to live in. And your neighbors will be the best people in Utah. More than that, Ogden is going to elect an Ogden man governor."
Mayor A. L. Brewer, also of Ogden then spoke, echoing Mr. Rolapp's plea, for Senator Bamberger to "Come along, Senator, and live in Ogden, and bring your family with you."
President A. R. Heywood of the Weber club then spoke of unification. He said; "Upon this spot we hope to see the good people of Ogden and Salt Lake meet and mingle, forgetting their cares and the worries of life and enjoy the beauty of the place. We had an evidence of this at the gate at Lagoon. A Salt Lake man and an Ogden man wanted to go in at the same time. As the Salt Lake man was burdened with a Sunday edition of a newspaper, the Ogden man drew back and said 'Go first; your load is greater than mine.' The Salt Lake man answered 'don't get discouraged. It is still early in the evening." He went on to quote Judge Howell's court decision over litigation by some Ogden residents, saying: "The opening of the road is another step toward making Ogden, the foremost city in Utah."
The first run from Ogden was under the charge of Conductors H. Frankland and V. C. Willey, Engineer George F. Mead, and Fireman George B. Lee. By 2:00 p.m. three trains of six coaches each had left Ogden bound for Lagoon. Over 1000 people made the excursion from Ogden to Lagoon that day.
Each day beyond the opening of the line to Ogden, proved increasingly successful. The Salt Lake & Ogden wreaked havoc upon the larger steam roads. Rates were cut as much as fifty percent less than the steam roads with more frequent service. The S.L.& 0. Rates were set at eighty cents for a one way ticket between Salt Lake and Ogden. Excursion rates to Lagoon were twenty five cents from Salt Lake and fifty cents for adults and twenty five cents for children under twelve from Ogden. Excursion rates being in effect on Saturdays and Sundays. Sunday trips between Salt Lake and Ogden were set at one dollar round trip.
With connection by streetcar from the terminal in Ogden, to the mouth of Ogden Canyon, new traffic was generated for excursions to the canyon. Mr. Bamberger had invested in the Hermitage resort hotel, soon after a road was built up Ogden Canyon. He had also built his own resort of sorts at a location called Idlewild. Original intentions were to build a rail line up the canyon to the resorts, but franchises stipulated that it had to be electrically powered. Electrification could not happen immediately, and thus the line was conceded to David Eccles' Ogden Rapid Transit which was in a position to build a line up the canyon well in advance of a Salt Lake & Ogden extension. Thus Simon was content to serve his interests in the canyon by way of a special fare of $1. 50 from Salt Lake city to Ogden Canyon, via the Ogden Rapid Transit from 31st and Washington Ave. to the mouth of the canyon, with automobile transportation from the mouth to the resorts.
Lower rates and excursions, were not all that lured traffic from the steam roads. The Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad provided convenient service from more central locations and frequent schedules. The lines schedule provided for trains leaving Salt Lake at 4:45, 8:30, and 11 :00 a.m. and 2:00, 4:00, 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. arriving in Ogden an hour and a half later. The southbound trips out of Ogden were scheduled to depart at 6:30, 8:30, and 11 :00 a.m. and 2:00, 6:30, and 9:00 p.m.
The Lagoon Route
As early as 1894 Mr. Bamberger publicly talked of plans to electrify the existing line, while building to Ogden. All of the franchises received from 1906, at Kaysville, northward, were based upon the idea of running an electrically powered railroad. With the completion of the line to Ogden it was time for Senator Bamberger to make good on his promise or lose passage along the north half of his railroad.
The work of electrifying the line began with finding help, in designing and building the needed infrastructure. For this job, H. A. Strauss, vice president of The Falkenau Electric Construction Company, out of Chicago, IL was chosen. Mr. Strauss had done design work for many electric lines and was well versed in the various types of systems available.
By February 1909, the main goals for the system had been established. In purchasing land for the original line, a minimum of 66 foot wide right-of-way was purchased with the intent of building a double track line. As of yet the line had only been built single track with a few strategically placed passing sidings. The electric line needed to handle conveniently scheduled, hourly high speed service, along with freight, and excursion service. Thus the single track line in use, which saw only fourteen trains a day, plus a few unscheduled extras, was not going to be adequate. A double track line, equipped with motorcars capable of 60 m.p.h. was the criteria. Mr. Strauss recommended use of a 650 volt direct current overhead span system, to handle the two to six car trains powered with four 100 h.p. motors per motor car. The system was to include four substations capable of receiving 88,000 volt current and converting it to 650 volts through the use of two 300 kw capacity motor generator sets. Power would be supplied either by purchase from one of the hydro-electric systems in operation along the Wasatch Front, or by a railroad owned and operated generator.
With goals set, work began to take the ideas from paper to reality. But as always, the best laid plans end up being revised. As the design for the system slowly came together, it became obvious that the proposed system was greater than the resources available to build it. Mr. Bamberger had given his word to Ogden City and the cities of North Davis County that he would electrify the line with all possible dispatch. Ogden City had stipulated entrance into the city and future extensions for greater convenience to be made under electric power, as the residents did not want the smoking, and snorting steam locomotives traversing their neighborhoods. Thus the plan to double track the line was put on hold for the sake of getting an electric system up and operating.
Acquiring of materials, and construction, began early in 1909. In March bids were sent out for 12 motor cars, and trucks, having three compartments, a coach, smoking section, and a baggage section, seating 60 people, at an over all length of 56 feet. The interiors were to be solid Mahogany and fitted with all of the latest accoutrements. Exteriors were to be painted dark green with gold trim. The returning bids were higher than expected, due to the great number of electric railways purchasing new equipment. Thus the final order, awarded to the Jewett Car Company of Newark, Ohio, was placed for only 10 cars, which would not be delivered until early 1910.
Another issue to be tackled in the conversion to electric operation was dealing with crossing the Union Pacific Railroad in Ogden. Relations had not improved much, as Union Pacific watched local traffic move onto the S.L.&O. Construction of the original crossing was almost unreasonable because of all the details Union Pacific had specified. Stringing wire over the crossing was met with an equivalent amount of resistance. Luckily, one of Judge Howell's many decisions in the great deal of litigation brought on by construction and operation of the S.L.&O. in Ogden, obliged Union Pacific to work out details for the construction and operation of the crossing. It was very obvious, however, that even after opening of the crossing; tension and problems would continue to persist. A new line was contemplated which would raise the S.L.&O. line by 26 feet, and cross the Union Pacific line by way of a bridge with large fills on each side. In August of 1909 bids were let out for the fabrication of three bridges for crossing the Union Pacific line. The bridges were designed by Falkenau Electrical Construction Co. which specified; one double track through girder type bridge for crossing Wall Avenue; one double track composite bridge, consisting of a pony truss, steel tower, and deck girder sections, for crossing the Union Pacific line, and one double track concrete deck bridge, consisting of two 80 foot spans for crossing the Weber River. Again bids came in much higher that expected and plans for raising the line were temporarily curtailed.
Work began on laying a single track down Lindon Avenue in Ogden, bringing the terminal 6 blocks uptown from 31st and Washington. A building was purchased in late 1909 and was heavily remodeled for use as a station on the corner of Lincoln Ave and 25th street. In March of 1910 near the completion of the depot remodeling a local news paper, the Standard Examiner exclaimed when discussing the new depot, "When the work, now being done is completed the building will be one of the handsomest in that portion of the city."
Along with the work in Ogden, during the fall of 1909, and spring of 1910, the rest of the line was in the process of modification. By September 1909, plans had been completed for a coal fired power generation plant to be built, at the lines mid point, at Lagoon. Construction had also begun on a new shop facility in Stockdale (present day North Salt Lake) to service the roads equipment. The small and aging shop in Salt Lake was not sufficient to provide needed service for the lines steam locomotives and future electric interurban cars. The shop at Stockdale was to be an interim solution, taking over all steam locomotive servicing. A new larger shop was to be built near the terminal in either Ogden or Salt Lake for the electric cars.
Other improvements were taking place along the line. Rail had to be bonded for electric conduction. Power poles were erected, and trolley wire strung above the rails to feed current to the cars. Because of the frequent electrical storms along the Wasatch Front, a line of galvanized wire was strung along the tops of the poles, and each pole was grounded, protecting the transmission system from lightning strikes. By February 1910, the poles and trolley wire were strung, needing only a connection to live current and a few substations for maintenance of the current.
Another change in plans occurred with the designing of the substations. While 600 volts had been the common voltage for direct current systems, technology had come about for using 750 volts direct current. The Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad was the first electric line to adopt such a system. As with all new technology's, many skeptics looked on as 750 volts was the highest line voltage used to that point on a direct current system. Years later direct current systems would reach as high as 3000 volts. Four 400 horsepower motor generator sets were installed into four substations located at Ogden, Lagoon, Stockdale, and Salt Lake City. In March 1910 a connection with the Telluride Transmission line was made at Lagoon. Progress was slowly being made on a power generation plant at the same location.
