Eureka Hill Railway (1907-1937)
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This page was last updated on April 17, 2017.
The Eureka Hill Railway was a narrow gauge (36-inches) railroad that operated in central Utah in the Tintic Mining District, near Eureka, Utah. The railroad was 6.91 miles in length, along with 1.97 miles of dual-gauge track at the Tintic smelter in Silver City. The mainline ran from Silver City, Utah, by way of Dragon Hollow, to the Colorado mine and Beck tunnel. The rail was 65 pounds per yard, and the maiximum grade was 5 percent.
The Eureka Hill Railway Company was incorporated in Salt Lake for the purpose of building a branch railroad line, five miles in length, from Silver City, Utah, to Godiva mountain. The capital stock is $50,000, fully paid, and the officers and directors are C. W. Nibley, president; J. William Knight, vice-president; Bela Kadish, secretary; John Pingree, treasurer; David Eccles and Jesse Knight. (Salt Lake Mining Review, February 15, 1907)
The Eureka Hill Railway Co. was organized February 2, 1907, the Articles of Incorporation being filed February 6, 1907. The company was capitalized at $50,000, being 500 shares at $100 par, each; holding one share each, as directors, were Jesse Knight, J. William Knight, John Pingree, Bela Radish, Charles W. Nibley and David Eccles. Nibley was also President, J. Wm. Knight was V.P., Kadish was Secretary, and Pingree, Treasurer. This road was intended primarily to be a private road for the hauling of ore from the mines along its route (most of which were owned or controlled by Jesse Knight) to the new Tintic Smelter at Silver City, the smelter also a Knight property, as was of course the railroad. (George Pitchard)
From Poor's 1929 Railroad Manual, p.1695:
EUREKA HILL RY. -- Incorporated in 1907 in Utah. Mileage operated, Silver City, Utah, to Colorado Shaft No. 4, 7 miles. Equipment: Locomotives, 3; freight cars, 46. Common stock outstanding $50,000. Funded debt, none.
Income Account, year ended Dec. 31, 1927. Operating revenues, $17,847; operating expenses, $16,755; surplus for year, $1,092
Balance Sheet, Dec. 31, 1927. Capital stock, $50,000; current liabilities, $26,522; unadjusted credits, $230,916 total, $307,439. Contra: Investment in road and equipment, $299,714; cash, $1,353; other current assets, $2,198; deferred assets, $50; deficit, $4,123 -- total, $307,439.
Officers: O. Raymond Knight, Pres.; J. Wm. Knight, V-P.; R. E. Allen, Sec & Treas. Directors: The foregoing and W. Lester Mangum, Amanda M. Knight. General Office, Provo, Utah. (U of U Library, done October 8, 1981)
While the Articles of Incorporation of the Eureka Hill Railway Co. do show David Eccles (and C. W. Nibley) as holding one share of the stock at that time (i.e., 1907), this likely did not last long, as subsequent reports to the I. R. S. show 495 of the 500 shares as held by Knight Investment Co., with one share each to Jesse (Pres.), his wife Amanda (as Director), son J. W. (as V.P. & Director), son-in-law W. L. Mangum (as Sec.-Treas. & Director), and son-in-law R. E. Allen (as Director); this is 1917, specifically, and was the same in 1918 and in 1919. Definitely a family affair, which by 1929 was even more closely held, as the entire board of directors and corporate officer staff was composed of three people -- J. W. Knight, Amanda Knight, and R. E. Allen, as Pres., V.P., and Sec.-Treas., respectively. (Email, George Pitchard to Stan Jennings, July 9, 2002)
In a list of companies owned and operated by Knight Investment Company, Eureka Hill Railway was shown as one of 23 properties. (Eureka Reporter, February 24, 1922)
February 6, 1907
Eureka Hill Railroad was incorporated in Utah to build a railroad "From near Silver City, Utah, to a point on Godiva Mountain in Juab County, a distance of about five miles." (Utah corporation index no. 6130)
May 10, 1907
Nephi Straw has been awarded the grading contract for the new railroad; the survey is not yet finished, but Straw will begin work in a few days on the completed sections. (Eureka Reporter, May 10, 1907)
August 23, 1907
"Shea Engine Arrived" "The Shea engine for the railroad which is to connect the new smelter with some of the big mines of Tintic arrived the first of the week. Other equipment for this road, which is to be a narrow gauge, has also been received and the laying of rails will start soon. The graders are somewhat behind with their work and the grade has only been completed from the smelter site near Silver City to the old Spy mine which is just east of the Carisa. From this point the road will be built on around the mountain to the Beck Tunnel, Colorado, and other mines." (Eureka Reporter, August 23, 1907)
September 13, 1907
Grading for the "New Railroad" continues. (Eureka Reporter, September 13, 1907)
November 15, 1907
"Laying Track" "The grade has been nearly completed for the railroad which is to connect the new smelter near Silver City with some of the mines of Tintic and this week the track laying was commenced." "The road, which will be a narrow gauge, is owned by practically the same capitalists as the new Tintic Smelter..." The railroad "will be known as the Eureka Hill Railway, and its line will be about ten miles in length." "Greek laborers have been brought into Tintic to work upon the new railroad and the work of putting down the rails is being rushed as rapidly as possible." (Eureka Reporter, November 15, 1907)