By March of 1910, only one issue prevented the switch to electric operation, the line still had no trolley cars. It would be another month before their arrival. On Sunday May 17th a special train pulled into the Denver & Rio Grande's new Salt Lake City passenger depot at 4:25 pm. The train consisted of ten of "the finest electric cars ever seen in the west." Great care had been taken in delivery of these cars, traveling only during the daylight hours. Of their delivery each newspaper made special mention that the cars arrived without a hot journal or a scratch on anyone of them. The cars were placed on display at the Gould depot for all to see. The dark green cars with gold trim received praise from every one who came to see them. Statements such as "Money can by no better cars." Describing the car's one person mentioned "The interiors are truly artistic, and will certainly appeal to the lovers of the beautiful."
Upon arrival of the cars, an official slogan for the railroad was unveiled. Emblazoned in gold lettering upon the sides of the cars were the words "Lagoon Route." While those in Salt Lake City and South Davis County knew of the line as the "Dummy Line", many of the lines new patrons had never ridden the line when it was pulled by the steam dummies. The folks in Ogden and North Davis County had always called the Salt Lake & Ogden Railroad, the "Bamberger Road." Now the railroad officials had presented what they desired the lines nickname to be, which was used in interviews, but few of the public would ever take to the name.
The new interurban cars were taken up to Ogden on Wednesday, May 20th, with one car being placed on display in front of the depot on 25th and Lincoln Avenue, and the other nine placed in the new shop area being erected at 31st and Grant Avenue. The Ogdenites showered the cars with similar praise. The news paper proclaimed: "Without a doubt the cars are the best that have been seen in the western country, and more up-to-date than those found upon the interurban lines in Southern California." Excitement was building for the switch to electric operation, but first the cars had to be outfitted with a few devices, such as trolley poles, in order to operate. Mr. A Haines, a representative of the Jewett Car Company, the builders of the cars, was on hand to get the cars up and going.
With great anticipation, the public waited through May for the line to open its new service. Finally on Saturday, May 28th, thirteen days behind schedule the electric interurban cars took over passenger service and the new 25th street depot in Ogden opened for business. At 6:10 a.m. the first electrically powered train headed north from Salt Lake City to Ogden. The run was made in one hour and fifteen minutes, with trains leaving every hour and a half The annual spring opening of Lagoon resort was timed to coincide with the new rail service. Passenger traffic was brisk. over 1,500 people were handled on the first days runs. Two car trains, and later on in the day, three car trains were packed with people going to Lagoon as well as headed to Ogden for the race track, and to visit Ogden Canyon. Regular service on the line was 34 trains a day with 12 trains departing Salt Lake and 12 departing from Ogden, along with 10 trains between Salt Lake and Lagoon. Fares were One dollar between Salt Lake and Ogden, and Fifty cents between the terminals and Lagoon. Vice President, Sidney Bamberger (Simons eldest son) was very impressed with the relatively few inconveniences upon the first day operation, and announced that the line would reduce its travel time between terminals to an hour as soon as all the bugs were ironed out.
While the interurbans took over the passenger service, the steam locomotives were not totally put out to pasture. Freight operations were scheduled for night service, and the steam locomotives were assigned to take care of this service. Quickly the complaints resultant from steam operation were forgotten. And in a short while with the delivery of a little electric steeple cab, "A" in 1911, steam locomotives found themselves rusting away on a lonely siding at the St. Joseph (North Salt Lake) Shops.
Talk about development of the racetrack at Lagoon for the purpose of expanding traffic.
Talk about the franchise with the UL&T and the need for a terminal up town, also talk about the cars arrival, and the lines opening.
Talk about the development of the Joint terminals in both Salt Lake and Ogden. The connections with SLU and the UIC.
Electrification of the Lagoon Route opened up the possibilities for Simon Bamberger to extend the line at both ends into the heart of Ogden and Salt Lake City. The stipulations for construction of a line in to the heart of Ogden were based up electrification of the line, as the city did not want fire-breathing behemoths disturbing its quiet residential neighborhoods. Plans were made for a permanent terminal in downtown Ogden. The depot at 25th street was right downtown but was quite small and not well suited for boarding and offloading trains. The trains would run in and stop in the middle of the street and then head north into the yard on 24th street, to layover. The other cause for concern dealt with the development Eccles Interurban line from Ogden to Preston, Idaho. Both David Eccles and Simon Bamberger new that the success of each line would greatly increase with the creation of a joint terminal, allowing passengers from the Cache Valley to make one transfer at Ogden and head straight into Salt Lake. Such an option would compete heavily with Union Pacific's local trains, which required a passenger from Cache Valley to take a local from the valley to Ogden and then transfer to another train bound for Salt Lake. With a little coordination of the Interurban lines schedules, the time for such a trip could be significantly cut.
Another advantage of the joint terminal was an ability to provide more for less cost. Each line would share in the cost of the terminal. The decision was made to site the terminal on a plot of ground owned by the Salt Lake and Ogden Railroad, in the middle of the block bounded by 23rd and 24th streets and Grant Ave. and Lincoln Ave. The new joint terminal opened January 1, 1915. Newspapers hailed the ninety-foot by 35 foot building as "a pretty and commodious structure." While the terminal was jointly used, the Ogden, Logan & Idaho Railway Company had not yet finished its connection into the terminal and thus for a while trains of the Salt Lake and Ogden line served the terminal from the rear, and the OL&I made connections via the streetcar trackage in front of the terminal on 24th street. The OL&I trackage was finished later on that year and all operations were handled out of the mid block terminal yard.
Terminal facilities for Salt Lake were underway concurrently with those facilities in Ogden. However, the high cost and low availability of land along with intense political pressures made siting of a new Salt Lake Terminal a complex process. With electrification, the old terminal on Third West and South Temple Street was utilized but envisioned purely as a temporary solution, until a more favorable site near the downtown center could be procured. While moving the terminal uptown was a priority, the current terminals location directly off of a main streetcar route and across the street from the Union Pacific Passenger Station, made it no less convenient or further away from the city center than the competing steam road. The advantages of a terminal situated in the city center were well know, but recouping the cost of electrification and improving operating capacity online were perceived as having more bang for the buck.
In December of 1912 the newly constructed Interurban line connecting points in Utah County with Salt Lake City announced purchase of property mid block between Third and Fourth South on First West, with intentions of building a passenger terminal that would "be a credit to the community."
Downtown Salt Lake City had developed two distinct centers. On the North end of the downtown area was the Temple and headquarters for the LDS Church. In earlier years the churches concern with incoming gentile miners lead the church to cluster its establishments around the "Temple Block." Gentile establishments found themselves left out and thus began to cluster themselves just North of the city county building around the mining exchange buildings on fourth south and Main street. A new terminal would ideally be sited midway between the two centers along first west, with building access off West Temple, one block off of main street. The problem was finding a parcel of land big enough to build a sizable terminal building and yard area for boarding and alighting trains.
While the property purchased by the Orem line in the middle of Third and Fourth South on the west side of third west was not the most convenient site to access the downtown center, it was large enough to serve the necessary purpose. No other parcels in more convenient locations existed that would be large enough for a terminal. Senator Bamberger was convinced that a more suitable site could be procured, with political savvy and plenty of money. By January 1913 a joint announcement by Senator Bamberger, and Mr. Orem declared the purchase of almost all of the parcels on the block bounded by Pierpont Avenue and Third South. As soon as the final parcels minus the Perry Hotel on the south east corner of the block could be purchased construction would begin. The Orem line quickly erected a small wood and corrugated metal building to act as an interim station on the parcel originally procured as a terminal site.
As the years went on questions arose as to whether or not the new terminal would be built. The last few properties necessary for the terminal site were exorbitantly priced or not wanting to sell at all. By 1914 all but one holdout had been convinced to sell and a suit for condemnation was being threatened to get the last parcel. With the procurement battle going on, political jockeying had opened the way for other potential sites. Rumors were flying high. It would seem that at one point or another deals were being cut to use every block in the downtown area along first west as a joint terminal. The truth was somewhere below the menagerie of rumors.
With the problems of the Pierpont site, LDS church leaders and business leaders were madly working to find a way to locate the terminal nearby their interests. It seemed the ideal location in their eyes was the corner directly south and west of the temple block, the site of the famous Valley House. This location would place the depot within two blocks of the business and church interests. LDS leaders and Businessmen moved quickly to procure the necessary property, along with raising $75,000.00 toward the construction of the terminal. While Bamberger family ties with Gentile mining interests were strong, a bird in the hand is better than a bird in the bush, and so the deal for the uptown terminal site was struck.
On the morning of September 25, 1916, the first cars rolled into the new temporary terminal on the old Valley House site. Though being a temporary structure, the station was "fitted with every convenience for the traveling public." The building was placed mid block to leave the corner open for construction of the permanent terminal which, was expected to be erected in three or four years. Senator Bamberger had spent several weeks back east studying the magnificent railroad terminals of the largest cities. The layout of the terminal yard and temporary depot reflected the results of his research. The depot was built with all passenger services on one level and all baggage services at track level. Passengers would reach the trains via gently sloping ramps designed to separate those coming and going. The depot contained the necessary passenger and operations conveniences, along with a newsstand, and restaurant. Within a month the new terminal had proven its usefulness not only for serving business travelers, but hundreds of worshipers along the Wasatch Front which arrived by interurban to participate in the fall session of the LDS church's semi annual general conference. Being only a half a block away from the tabernacle where the conference was held, the new terminal proved to be a greater convenience than the lines previous terminals, which required an additional transportation connection to be made in similar fashion to the steam roads. The new terminal was hailed as an indispensable asset to the community.
Along with new terminals growing traffic both freight and passenger provided the impetus to fulfill the original plan of a double track mainline.
Finally, in 1914 after years of harassment, a major thorn in the SL&O's side was about to be eliminated. The bad blood between the local electric line and one of the nations major steam roads was about to take on a new direction. Over the years several instances had been sited of the mighty Union Pacific Railroad bullying the little guy by blocking the diamond with freight trains, and pulling up the diamond at night so that the next mornings trains would not be able to leave town. While most cases seem to be only rumor and unsubstantiated hearsay one event was documented by outside sources. During one of the LDS churches semi-annual general conferences in Salt Lake City, the Union Pacific pulled a freight train across the diamond and held the Salt Lake & Ogden train full of conference goers for a sufficient amount of time to make the passengers very late for the conference. Along with the major double tracking effort down Lincoln Avenue Simon Bamberger had set aside the money to get the bridges and highline across the Union Pacific that finances had deprived him of five years earlier. With this line in place free access to Ogden was achieved and the competition between the two lines became a war of rates, and scheduling.
As the years quickly passed by additional passenger traffic required the purchase of more equipment. Eight additional motor cars were purchased from the Niles Car Company, built to the existing motor car specifications in 1913. Summer Lagoon traffic was always a major contributor to the coffers and a major drain on equipment. What better way to expand the amusement park product than to provide a ride in open air trailers to and from the park. Six open-air trailers were ordered in 1916 specifically for Lagoon train service. Nothing could beat the ambiance of a relaxing moon lit ride home on an open air car, from a day of adventure and pleasure, and a night of dancing in the pavilion to the big bands. Work on this paragraph more.
1917 was a big year for the Lagoon Route. One of the many changes was the name of the interurban. The new name chosen by the board of directors was to be the Bamberger Electric. The reason sited for such a change was due to the confusion created by all of the railroad companies entering Salt Lake City with the city namesake as part of their title. From the time of the lines crossing in to Davis County, the residents of that county and soon Salt Lake County called the line the Bamberger Road. Thus while the name change was a major event for the company it was merely a clarification to its riders.
Growth in Davis County had a great effect on the Bamberger Electric. Ridership figures consistently increased. In fact, over 38 scheduled trains a day were run to meet passenger demands. Multiple car trains were the norm, and the investment in double track, and the overhead crossing, of the Union Pacific in Ogden were paying off immensely. Freight was also on the increase. Produce, milk, and bricks were traveling out of Davis County to the Salt Lake and Ogden markets. Coal, furniture, lumber and numerous other items were making their way into Davis County via the local line. The road had purchased a small fleet of flatcars/gondolas, boxcars and refrigerator cars to handle the on line traffic. Many of the old steam road coaches had been rebuilt as express cars to handle the growing LCL (less than carload) business. Freight tariffs had not yet been established with the unfriendly steam roads, but the Western Pacific Railroad, and shortly after, the Southern Pacific Railroad established tariffs to the pacific coast. The increasing connections with the outside world added variety to the freight shipped and helped solidify freight operations as the economic base for the railroad. During the early part of WWI pressure from government officials opened the way for establishing tariffs with the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. All that was left was to befriend the lines of the Union Pacific Railroad. This however would not come for several years because of hard feelings and the threat of local competition. 1917 and the first part of 1918 were truly the Bamberger's golden hours.
Just as the future of the line was looking very bright, a series of freak fires beginning with a Salt Lake warehouse and ending with the Ogden car barns seemed to deal deadly blows to future prosperity. On Sunday May 5, 1918 a fire broke out in the Bailey Warehouse on Third West and North Temple. The fire spread to a warehouse owned by the Bamberger Electric Railroad. The warehouse was used to store electrical supplies, which were considered a total loss. The fire consumed approximately $30,000.00 in building and supplies. Immediately afterward Julian Bamberger was informing the press that a new fire proof building would be built on the shop property in North Salt Lake.
As if the loss of electrical supplies were not enough, during the quiet hours of the early morning on Tuesday May 7, 1918 an explosion in a substation transformer blew out the windows of the Ogden substation firewall dividing it from the car barn. Burning transformer oil showered the wood interurban cars consuming both wood and metal. Flames spread rapidly from car to car and across the wood roof of the car barn. The flames spread with such intense heat that the buildings metal framework warped and twisted as if it were taffy. The cars in the original three track barn nearest the substation were burned off to their floors. Not even the cars metal ends withstood the flames beating. Cars stored on the six tracks of the new addition were left as metal hulls with little or no wood left on them.
In a few short hours the Bamberger Electric rolling stock was reduced from 17 operating motorcars, 9 operating closed trailers, and 6 open air Lagoon trailers, to only 6 operating motorcars, and 5 operating closed trailers. With over 36 trains a day between Ogden and Salt Lake the remaining cars were expected to do the impossible.
Of the fires Julian Bamberger stated to the press: "You can say that the company will rebuild as soon as possible and will locate the barns either in Ogden of Salt Lake. The company will secure new equipment as soon as it can. We have equipment enough to take care of our regular business in passengers and freight with the aid of a motor engine we have borrowed from the Utah-Idaho Central." "The loss is severe, Julian stated, especially just at this time, when it is so difficult to secure new equipment. However, we will do our best. There seem to be no question of the cause of the Ogden fire, but it is a strange coincidence, to say the least, that fires should occur in such quick succession as those in the past few days that have caused so much damage to the Bamberger Electric and Bailey & Sons. But we haven't anything to show that it is other than strange coincidence."
With war time sentiment running high, newspapers questioned the possibility of sabotage by German agents, as the Bambergers were of German heritage and their loyalty to "American Institutions" was well known. Certainly the fires in Salt Lake were a painful blow, but the Ogden fire was potentially crippling. For many years afterwards the fabled Bamberger fires would be rehearsed as a German plot.
Fire, Floods and Famine
(1920's and 1930's)
Just as the end of the teens seemed to initiate a dark and dreary future, the beginning of the 20's were a bright spot among the darkness. The great car barn fire of 1918 left a mark for several years as fire damaged cars were still under repair in 1923, but the lack of materials for rebuilding the cars, was out weighed by the influx of business brought on by WWI. Thriving passenger and freight traffic along with ingenuity brought prosperity and growth to Simon Bambergers venture.
By the latter part of 1920 Bamberger had moved its focus from getting cars back on line to expanding the system. With so many cars damaged and very little material available to build new car bodies, only so much could be accomplished. No amount of money would procure the necessary material needed to return all of the cars back to operation. With this being the situation, crews were dispatched to continue expanding the double track portions of the line. December of 1920 saw double track finished between Arsenal and Clearfield. Grading was underway between Wilcox crossing (???) and Centerville where the line tied into existing double track. Ties were being replaced between Bountiful and Centerville. The next point of focus would be a short segment of track between Clearfield and Layton. With this in place the North end of the railroad from Layton to Ogden would be completed with double track. This would only leave small segments between Layton and Kaysville and a few short segments in South Davis County with single track. Each new mile of double track provided potential for better service of the increasing passenger and freight traffic.
With help from Davis County farmers, the Bamberger realized the final necessary step to providing freight connections with the whole country. For several years freight traffic had slowly increased as new markets opened up with the introduction of joint tariffs with the steam roads. In 19?? The first deal was struck with??????, soon followed????? and???? this gave connections with points east and west into Northern California, but the real gold mine was potential traffic with the one road that refused to speak with the Bamberger because of bitter competition between Salt Lake City and Ogden. The Union Pacific, had been forced to allow the Bamberger to cross their line in Ogden thus making connection with downtown Ogden and creating a system that penetrated the heart of two Utah's two major cities while passing through one of the states most productive agricultural belts. The Bamberger offered faster, cheaper, and more convenient service than the Union Pacific desired to offer. The 36 mile "local road" stole much of the local business from the Union Pacific. To make matters worse Bambergers connections with other steam roads and local electric lines transferred the once Union Pacific customers to other roads. Union Pacifies only revenge in the local market was to keep Davis County customers who had to rely on Union Pacific to get to the necessary markets off the Bamberger line by denying tariffs.
By 1922 the clamor of Davis County farmers about the poor service and high rates charged by Union Pacific was finally heard by the Public Utilities Commission. The protest petition stated that Davis County was "handicapped" as the eastern markets were not available because of Union Pacific's refusal to participate in joint rates with the Bamberger Electric Railroad. While connections with the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad offered outlets to some eastern markets, those connections were limited when compared to the connections and on line markets of the Union Pacific. With development of the Bonneville Irrigation district along the Bamberger line, agricultural production in Davis County would greatly increase. Farmers told the commission that they predicted over 3000 carloads of "potatoes, peaches, apples and soft fruits and berries" would be shipped out of this district in 1922. The whole enterprise would fail if new markets were not available to consume the goods.