December 6, 1907
"Will Haul Ore From Iron Mine" "The first ore to be hauled by the new Eureka Hill Railway will be the iron ore from the Tintic Iron Company's mine near Silver City." "The new Eureka Hill Railroad has completed its line from the smelter site at Silver City to a point beyond the iron mine and by the first of next month everything will be in readiness for the transferring of the output of the mine..." (Eureka Reporter, December 6, 1907)
March 6, 1908
Three carloads of 'heavy rails' have arrived, via the R. G. W., to be used in switches and sidings at the new smelter near Silver City. (Eureka Reporter, March 6, 1908)
May 1, 1908
"New Cog Engine Arrives" "Another Shea engine for the new Eureka Hill Railway came in over the Rio Grande on Monday. It is a very powerful engine and will be used in handling long strings of cars upon the narrow gauge road connecting the new smelter with some of the mines in the eastern section of Tintic. The other engine which was received some time ago will handle the switching in the yards at the smelter." (Eureka Reporter, May 1, 1908)
"The Eureka Hill Railway has just received a 70-ton Shay locomotive and has placed and order for a number of steel cars and is now in shape to do business as soon as the smelter is ready to receive the ores which will be hauled over the road. The railroad and all its equipment is now fully paid for." (Deseret News, May 12, 1908)
May 22, 1908
Smith and Brown, railroad contractors, are putting in a spur from the Eureka Hill Railway to the Swansea properties, as well as other spurs to mines under contract with the Tintic Smelter. Ballasting of the main line is proceeding under the direction of Superintendent Cronin. (Eureka Reporter, May 22, 1908)
May 29, 1908
A brief history given of the smelter and the reasons for its being. (Eureka Reporter, May 29, 1908)
June 5, 1908
First ore at the new Tintic Smelter was received about 1 June, and was from the Silver Shield mine, at Bingham. (Eureka Reporter, June 5, 1908)
July 10, 1908
The Grand Central mine began shipping to the Tintic smelter yesterday; and there is to be a celebration of the starting-up of the smelter on the 24th of July. (Eureka Reporter, July 10, 1908)
July 24, 1908
An article on Jesse Knight, principal owner of the smelter, the Eureka Hill Railway, and lots of the mines; it is noted that the railroad is completed.
September 25, 1908
"Building Engine House" "The new Eureka Hill Railroad is now constructing an engine house near the new smelter. The building will be large enough to house all three of the engines which are now used upon the road. The 'high line' is now handling considerable business and two large Shea engines are kept busy all the time. The smaller engine is used only in switching cars about the yards at the smelter." (Eureka Reporter, September 25, 1908)
November 19, 1908
John Cronin, former general roadmaster of Rio Grande Western, resigned as superintendent of Eureka Hill Railway, to become superintendent of construction for the Denver, Laramie & Northwestern, under A. E. Welby, with headquarters in Denver. (Eastern Utah Advocate, November 19, 1908)
February 12, 1909
"Two Engines Leave Rails of Eureka Hill Ry." "The heavy snow storm on Sunday resulted in the derailing of both engines used upon the 'high line' of the Eureka Hill Ry. After about 24 hours hard work the two engines were again landed upon the rails. During the "time that the Eureka Hill Railway engines were out of commission, a San Pedro engine handled the switching in the yards of the Tintic smelter." (Eureka Reporter, February 12, 1909)
February 19, 1909
There has been considerable snow trouble on the Eureka Hill railroad, which was blocked for several days. It was opened as far as the Beck on Tuesday, they having run out of coal. Railroad crews have been working overtime, mostly shoveling things out. (Eureka Reporter, February 19, 1909)
March 19, 1909
John Cronin returns as Superintendent of the Eureka Hill Railroad, after nearly a year in Colorado. (Eureka Reporter, March 19, 1909)
April 9, 1909
"Another Engine for Eureka Hill Railway." "Another engine, which is No. 4, has just been received for the Eureka Hill Railroad." The ore cars of the E. H. Rwy. are commented upon as "small cars of 20 ton capacity..." (Eureka Reporter, April 9, 1909)
September 5, 1912
John Cronin, Superintendent of Eureka Hill Railroad, owned by the Knight interests, "will also have charge of the new coal road being built out of Helper to Spring Canyon." (Eastern Utah Advocate, September 5, 1912)
May 2, 1927
Eureka Hill Railway applied to the federal Interstate Commerce Commission for reimbursement of $28,165.31, its reported deficit during the period of federal control, January 1, 1918 to February 29, 1920. the claim was filed under the provisions of Section 204 of the Transportation Act of 1920. The claim was denied on January 16, 1928, using the same criteria cited for the denial of claims for all railroad companies that had not previously filed regular monthly or annual reports with the ICC. Without any previous data, the claim of a deficit was impossible to justify. (Interstate Commerce Commission Finance Reports, January-June 1928, Volume 138, page 29; "Finance Docket No. 6292, Deficit Status Of Eureka Hill Railway;" 138 ICC 29)