With the impassioned plea of the farmers, the Public Utilities Commission sent Union Pacific Railroad a letter expressing the desire of the commission to provide Davis County Farmers access to the Union Pacific System via the Bamberger Electric Railway. A month later in April of 1922 the Union Pacific Railroad took steps to provide joint tariffs with the Bamberger. This final step nearly doubled freight shipments over the Bamberger line and years later would provide the basis for nearly all of the Bambergers freight growth.
WWI brought a great increase in passenger traffic. The line had no military installations along its tracks at this time, but civilian movement increased. ?????Freight movement also increased as rails across the nation were increasingly congested. Bamberger began to see freight
As if devastating fires, and a slowing economy were not enough trouble for the local road, Mother nature seemed to deal her blows in a most unscrupulous fashion. South Davis County had long been known for its devastating floods and bi-annual raging canyon winds. Each had been taken into account when designing the road bed and electrical systems for the line, but even careful design was not enough to prevent the most extreme anomalies. Early settlers in the Farmington I Centerville area were very familiar with the destructive power of the normally babbling canyon brooks which emptied into the Great Salt Lake. So much so that they had gone to great lengths to create rock diversion structures at the canyon mouths to direct the water and keep it from flooding farmland and settlements on the valley floor below. Sizeable damage from floods had been a thing of the past by the 1920' s. But with the coming of a new decade of decline so came the tormenting floods. Several small floods and in particular three massive floods peppered the 20's and early 30's. Monday evening August 17, 1923 rain began to pour in great torrents as lightning danced across the valley. When things had calmed down this storm would go down in infamy as the worst storm in the history of Davis County, killing seven people and leaving many in the communities of Farmington and Centerville helpless. Floods rushed out of the canyons and spread onto the valley floor moving buildings, covering fields with silt and gravel as deep as five feet, sweeping people down streams, wiping out both the state highway and the Bamberger tracks. By the time the floods reached the Union Pacific and Denver & Rio Grande tracks it had dissipated and caused only minor delays. Harrowing stories abound from this late summer storm. Four boy scouts on an overnight camping trip in Farmington Canyon were swept down the canyon with the raging waters along with their leaders. All were sent to a watery death with the last of their bodies being exhumed from the gravel and silt left in the path of the flood four days later. Hyrum Ford who had numerous agricultural holdings between Farmington and Centerville, was in his barn milking the cows as the floods picked up the barn and drug it cows and all across several fields and onto the Bamberger tracks. Hyrum escaped unharmed and found that his wife had found refuge on the second floor of their house, spending the night their as the waters and mud flowed below. Maybe the most harrowing story of the floods occurred at the Bambergers amusement park Lagoon. Lagoon was a very popular place for camping along the creek. One could have a day of fun playing games, swimming, and riding the roller coaster. Nights could then be filled dancing to the melodies of the great bands, and afterward it was just a short stroll down to the creek for a peaceful nights rest. Unfortunately for the Christensen family the night was less than peaceful. Arnold Christensen was working with his brother at Lagoon as the storm began. His wife and three children had retired to their tent. The raging waters overturned the tent and swept mother and her children away. Mr Christensen was able to rescue his wife and two older children but could not find his baby. Totally exhausted, he asked others looking for the baby if they had found her and was informed that they had not. In total shock Mr Christensen died and shortly after Dr. Robinson, who came out to help while suffering from pneumonia rescued the baby. Others camped at the park waded across field of mud and water to the Union Pacific main line where they were transported into Salt Lake for assistance at 3 :00 am. The Bamberger line was closed until Thursday of that week.
In 1927 another smaller flood briefly closed the Bamberger line for one day as mud was cleaned up off the line at Becks Hot Springs. The heavy bi-annual winds experienced in Davis County also would play havoc on the line.
As the first half of the twenties had promised prosperity the second half was spent trying to hold on to the prosperity amid a declining economy. Utah's depression really began in the post WWI years.
???talk about Utah's declining economy????
During non-rush hour periods multiple car trains of the past were turning into single car trains. One change made to entice more people to ride was repainting the cars or at least parts of the cars with a bright yellow. The first few cars were painted with many different variations. However, the cars paint scheme soon settled with the car sides painted yellow on the top half, green on the bottom half, along with yellow ends. Advertisements stated "come ride the yellow cars." This advertising slogan may have come from the 1916 Ogden, Logan and Idaho advertising "ride the green cars." Also in 1927 the railroad decided to make a drastic change in operating procedures. Officials met with the Bamberger Electric Railroad Union and proposed a plan to cut the crews from four men to one man. By 1928 Bamberger officials had prevailed in convincing the employees that this move would ultimately benefit all who were involved. Car #3 54 was the first recorded car to have been rebuilt for one-man operation. It rolled out of the paint shop in September 11, 1928 with a single door on the front passenger side. The car had been painted in February, 1927 in the new half yellow half green paint scheme that would last until the early 40's. Within the next year the nine motor cars in use had been rebuilt for one-man operation. Most of these cars would remain in their rebuilt configuration for the rest of their lives. Despite the new look and lower overhead, ridership and dollars continued a downward decline.
The decline in ridership and decreased freight shipments brought on by the nation wide recession, sent Bamberger scurrying for new business. Improved roads between Ogden and Salt Lake in particular the 1922 widening of the "Concrete Highway" from 16 feet wide to double lanes, had also taken their toll as small shipments were being made by an ever-increasing number of trucks, which were able to provide door to door service. With this in mind, the Bamberger management asked why they could not provide the same type of service? Bamberger placed a petition before the PUC, requesting the ability to offer rail to door service from both the Ogden and Salt Lake Terminals. The Public Utilities Commission heard the case including a great deal of protest from the Salt Lake - Ogden Transportation Company who provided just such a service, only by truck, to the same area. The commission granted Bamberger permission to provide the service, stating that it was only a natural extension of their current service as "shippers by rail a pick-up and delivery service at the hands of the Railroad Company."
With permission granted to begin the new service, the BRR looked for a way to market the service. A contest was devised to find the name for the new service. The winner would receive a mileage book good for 500 miles of travel on the Bamberger System. The name which the contest committee chose was "P&D Freight." P&D standing for Pick-up and Delivery but also advertised as Prompt and Dependable.
P&D service was fairly successful, although never fully regaining the L. C. L. business lost to trucks. Two L. C. L. freight trains were run each weekday at noon and later in the evening, utilizing cars #200 and #205, which had served as milk and paper cars earlier in the decade. The user would telephone the Bamberger and trucks would be dispatched out to pick up the L. C. L. and the journey would begin. Same day service was offered for morning pick-ups, and next morning delivery for afternoon pickups. Rates for the service were on the average of five cents more than regular freight rates. While the service was successful at regaining some of the lost L. C. L. service, the depression of the thirties would effectively kill the service and leave the Bamberger content to drop L. C. L. off at the stations and focus more on full carload traffic. Cars #200 and #205 would find themselves serving in new capacities, car #200 as a state of the art line car, and the metal from #205 used to build freight motor #530.
By the beginning of 1933, all of the creative steps taken to put the Bamberger line back on it's feet had seemingly failed. The great blows of fires, floods, automobiles, and economic depression had taken their toll on the line and impending disaster seemed imminent. The previous July the company was forced to borrow money from the Railroad Credit Corporation, a corporation set up to help the many failing railroads nationwide. The money was used to make the interest payment on outstanding bonds. Time had come again to make such payments, and no money was to be found. The line was in dire straits. In addition to the $37,500 in interest due, $101,000 in unpaid bills and $650,000 in interest and back taxes demanded payment. Julian was forced to make the decision of borrowing more money from the Railroad Credit Corporation or placing the railroad in the hands of receivers. Julian stated about taking out more loans "This would simply have meant paying interest with borrowed money, and we preferred reorganization." On February 2°d District Judge Herbert M. Schiller appointed Julian M. Bamberger and Lahman V. Bower, trust officer of the Harris Trust and Savings Bank as joint receivers.
Several months before the company's fall into receivership, concerned Journalists at the Davis County Clipper Newspaper, recognized the lines problems. In hearing echoes of the disastrous effects of the automobile invasion from railroad officials, the Clipper took it as their civic duty to help promote the cause of interurban rail transit. An impassioned plea was made in BOLD on the front page of the October 14, 1932 issue of the Clipper. It's title prophesied to all "Ruinous Effect on Railroads if Auto Takes Passengers." Underneath such strong words was the following:
"How long would a store continue in business in your community if, when a prospective purchaser was about to enter for the purpose of purchasing some one of the articles offered for sale, he were accosted by a stranger and offered free of charge, or, if not free at a ridiculously lower price, the merchandise he was about to purchase at the store? This is just what the private automobile driver does to the Bamberger Electric's business when he picks up prospective passengers and hauls them in his automobile."
"These persons little realize what effect this practice is having on the stability of the jobs of many Davis County citizens who are employees of the Bamberger Electric, which is such an important asset to Davis County's future. The passenger and freight service of the Interurban is vital to the communities it serves and should not be jeopardized by the straining of its resources thru good natured, unthinking people picking up the passengers who ordinarily would use the Interurban lines if they were not picked up and given free rides."