Shut Down and Disposition of Equipment
September 13, 1928
"Eureka Hill Railroad to Stop Operating" on the 22nd of September. J. William Knight, who was interviewed, says that the railroad has been operated under a lease by some people in Silver City, upon which lease a small amount is received by Knight Investment Co., owners of the railroad. But for the past year revenues have been so poor that Knight sees no point to the continued operation of the road. (Eureka Reporter, September 13, 1928)
October 18, 1928
The officers of the Eureka Hill Railroad have filed application with the P. U. C. to discontinue all service on the railway; last run had been on the 24th of September, 1928. (Eureka Reporter, October 18, 1928)
December 13, 1928
The owners of the Eureka Hill Railway (all heirs of Jesse Knight, deceased) have been granted permission to discontinue operation of the railway, there being no opposition to the petition. A similar action, for similar reasons, allowed in the case of the St. John and Ophir Railroad. (Eureka Reporter, December 13, 1928)
March 30, 1929
Owing to the shortage of siliceous ores, Utah smelters have lowered their rate to $2.36 per ton on ore carrying a metallic content under $10, and it is believed that this will result in the resumption of work in the Dragon, Empire Mine., Star, Spy and other old-time Tintic mines. E. R. Higginson of Silver City is examining the Dragon and William Osborn and A. T. Higler are looking over the Star and Spy mines, all owned by the Knight interests. David Greenhalgh, also of Silver City, is working out a plan for economical transportation. He has secured a six-ton electric motor and intends to rebuild it to use gasoline. Twelve-ton cars that were formerly used at the Centennial Eureka mine have been purchased and will be used with the gasoline motor in hauling ore over the old Eureka Hill Railway. (The Mining Journal, March 30, 1929, via email from Sam Bass on October 22, 2011)
April 11, 1929
David Greenhalgh, of Silver City, has put together some sort of 'locomotive,' powered by an automobile engine, and there is some talk of its being used on the Eureka Hill Railway's track, this spring. (Eureka Reporter, April 11, 1929)
April 25, 1929
Greenhalgh is bringing down two cars per trip with his gasoline locomotive. The Operating Revenues of the Eureka Hill Railway in 1928 were $12,887.00, per the report filed with the State P. U. C., and expenses were $12,532.37, leaving a net income of $354.63. operations were discontinued 25 September 1928, per order allowing that action by the Public Utilities Commission. (Eureka Reporter, April 25, 1929)
July 11, 1929
An item noting that much of the Knight mining property has been sold to International Smelting Co., but no mention made of the railroad. (Eureka Reporter, July 11, 1929)
December 12, 1929
"Small Locomotive Arrives for Use on High Line," being a very wordy history of Greenhalgh's efforts. His gas loco has proven unequal to the task, and the paper says that he has acquired an 18-ton rod locomotive from someplace in Idaho, which thing arrived Monday. It is expected that 100 tons of ore per month will now be handled. The item mentions that the Eureka Hill's 'cog engines' (the Shays) weighed 75 tons. (Eureka Reporter, December 12, 1929)
July 10, 1930
Proposed agreement for the transfer of most Knight Investment Co. properties to new North Lily-Knight Company, which is backed by the International Mining & Smelting Co. The transfer includes the railroad and its equipment. The agreement is to be ratified (or not) at the stockholders' meeting on the 25th of July. (Eureka Reporter, 10 July 1930)
July 31, 1930
The above agreement was ratified at the meeting; all affected properties are listed, including the railroad. (Eureka Reporter, July 31, 1930)
January 29, 1931
Two carloads of ore were recently shipped from the Dragon Consolidated via the Eureka Hill Railway (it was mentioned specifically) to Silver City and connection with the Rio Grande. (Eureka Reporter, January 29, 1931)
April 30, 1936
A road being built and rebuilt from Eureka through Knightsville to the Iron Blossom mine; "The road will be constructed on the old Eureka Hill Railway bed." (Eureka Reporter, April 30, 1936)
Permission to discontinue service and abandon the entire railroad was formally given the the Utah State Public Utilities Commission on December 10, 1928. Following is a summary of the railroad, as provided as part of Utah Public Utilities Commission Case 1070:
The railroad is 8.5 miles long and serves the Dragon Mine, the Iron Blossom Mine, the Colorado Mine, and the Sioux Mine, all in the Tintic Mining District. All the mines in the district are closed, except for the Sioux and the Iron Blossom, which are occupied mainly with exploration and development work. The district's ore reserves have been depleted since 1922.
The railroad was offered to the Tintic Standard Mining Company, but they refused the offer, even with very easy terms.
The railroad was leased to Werritt & Simpson in September 1927. Their operation for the past year has been at a loss and in September 1928 they gave notice that they wanted to give up the lease. The last day of operation was on September 25, 1928.
On September 29th the railroad notified the Commission that they were closed down, but the Commission told them that they must make formal application.
The railroad is entirely owned by the Knight Investment Company, with J. W. Knight as president and general manager.
Notice of the railroad ending service and operation was published in the Eureka Reporter on November 29, 1928.
Eureka Hill Railway was one of many Knight Investment Co. properties having its ownership rearranged. On July 2, 1929, the Knight Investment Company and the North Lily Mining Co. signed an agreement in principle for the merging of the two companies and several of their owned/controlled subsidiaries; the Eureka Hill Railway Co. was one of Knight Investment Co.'s properties to be included in the merger, being listed in Exhibit "A" attached to the agreement of July 2, 1929, Knight Investment Co. holding 496 of the 500 shares of Eureka Hill Railway stock at that date (the remaining four shares were held by Eureka Hill Railway directors, as required by law). A special stockholders' meeting, of the Knight Investment Co., was held on July 25, 1930, specifically to approve (or not) the merger; approval was unanimous, resulting in a supplemental agreement dated July 25, 1930, calling for the implementation of all provisions of the agreement of July 2, 1929, creating thereby the North Lily-Knight Co., which was in part (at least) backed by the International Mining & Smelting Co. Ownership of the Eureka Hill Railway Co. (and, of course, its equipment) now resided with the new North Lily-Knight Co. (George Pitchard)
Operation of the road in this 1929-1930 time period seems not to have amounted to much; the July 1930 'Abstract of Freight Bills' notes that there was "Nothing hauled in June," and the entire revenue for July was a whopping $33.47, and all of 15 percent of which, $5.02, went to the Eureka Hill Railway! With such amounts of money coming in, it is no surprise to see in the 1932 volume of ICC Statistics the notation "Road Abandoned" attached to the Eureka Hill Railway Co.'s entry in the list of changes during the year. Nothing has so far been seen in the paper to show when the track actually came up, but it would not be later than early 1936, as the (Eureka) Reporter notes in April 30, 1936 the building of a road on the old Eureka Hill Railway bed. (George Pitchard)
George Pitchard found in the annual volume of the "Statistics of Railway" of the federal Interstate Commerce Commission, for the year ending December 31, 1931, a reference to the Eureka Hill Railway:
Eureka Hill Railway; Operating road; Independent; 7.0 miles of line, no comment on ownership noted.
In the ICC "Statistics of Railway" for the year ending December 31, 1932, Pitchard found that the Eureka Hill Railway had been moved to the list of "Changes" for the year:
Eureka Hill Railway; Road abandoned.
However, with this information in hand, that the road had apparently been abandoned during 1932, George Pitchard did not find any mention of the fact in the Eureka paper.
Information presented in Utah - Resources and Activities (Salt Lake City Department of Public Instruction, 1933), page 387, states that the road was "not operating at present."
George Pitchard found that the Utah State Board of Equalization, for the year 1934, had assessed the Eureka Hill Railway at $2,550.00, covering $1,500.00, for all three locomotives, $1,000.00 for 20 flat cars and ore cars, and $50.00 for two cabooses.
In his thesis "The History and Economics of Utah Railroads" in 1947, page 80, David Johnson states that the corporation was dissolved on January 26, 1937.