"Davis County is now enjoying the fastest and most frequent train service in the state, day in and day out, and in weather good or bad, but this service can not long continue if patrons are taken away by unfair, unregulated competitors Picking up potential Interurban passengers not only seriously affects a large taxpayer and employer of labor, but also its various employees, its and their ability to purchase materials and supplies in your community, deprives you of service which is of importance to you and your neighbors and therefore of value to your property but, in trying to be a good (?) Samaritan, you take upon yourself the liability of a serious damage suit in the event of accident."
"The 'store' of the Bamberger Electric is its trains. The 'merchandise' the Bamberger Electric has for sale is the haulage of passengers and freight. If the continuance of this enterprise in your community is to your benefit you should do everything you can to help to sell all the 'merchandise' it can."
"Make up your mind NOW, neighbors and friends, to refuse rides to 'Thumbers' and to never carry prospective interurban passengers in your car. It is your civic duty to help your essential transportation facilities to prosper. Their deterioration is your loss!"
Even with such passionate words, the next several years were to be the darkest the railroad had seen. Passenger ridership numbers continued to persist at dismally low figures through most of the thirties. The single car trains of the late twenties continued. The only substantial multiple car train being the School trains run before and after school between North Salt Lake and Davis High School in Kaysville.
The line was out of money but continued to look for some way to keep from being another depression statistic. The leadership held on to the hope that better days were ahead. Even though ridership was low and money running short, Bamberger recognized that times were hard for all, and the best way to make it through was to stick together. All of the employees were like family and had served well. It would be no easier for them to find work anywhere else, and after things picked up their services would again be needed. Thus Bamberger chose not to lay off any of those under his employ. Everyone was very willing to work a reduced number of hours to stay employed and get through the hard times. The company's goal was to give every employee the opportunity to work as many hours as was possible. Other ways were looked at to cut costs.
In an effort to keep afloat, and keep people working the Interurban made a move to reduce maintenance costs and taxes, while bringing in a little extra money. Almost two decades had previously been spent installing a double track mainline from Salt Lake to Ogden. The line was boasted to increase convenience by allowing shorter times and possibly more runs. The declining ridership of the depression and budding of the automobile as a serious transportation option, caused management to doubt that traffic levels would ever really warrant the double track mainline. The decision was made to remove one of the tracks in-between towns and return to the former single-track operation. The condition of track was assessed and the east or west track slated for removal based upon condition. This seemed ironic though as both lines were pulled up and one replaced minus the tie plates. A new market for scrap metal had opened up with Japan, as tension was growing between the island country and Europe. The word on the street was that Bamberger was selling his tie plates to Japan to make bullets. As will be seen later he may have been making "bullets" for himself.
Along with pulling up one mainline, 193 7 saw older surplus rolling stock set aside on a track north of the North Salt Lake Shops, and taken off the company roles. The cars were reported to the tax commission to be scrapped but were in fact still found on the property as late as 1943, rusting away on the same lonely spur. The sale of the scrap metal, and the reduction in taxes, by decommissioning cars and taking up unneeded track, were enough to put the line in a position to file a reorganization plan.
Talk about the reorganization.
The late thirties saw an improved economy for the nation as a whole mostly due to the War in Europe. People in Utah were beginning to bounce back. The future was looking brighter, but people were turning to their automobiles as the primary form of commuting to and from work. Ridership was increasing but at a very slow rate. The Interurban line began looking for ways to make the line more appealing. Years of minimal maintenance had brought about a pretty ratty looking fleet of cars. The easiest and cheapest improvement was a new coat of paint. The experimenting began, as a few cars began to roll out of the shops with the same green and yellow paint but applied differently. The new scheme had the look of movement. This was a start, but only spurred on a series of experimental paint schemes, as the green and yellow still depicted the dark and gloomy years of the past and not the hopefully bright future ahead.
The second order of business to improve ridership, was to look for new cars. The depression had taken out many of the nations interurban lines, leaving a plethora of cars available for the taking. This proved to be favorable to Bamberger, as the company did not have much money to spend and used cars were going for pennies on the dollar. Five small lightweight cars were found in upstate New York, on the Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville line, which had to drop the cars known as bullets, because of a bridge being condemned and no way to turn the single ended cars around. Talk about the bright paint and the fanfare of the new cars.
This is the end of the story
With the abandonment of rail passenger service the Bamberger family found themselves running two vastly different companies. The switch to buses did not entirely bring passenger transportation into the black. Post war prosperity along with construction of a corridor that was to become Interstate-15 prompted many more people to commute by automobile. Davis county grew at a rapid pace, and downtown Salt Lake City was in the midst of transformation, which would fully take effect in the late 60's and 70's but began with the first structures being tom down and replaced with parking lots for the automobile. While many people still used public transportation systems, it was out of habit and new ridership was hard to gamer. Several years before, Salt Lake City had sold its streetcar system to National City Lines, creating the subsidiary Salt Lake City Lines. The Utah & Idaho Central sold their bus lines to Burlington Trailways, Greyhound bus lines had become a very prominent figure in the local public transportation scene. It seemed that the only way a bus company could stay afloat was to align themselves at a national level. Many were frustrated at this movement, but few could make a go on their own.
As the struggle with Bamberger Transportation Company continued the Bamberger family began looking for ways to divest themselves of the bus company so that they could focus on the somewhat profitable rail freight business. A local acquaintance with many years experience in bus operations heard of Bambergers interest in divesting the bus operations and saw this as an opportunity to start anew. Dale W. Barratt, the interested acquaintance, had spent the last 20 years working his way up the ladder from bus driver to regional general manager of the National City Bus Lines. He was in charge of not only the Salt Lake City Lines, but also Spokane City Lines (Washington) and Lincoln City Lines (Nebraska). His experience with the National City Lines told him that under the right management, the Bamberger Transportation Company was in the ideal position to prosper. Mr. Barratt turned to a fellow acquaintance and investor G. S. Swartout of Spokane Washington to help organize the Lake Shore Motor Coach Co. Upon organization of the new company Mr. Barratt purchased the Bamberger Transportation Company for $250,000.00. On July 1, 1953 Lake Shore assimilated Bambergers 15 buses and as many of the 35 employees as wanted to work for the new company. Lake Shore took over most of Bamberger's office and shop space in the Salt Lake Terminal, and relocated the North Salt Lake Shop bus work to Salt Lake. Lake Shore would continue to expand into Salt Lake and Utah County's but soon would find themselves divesting the commuter runs and focusing on charter service.
With the sale of the bus lines, Mr. Bamberger turned back to the railroad. Post war freight traffic from the Ogden Arsenal was decreasing but still provided reason to keep the lines presence in Ogden. With the intrusion of natural gas lines, freeway expansion and decline of agriculture in Davis County because of urbanization, freight business was steadily decreasing. One daily train could serve the line north of Salt Lake. However, Salt Lake was the lines main reason for existence. The rail corridor from 9th south to Sweede town 10th North was still densely populated with industry and still warranted a couple tricks working the area. Three diesel locomotives easily handled the lines freight traffic with one working the main line to Ogden, one switching the industries of Salt Lake and one backup. The line was still a going concern.
As the years passed by Julian Bamberger was looking toward retirement. Mr. Allen Shot, Julian's son in-law had been groomed much like Julian had been to become the new president of the railroad, but declined to take the offer in favor of pursuing other interests. Regretfully Julian put the line up for sale. In July of 1956 talks began with a potential purchaser of the line. Mr. Bamberger along with his two sisters held 66% of the stock which, they transferred to the Murmanill Corp., of Dallas Texas on August 23, 1956. The remaining 33% of the outstanding stock were purchased at $60.00 a share. The total purchase was reported by the Salt Lake Tribune to be $2,587,800.00. The outstanding shares held by approximately 140 investors totaled 43, 130 shares.
As the transfer of ownership was being transacted, rumors ran rampant about the future of the little line. Journalists seemed to favor the idea that the little line would play a key role in the formation of a transcontinental railway. Numerous news accounts explored the relationship between Clint Murchison, partner in Murmanill Corp. and Robert Young, the new railroad magnet which had taken control of the New York Central Railroad, Missouri Pacific Railroad Co, and was going after the James holdings of the Western Pacific. In another camp small group of bystanders saw the transaction as the death nail for the historic line. Only time would tell what fate the line would have.
Talk about the reorganization of the employee's. Additional reorganization in November of 56.
New owners of the firm are Mr. Aiken and his son Lee Jr.; Murmanill Corp. of Dallas, Clint Murchison, Dallas, board chairman, and Gerald C. Mann, president; Len Action and Guy L. Mann, both of Dallas.
Within 6 short months of purchasing the Bamberger line, changes in the physical plant were evident, leaving many to question the lines future. During the first week of February 1957 an announcement was made of the pending sale of the Ogden freight house and surrounding property to Ogden Iron Works for construction of a new warehousing facility without rail service. Other than the freight house, there were only three other shippers left north of 31st street. Those being Cramer Coal, Bennett's Paint and Glass, and the American Can Company, who was also served by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad. Coal sales had severely dropped off with the post war expansion of natural gas being used for heating purposes in Northern Utah. Cans from the American Can Company were being shipped to local canneries, which were all but gone with the post war suburbanization of Davis County. Trucks were providing factory to door service for the remaining canneries. And the infrequent carload of glass to Bennett's was not nearly enough to justify maintaining a few miles of street trackage. The line announced abandonment of the uptown track and moved a boxcar onto the north leg of the 31st street wye to serve as a freight depot. As expected the abandonment announcement received no protest.
Along with changes on the north end of the line, intermediate portions were stripped of unnecessary accouterments. Spring of 1957 witnessed the removal of all remaining double track mainline and passing sidings, except the sidings at Bountiful and Layton. It can be safely assumed that the remaining signal system was also deactivated as the railroad had been operating the line between 15th North in Salt Lake City and Ogden with a single train each day. At this point in time railroad operations were changed too as needed, three days a week. The two sidings left remained only to supply a place for a locomotive to run around cars as necessary. Crews began dropping cars off on the remaining passing sidings for unloading and picking the cars up on their return trip.
As 1957 rolled on, freight traffic continued to decline and rumors abound that the line was about to be put to death. At the end of November official rumors leaked to the press about negotiations with the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and the Union Pacific Railroad for purchase of the line. An announcement by resigning president Lee Akin, stated: "As you know, railroad revenues generally are off some 16 percent in the nation. The Bamberger cannot exist under its present revenues. We bought this railroad to operate it. But for the past year and three months we have lost money. We have done everything in our power to make money. As a result, the management and owners of the Bamberger have started negotiations with the Union Pacific and Denver and Rio Grande Western." To those along the line, Mr. Akin's announcement came as no surprise.
With Mr Akin's official resignation in December of 1957, long time Bamberger employee Ray Needham took the helm as president of the railroad. One can only imagine the mixed feelings Mr. Needham must have felt being placed in the position to administer the death knell to a life long companion. Mr. Needham had worked for the line for more than 50 years, beginning as a station agent and working his way up eventually into management positions. He had spent many an hour working side by side with Julian Bamberger trying to prosper the line, and now he was called on as a final duty to lay the line to rest.
By January of 1958 the count down was well underway. Negotiations with the D&RGW and UP had confirmed that the UP was interested in purchasing the North end of the line serving Hill Field, and the D&RGW was interested in the Salt Lake industrial trackage. Another interested party came to light, the Utah State Roads Commission which was looking at definitely purchasing the line between Layton and Clearfield for the I-15 corridor project, and several other portions if not all of the line through Davis County for smaller road projects.
In May of 1958, as negotiations commenced, the owners of the Bamberger petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) who was the Federal regulating body for railroads, and the Utah Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for permission to abandon and sale portions of the Bamberger Line.
The petition to the ICC contained many compelling reasons for abandonment of the lines middle 25 miles and sale of the other portions to existing Class 1 railroads. It was mentioned that in 1956, the year Murmanill purchased the line from the Bamberger family, the line only netted $17,009. 1956 also saw the Ogden Arsenal placed in the hands of the Tooele Ordinance Depot. While Hill Field still provided an excellent source of freight traffic, it was munitions moving to and from the Ogden Arsenal after WWI, and during WWII and the Korean conflict that provided the majority of the freight traffic on the military installation. Post war suburbanization was reducing prime agricultural land in Davis County and thus eliminating the shipments of out going produce and incoming farming supplies. In fact the final run would only handle one carload of produce, from the Roy onion warehouse, out of the twenty cars moved. The next year losses of$62,242 were reported even though the line had scrapped and sold any excess infrastructure and property, and had differed all maintenance. The lines total freight shipments were noted to be 9,107 for the year 1957, with only 492 of those carloads originating or terminating between the Salt Lake City industrial trackage and Hill Field. Also noted in the ICC petition was the roads failure to secure "fabrication in transit" through rates with Class 1 connections. As had historically been the case, Class 1 railroads had only begrudgingly participated in freight tariffs with the little line at the order of a superior power. This time no one stepped in and many potential customers such as Albertson's grocery stores which was looking at property on the Bamberger line for a regional distribution warehouse, were forced to look else where for connection to the Class 1 roads. It was shown that over half of the carloads in Davis County were handled on team tracks, meaning at the bamberger Station and not a particular customers siding. Those team tracks were all with in a mile of both the Union Pacific and Denver & Rio Grande lines and thus off line shippers could be served by the Class 1 roads with little or no inconvenience to customer.
Two other factors supporting abandonment of the Davis County portion of the line stemmed from governmental desires. Since the abandonment of interurban passenger service the long slow moving freight trains rumbling through the middle of town were no longer perceived as a benefit to the community. Many cities had approached the railroad about the potential for relocation to the outskirts of town. Since relocation was not a viable option and the railroad owned its right-of-way the cities had not yet tried to revoke the railroads franchise for crossing streets which would have proven to be a major obstacle for the railroad. The petition for abandonment was thus enthusiastically supported with letters to the affirmative by each of the cities along the line. The other major factor was the desire of the Utah State Road Commission to use the Bamberger right-of-way as the eastern buffer area for the I-15 project between Layton and Hill Field. While the corridor had been designed with the line in place and only stations removed as part of the corridor, abandonment of the line would mean that three bridges crossing the line at off ramps could be eliminated and major utilities could be inexpensively located on the old Bamberger ROW instead of in the I-15 corridor. The signing of agreements with the UP and D&RGW for purchase of the remaining line further ?????
On November 25, 1958 the ICC handed down approval for the abandonment of the Davis County trackage and sale of the remaining line to the Class I roads. The Utah Public Utilities Commission gave its approval for abandonment of the line on December 10, 1958. The PUC permission would take effect on December 29, 1958. With approval in hand the last run was scheduled for December 31, 1958.
1958 saw conditions worsen. With freight traffic at an all time low, the line sold one of their diesels leaving only two locomotives to serve the line.
Close Of The Bamberger Era
(7 /20/56 DN) The retirement of Julian M. Bamberger form the Bamberger Railroad which his father, Simon Bamberger founded back in 1891 is sure to open the floodgates of fond memories for thousands of Utahns ...
Perhaps the most wonderful memory of all was the development of "Lagoon" which formerly had been a swamp noted for the size of its cat-tails just north of Farmington. As far back as 1908 there were 250,000 paid admissions, and this figure jumped considerably after electrification of the road. The automobile is a wonderful convenience but oh, the fun of those yesteryear trolley rides!
Line of Threshold of New Era
(7/29/56 SLT) Two thirds of the stock in the Bamberger Railroad Co. has been sold to the Murmanill Corp., Dallas, Tex. The sale is to be effective Aug. 23 when Julian M. Bamberger, who has led the business for 46 years, will leave the firm.
Besides Julian M. Bamberger and his wife, others selling stock to effect the transfer of the line are two sisters of Mr. Bamberger, Mrs. Helen B. Behal, New York City, and Mrs. Herbert F. Michael, Murray.
$2.5 Million Tag Placed On Bamberger Railway
(8/2/56 SLT) The Murmanill Corp., a joint venture of Clint Murchison and G. L. Mann, Dallas Texas, will pay $2,587,800 for 100 percent control of the Bamberger Railroad Co., a short line running between Ogden and Salt Lake City, the Tribune learned Wednesday.
Reason for the purchase, says Lee Aiken, Corpus Christi, Texas, representative here of the Murmanill Corp., is "to see if we can't make money."
But supposition generally is that somewhere along the line the Bamberger acquisition might play a part in the developing plan of railroader Robert Young to build a transcontinental system.
Murmanill has sent a letter to shareholders of the Bamberger, other than the 66 2/3 percent held by Julian Bamberger, his wife, sisters and daughters, advising them that stock of the firm is being bought at $60 a share.
This offer expires Aug. 27.
The offer, also at $60 a share to the Bamberger interests, will be taken up before Aug. 16.
Special Passenger Trains
While as many as 36 scheduled passenger runs per day, effectively handled the majority of Bamberger's patrons between Salt Lake and Ogden; many occasions arose which justified additional runs to cover unique circumstances. Heavy patronage of Lagoon by special groups along with heavier summer weekend patronage, prompted many additional trains. In the years before the great automobile frenzy, Bamberger provided many of Davis County's high school age students transport to and from school. W.W.11 brought a need to get large numbers of workers to Ogden Arsenal, along with transporting new draftees, and military personnel from base to base. There were also extra trains for special occasions such as major sports events, L. D. S. Church conferences, and even trains run exclusively for a group of visiting railfans. With so many circumstances warranting additional service, special passenger trains were prevalent in daily operations.
Bamberger would have many promotions to get people to Lagoon, such as, Tootsie Roll Day, Cracker Jack day, etc. On these days you could by a round trip ticket to Lagoon for ten cents and get a Tootsie Roll or a package of Cracker Jacks for riding. Bamberger would take the small loss because, he knew once at Lagoon the money spent would more than make up for it. A frequent passenger recalls once getting on the train in Salt Lake City, for the ride home to Centerville and giving the motorman a commuter ticket out of a book that would take him to Centerville for 11 cents. The motor man informed him that it was Tootsie Roll Day at Lagoon and if he would purchase a ten cent round trip to Lagoon he would get a free Tootsie Roll. The motor man did not care where he got off. The passenger bought the ticket, saved a penny, and got some candy to boot.
These books of commuter tickets were small books that the motor man would punch out the amount spent off of a sheet. The sheets were suppose to be kept in the book thus making the pass non-transferable but Bamberger over looked it if the sheet was tom out. Many children traveled using sheets out of there parents ticket books.