In an email to Stan Jennings dated July 25, 2002, George Pitchard writes about the end of operations on the Eureka Hill:
From still-extant paperwork, it is certain that the railroad was operated in 1930 - under lease - and there is an item in the Eureka Reporter, January 29, 1931, that notes two carloads of ore came down from the Dragon Consolidated to Silver City via the Eureka Hill railroad, the name of the railroad occurring in the said item. As to when the line came up---while it is possible indeed that the yard tracks were still in place in 1942, I'll bet against the larger part of the line still being intact at that date, for two reasons: one, an item in the Eureka Reporter, April 30, 1936, noting a road being built/rebuilt from Eureka through Knightsville to the Iron Blossom, which also says "The road will be constructed on the old Eureka Hill Railway bed." The second part of my reasoning is that if the line was not scrapped until 1942, when every scrap of metal was being eagerly sought, would they have left behind several tons of tie plates and spikes??? That they did leave them behind was clearly evident to myself and Sam Goodwin, when he and I walked a large part of the then-accessible grade some years back, and noted very long stretches of ties complete with tie plates and hordes of spikes, lacking only the rail for being 'complete' railroad.
One may speculate, based on the wording of the 1936 newspaper item, that at least at the upper end of the line the track/rail was already gone by that time, or one would expect a clearer reference to it being taken up to make the road at that time. I also have reason to suspect that the railroad was not transferred to International Smelting & Refining in 1926 because at March 25, 1936, 496 of the 500 shares of Eureka Hill Railway stock were owned outright by the Knight Investment Company, the remaining four shares being those legally required to be held by directors and officers - all Knight family members, of course.
Bill Morris, an old-timer in Eureka, thinks the track wasn't taken up in 1932 as has been reported. He thinks it was later in the decade, or possibly in the early 1940's. My feeling is that the track may have been abandoned in place up to the Iron Blossom Tunnel and removed from there to the Beck No. 2 shaft in 1935 or 1936 when the county was reported to be building a road on the grade. By 1936, the mines on the northern end of the Iron Blossom ore run, the Colorado and the Beck, were mined out, so there was no reason to leave the track in place. The Iron Blossom still had the potential of finding new ore reserves at the time, so leaving the track in place to that point makes sense. The Shays and, I presume, the steel hoppers were scrapped in Silver City in 1942 during the big scrap drive at the beginning of WWII. This is from Mr. June McNulty who was raised in Silver City, and as a boy watched them being cut up. (Email, Sam Bass to Don Strack, October 26, 2003)
I. E. Diehl, editor of the Mammoth Record, wrote an unpublished history of the Tintic Mining District, which included a chapter on railroads. Unfortunately, he died before he could finish the book. In that chapter, he states, "The road (Eureka Hill RR) was abandoned and in 1937 the rails were torn up and removed to Bingham." (Email, Sam Bass to Don Strack, March 29, 2004)
Isaac E. Diehl died on July 14, 1940. (Bureau of Vital Statistics. Utah Death Index, 1905-1951. Salt Lake City, UT, USA: Utah Department of Health) He was born in May 1861 in Ohio. (1900 U. S. census)
Sam Bass wrote the following on October 24, 2011:
Found something interesting while surfing the historic maps collection of the USGS. There is a copy of the Eureka quad dated 1949, scale 1:24000. It shows track still on the Eureka Hill grade to a point between the Black Jack Tunnel and the Dragon Iron Mine. Notation at the bottom says it was field checked in 1946 and 1948. Also the track is listed as D&RGW (?). I can understand the error in this case. So, it makes me wonder just what the heck was going on down there. June McNulty states that the 70 ton Shays were scrapped in 1942 and the wood hoppers were scrapped at the same time. The Kilbourne & Jacobs hoppers were off the property sometime in the '30s. I could understand leaving the line intact as far as the tunnel at the Iron Blossom #1 since I believe that there was still some exploration going on there, but why pull the track back to the point indicated unless there was some active mining going on at the Black Jack. Which begs the question, what rolling stock and motive power would have been available, the home-built converted mine motor and cars?
Locomotives and Equipment
Eureka Hill Locomotives -- Information about the four Shay locomotives used by Eureka Hill Railway.
Eureka Hill Rolling Stock -- Information about the unique cars and rolling stock used by Eureka Hill Railway.
Eureka Hill Railway -- *A Google Map of the Eureka Hill Railway, based on the 1913 USGS map of the Tintic Mining District.
(Based on research and emails from Sam Bass, Stan Jennings, and George Pitchard.)