After the 20's there were no longer scheduled trains to Lagoon. On Holidays Bamberger would add a few cars to the regular trains. or make up special trains that would sit in the Salt Lake Depot until they were full. Most trains were kept down to four cars but once in a while a five car train would be run.
Morning operations out of Salt Lake City to Lagoon on Holidays would usually see the special trains head to Lagoon and then the crew would take one car and dead head back (return without passengers) to Salt Lake City. As the day wore on the trains would go up and be stored at Lagoon on the race track siding. The cars would then be added to regularly Scheduled trains through out the day. When a regularly scheduled south bound train stopped at Lagoon the cars would be added on, the crew would change cars, and go get a ticket book for the new cars. Around 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m. the special trains would be started up again for a while for the nightly dances, and homebound weary patrons.
From Ogden special trains were not run to Lagoon. A south bound train may only have ten people headed to Lagoon from Ogden on holidays. Many of the Ogdenites would head up Ogden Canyon or go to the horse races at the Ogden Fair Grounds. Thus the majority of the south bound riders would board in Kaysville which was close enough to Lagoon that the people could stand if seats were filled, for the rest of the trip.
Only a handful of times, was the lagoon train pulled by a freight motor. Usually Lagoon specials were kept at 5 cars and on rare occasion six cars. But West High had a special day for it's students at Lagoon which demanded fifteen cars. If fifteen cars were run to Lagoon it would take at least seven motor cars which would be a major power drain on the system. The road had many trains out on the line anyway with the normal schedule, so alternatives were looked at.
It was decided that the train would be assembled in front of West High and pulled up by a freight motor. This would cut down on power drain, eliminate crews, and allow the train to use what ever cars were available. Gordon Cardall was asked by V. J. Crosely to run the train.
Cars were brought over from the passenger terminal in sets of five, while Gordon brought freight motor #526 down from North Salt Lake. Cars were coupled together along with #526, excited teens loaded, and the train was off. The trip from Salt Lake to Parkin was slow as Gordon had been given strict orders to keep the train running in series until they got to Parkin. This was because Bamberger had to pay a rate comparable to the peak amount of energy used for a period of over three minutes. This rate would be paid for the next month. So with a regular schedule having many trains out on the line, a long heavy special would easily push above peak usage as it climbed out of Salt Lake. As the train slowly moved north ward there is little question that V .J. was in the sub-station watching the meters very closely and hoping for no excellence.
The trip was slow till Parkin then in Gordon's own words "Then I gave them a ride." After the train was unloaded at Lagoon the cars were stored on the race track and #526 headed back to North Salt Lake. As the day passed on, kids ran out of money, or got tired, and cars were pulled out and coupled on to regularly scheduled trains to Salt Lake.
Well beyond the advent of the automobile school children in Davis County used various means to get to school. Many children who were beyond walking distance would be taken to school either by their parents and friends, some rode on the back of the local milk wagon and many others were transported by people hired by the school district for such work using old sheep herders wagons or Conestoga wagons with a bench down the center or along the sides and a small coal stove to provide heat in the winter. In 1922 the typical driver of a school wagon was paid $60 a month and would provide his own horses and wagon.
By 1925 the school district had begun purchasing buses for some areas. This was a great improvement over the old wagons but cost a lot of money and thus took decades to become wide spread. "In 1925, (Robert E.) Green got an engine powered truck. It was custom made onto a truck body by Sidney Sterns from Ogden. The gasoline expenses came out of Green's wages." Mr. Green delivered children from West Layton to Layton Elementary. His route covered the rural area beginning 3 and one half miles away form the school. As more busses were purchased the radius of service decreased, such as 2 and one half miles or greater in 1929 when Bountiful received its first busses.
In 1914 after a decade long battle, residents of Davis County approved the construction of a centralized high school in Kaysville with two smaller satellite schools for 10th and 11th grades in the north and south ends of the county. Getting students from the more populated south end of the county and from the less populated north end of the county became a key issue in the issue of a centralized high school system. A more complete education afforded by a single high school was useless to a student living 12 miles away, with a two to four hour one way trip depending on the weather. To solve this problem the district contracted with the Salt Lake and Ogden Railroad to transport students outside of Kaysville to Davis High. The terms of the original agreement included payment to the railroad of one cent per mile per pupil transported. Over 500 students per day rode the train according to a 1916 advertisement. Another 1916 advertisement stated the over 120,000 students rode the school train over the previous year.
Because the school train was a high volume low revenue venture, secondary cars were used for the train. From its inception through the mid twenties, left over passenger cars from the lines steam years were used on for the train as the newer interurban cars were busy filling regularly scheduled trains. The school train schedule had the train leaving North Salt Lake in the morning for Kaysville, and then laying over behind the Kaysville depot until school was out. At that point the train would head back to North Salt Lake for the night. As regular passenger traffic declined in the mid twenties the 30 + year old steam coaches were replaced with leftover wooden motors and trailers which had survived the 1918 fire. The last of these cars was motor #301, which would find itself replaced and permanently put out to pasture in the late 30's by rebuilt double ended steel motors #322 and 324 which had been deemed surplus because of the one car trains resulting from the negligible depression era ridership.
As can be imagined the cars assigned to school train service took much abuse. If the cars were not sidelined after their tenure they were in need of a total rebuild before they could go on to other duties. Motors 322 and 324 were no exception and found themselves serving in other capacities with the onslaught on WWII and the discontinuance of the school train. Both cars would end up in similar service periodically pulling the Arsenal train and #322 would be relegated to line car service (used to repair trolley wire) for a short period at the beginning of the war.
School trains proved to be a headache for the railroad, after all kids will be kids and a moment amongst piers, free of adult supervision was an open invitation for some harmless fun. BRR had a person attending to the cars that would keep an eye out for trouble, so the kids had to be fast, but they still managed to cause problems. Many of the childish pranks involved two cords running along the tops of the trolley car windows. The red cord was connected to an air valve in the front vestibule for emergency stops. When the cord was pulled it would set the brakes on the car. On the school train or any other train where kids were the major passengers, the cord would be tied off around the valve so that they could not pull the cord and set the brakes. While this was illegal, if it had not been done, the passengers of very first school train would have never made it to class. Since the air valve was inside one of the vestibules, every once in a while a child would go back and set the brakes. The crew on the train would not know who it was because the vestibules would block their view.
The other cord was white, and was used by for signaling the train to stop at the next station. The ticket ladies would pull the cord three times and a small shrill whistle up front would go off in the motorman's ear. He would then give three short blasts on the horn to acknowledge the signal. The little high pitched whistle had a tendency to go in one ear, clean out any thing inside before leaving the other ear. As can be imagined pulling the signal cord was a popular and annoying prank on the school train.
While pulling either of the cords were obvious play. Some students found more imaginative antics dealing with articles such as the seat cushions. More than once a seat would be found smoldering for no apparent reason. But much more often than finding a seat on fire, the motorman of the school train would see cushions flying off to the side of the car. The wayward cushion would be retrieved on the return trip.
Because of the damage done by the kids, along with the fact that the school train was only run once a day in each direction, the school train was usually assigned the lest desirable equipment. 1920's era pictures show the school train consisting of the ancient steam coaches that had been set up as trailers. The thirties saw the use of the last remaining wood motor car #300 as power for the school train. In 1937 #300 was put to rest. Motor cars #322 and #324 were given the dubious honor of being assigned to the school train. The train had grown to a three or four car train, but the wye in Kaysville was to short to turn the whole train. Thus a motor car was needed on each end of the train. #332 was double ended, and #324 had doors on both ends but no controls. The pair would head north from North Salt Lake each morning with one or two trailers sandwiched in-between. At Kaysville the cars would be tied up on a leg of the wye until the afternoon return trip.
As general passenger traffic picked up in the late thirties, it was decided that having two motor cars out of commission during the day was wasteful. Especially on a run that didn't make any money. The students only paid about 10 cents to ride the train. This prompted trailer #400 to be rebuilt with controls. With #400 on the train, one of the motors could be sent back into regular service. #400's duties on the school train were short lived, as Davis School District purchased busses, and the school train was discontinued.
Notes and my thoughts to be thrown in some where:
Collett quotes Sam Morgan a former principal of Davis High who states:
"Davis County was one of the first counties in Utah to consolidate the many local school districts into one county district and to effect the consolidation of small schools into larger ones."
"This movement began in 1910, in keeping with new Utah legislation; and on July 3, 1911, Davis County School District was officially organized. Because of sectional jealousies, many meetings had to be held with people of the county before a central high school was agreed upon. The Davis County Board of Education finally authorized the establishment of Davis County Central High School at Kaysville, and the school was opened to students the fall of 1914 for the first time. The four upper grades in the northwest part of the county attended school in Syracuse. All others (9th through 12th) attended the central high school. The North High School in Syracuse was closed in 1925, and all students thereafter were transported to Davis High. (collett, 139)"
"Also in 1929, the first school busses purchased by the Davis County Board of Education were put into operation hauling students to the various schools who lived more than 21/2 miles from their school. Up until that time students had been transported by privately owned small buses and other types of vehicles, and also the Bamberger electric train. Elmer Ward and Horace Steed, residents of Kaysville, were two of the owners and drivers of these privately owned busses. (collett, 140)"
My thought is that the school train only ran from the south the reason being that the north students did not begin to come to Davis High until 1925. We know that busses were purchased by the district in 1925 and disbursed in the north section of the county. In 1929 the county began a wide spread purchase of busses, and children who lived 2 and 1h miles away from school were bussed. The school train was by far the more economical way to carry students and thus busses for this cause were the last to be implemented. It is also know that some time in the later years of the school train only Bountiful and maybe Centerville were stops on the train, meaning that Farmington Children began to be busses by the county. In 1952 Bountiful High School was built and each year one grade was phased in at the school, thus by 1956 no students in the south end of the county were going to Davis High. The School train was discontinued in the late 30's. This could have been 37 when car 301 of the school train was sidelined or 38 but probably not 39 as car 322 was being used as a line car by then.
The same war time preparations that so rapidly increased freight traffic, also had a large effect on passenger traffic. The one car passenger trains of the 1930's depression were over, as most scheduled trains were filling two and three cars. Work on and off of Utah's military bases was more than plentiful, which meant more people were riding the trains to work.
Growth at the Ogden Arsenal 13 miles south of town, was so great that the scheduled passenger runs between Ogden and Salt Lake could not keep up with the influx of riders, especially between Ogden and Arsenal. More runs were needed, but every car Bamberger owned, was spoken for. New or even used equipment was almost impossible for a relatively small operation to procure. So in partnership with the United States Military, Bamberger set out to fill the need.
The U.S. Maritime Commission had purchased a fleet of passenger cars from Southern Pacific's bay area electric operations. They were dispersing the cars to various military bases, where equipment shortages kept railroads from running special military trains. A plea was made to the Commission for equipment, and the Ogden Arsenal was assigned six cars. The ex. Southern Pacific 350 class "Blimps" were given the numbers 102-105 for the four coaches and #8033, #8036, for the combines. The Blimps were large cars, the coaches seating 106 passengers each. While originally electrically powered, all of the motors and supporting equipment had been removed. To make maters worse, power cables on the cars did not match the home roads power cables. Thus generators were installed in the combines to provide electricity for lights. Coal stoves were installed in each car, because the cars were not insulated for the cold weather.
With modifications made, the Blimps began their assignment. The first Arsenal trains were small. Usually consisting of B. R. R. #322, a 100 class coach and a combine. Even though the train was small, the operation proved to be interesting. Scheduled departure was 6:30 a.m. .. The train crew that ran would usually stay over night in Ogden if they did not live there as the first train form Salt Lake which left at 5:30 am did not get in time. As the train would arrive in Sunset, it would exit the mainline by way of the north most switch in the Arsenal yard called Baxter switch. No stop was necessary to change switches, as the night freight which had passed by Arsenal at about 6:00 a.m. was assigned to set all the switches, so the Arsenal train could roll right in. Since Bambergers mainline did not have frogs on the trolley wire, a ticket taker on one of the military cars would have to change the trolley pole over when the train crossed through Baxter switch. #322 would then stop on the switch to B track in the yard, and uncouple from the Blimps. A military 0-6-0 steam locomotive or diesel switcher such as E. M. D. #7001, a SW? (?later a GP7 or 9?) would come out of the base gate, couple up to the blimps, and pull the train on to the base. Meanwhile #322 would head down to the Arsenal depot to disperse passengers that worked in the administration building just east of the depot. #322 would then be tied up for the day about a half mile south of the depot, and the crew would go back to Ogden on the next train.
In the evening, the train would leave Arsenal at 4:30 p.m. The #322 would load passengers at the Arsenal Depot. They would then proceed down the mainline to Baxter switch were the military would push the loaded blimps on to the train. The military would then set all the switches while heading back to base, and the Arsenal train would head back to Ogden. Upon arrival in Ogden the train would proceed onto track #4 of the terminal were the passengers would alight, and the train would be tied down to rest until the next mornings run.
In late 1942 or early 1943 the train had grown in size and #322 could not handle the extra tonnage. #530 was then called in as a replacement for the #322. The train needed at least three cars but #530 had fixed couplers and could not get the train around the tight curves at the Ogden terminal. So instead of using another 100 class car, B. R. R. had to provide a trailer with radial couplers to facilitate #530's use with the blimps. Either B. R. R. trailer #434 or #436 was used on the Arsenal train. The reason for only using the steel trailers verses one of the wood trailers, such as under utilized #406, was simply because Bamberger management was afraid that the weight of the Blimps would pull a wood car apart.
With #530 and a B. R. R. trailer assigned to the train, operations at Arsenal varied slightly. In the morning, after dropping off the blimps at the north gate, #530 and the 430 class trailer would unload at the Arsenal depot. Then tie up on a short spur a little further south. In the evening a crew would be called out of Ogden to make the "return trip", as the train orders so titled the run. Arriving at Arsenal about an hour early, the crew would pump up the air. #530 would then head out on the mainline, minus the trailer, running north a short distance, to pick up the trailer from the other end. A new batch of evening riders, were bussed up from the naval base, to the Clearfield depot.
So #530 would push the B. R. R. trailer to Clearfield, picking up the naval workers before boarding passengers at the Arsenal depot. The train would then head north to Ogden after stopping to pick up the Blimps at Baxter switch. While #530 carried the train through the height of the war years, by 1945, car #322 found itself back on the train, because of a post war decline in ridership. By the 1950's the train was really not needed, but ran until October 24, 1952, almost two months after the abandonment of rail passenger service.
1950 Railfan Trip
Over the years many a Railfan has traveled a great distance to come visit Utah's interurban lines. Camera laden visitors were a common sight along the right-of-way. On special occasions such as the opening of the Great Salt Lake & Beck's Hot Springs Railroad, or the arrival of the Bullet cars, trains would be run for the railroad and government officials, along with an appropriate representation of journalists. But never had a special excursion been scheduled expressly for railfans, until the fall of 1950 when a group came to see and ride what was left of Utah's once vast interurban empire.
On September 2, 1950, a group from California came to visit the B. R. R. for a day long excursion across the system. They embarked from the Salt Lake Passenger Terminal aboard car #322, heading south to 9th South and Walker field, visiting what had become freight only territory since the 1946 abandonment of the Salt Lake and Utah Railroad. (Put this in a photo caption Car 322 was dawned with white flags on the rear of the car. Gordon Cardall made the flags and asked V. J. Crosely if he could put them on the car. V. J. felt that they would be too confusing to opposing trains, so they could not be displayed while the train was out on the main line, but the flags could be installed at photo stops.)
From Walker field the only direction to go was north. Arriving at North Salt Lake the train was taken onto another freight only branch, through the diamond, crossing the Union Pacific main line, to the Rio Grande transfer, and back to the North Salt Lake car shops. After pictures were taken, Julian Bamberger bid adieu, and the group filled back on car #322 bound for Ogden. The train rolled north over the Ogden River bridge, on the old Utah Idaho Central trackage, and returned to the Ogden Passenger Terminal. The famous 32 minute speed run returning to Salt Lake aboard light weight car #128, added to the days excitement.
The third trip of the day was aboard car #325 and one of the steel trailers at a much slower pace back to Ogden. These were the last remnants of the Arsenal train.
As if the day would not be complete without another rare trip, the group boarded car #350 coupled up to control trailer #400. With trailer #400 in the lead, the train ambled down Lincoln A venue, and off the mainline to the Oregon Short Line transfer at 33rd street in Ogden. After returning to the Ogden Passenger terminal, the group boarded either #354 or #355 and journeyed south. At Farmington the train was "put in the hole" and the whole group walked to Fred Fellows house for burgers and movies of other Interurban lines. That night the group returned to Salt Lake tired, but elated after a one of a kind journey.
Twice a year in the spring and fall, the Latter Day Saint Church would hold a General Conference in the Tabernacle on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. The Bamberger would run special trains between Ogden and Salt Lake to accommodate all of the people who were going to the conference. This usually meant long trains that would stop at each stop along the line to pick up people. In later years with a parallel bus system, both the train and bus would start in Ogden, the bus picking up the passengers from Ogden to Kaysville and the train running straight through to the bridge crossing over Highway 89 at Just-A-Mere Farm. Any standees on the bus would be transferred to the train at this location. After the passenger exchange both would head on to SALT LAKE CITY, the bus going straight in and the train stopping to pick up passengers.
Another special train associated with the church conferences, before the advent of the TV was a train run over the Bamberger line to Salt Lake City from Logan by the Utah Idaho Central Railroad. This train would run straight through with the U. I. C. crew, but picking up a BRR pilot in Ogden. The train would layover at the Salt Lake Terminal until conference was over and then be run back to Logan.
While Gordon does not remember the trains run by the U.1.C. for the football games, he remembers the Draftee specials. These were four car trains run from Cache Valley to Salt Lake for draftees reporting to Fort Douglas. The trains consisted of two motors and two trailers, and would come down to Salt Lake City with U. I. C. crews and a BRR pilot. If the train had less than four cars it would stop in Ogden and B. R. R. would make up a train.