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Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway
Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway

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This page was last updated on June 7, 2017.

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This road was incorporated in September of 1891 as the Saltair Railway. The name being changed to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway in June 1892, and again changed in October 1916 to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. The name change was to avoid confusion with the Union Pacific subsidiary Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad, which itself had been renamed from San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake RR in August 1916.

Starting out as a steam railroad, the ralroad was electrified in 1919 (the date most often given as August 4, 1919). Electric passenger operations ended in 1952. In its steam years, the railroad owned a total of three (3) steam locomotives, two bought new in the early days of the road, the third bought second-hand in 1906; all were of the 4-4-0 type.


September 6, 1891
Saltair Railway was organized. (Utah corporation index 976)

March 29, 1892
The Saltair Railroad has ordered a locomotive from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. (Salt Lake Tribune, March 29, 1892)

April 24, 1892
The Saltair Railroad has been taken over by the Salt Lake & Los Angeles road. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 24, 1892)

May 23, 1892
Engine No. 1 has arrived for Salt Lake & Los Angeles road, and setup and tested by the RGW. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 23, 1892)

May 28, 1892
Salt Lake & Los Angeles engine No. 1 is a 4-4-0, weight 45 tons, 17x24-inch cylinders, and 62-inch drivers, which are painted red. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 28, 1892)

June 1, 1892
Saltair Railway was graded almost to the beach. (Salt Lake Journal of Commerce, June 1, 1892, Volume 5, Number 14)

June 4, 1892
The Saltair Railway name was changed to Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway. (Amendment to original incorporation papers, Utah corporation index 976)

January 1, 1893
Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway operations began. (Poor's 1896 Manual of Railroads, page 346)

March 14, 1893
N. W. Clayton of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles road says that the St. Charles car company will ship in April the two combination coaches ordered for his road, and the new engine is to be shipped on 10 April. The excursion coaches are to arrive next month also. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 14, 1893)

March 29, 1893
"The two combination coaches purchased by President Clayton, of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles road, are expected to arrive from the east this week." (Salt Lake Daily Herald, March 29, 1893)

April 13, 1893
The Salt Lake and Los Angeles, heretofore using RGW passenger cars, yesterday received two new combination cars. Another locomotive, ordered some time ago, to be shipped on the 15th from the builder in the East. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 13, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"A train is run over the Saltair road every day, leaving the depot at 2 p. m. There are a good many people going out on each train, to see how the work is progressing, and a large number of tourists take advantage of it to see the waters of the famous Great Salt Lake and breathe the exilarating salt breezez." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"The Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway Company have ten excursion cars on the way to this city, and they will be here and ready for use in a few days. The cars are from the car works St. Charles, Missouri. They have another engine from the Rhode Island locomotive works which is all finished and on the way to this city. Two engines are all that will be required to run their business." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1893)

April 25, 1893
"The ten new excursion cars for use on the Saltair line arrived yesterday morning and are ready for the opening of that Saltair resort." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 26, 1893)

May 7, 1893
A large passenger engine arrived yesterday for the Salt Lake & Los Angeles, from the Rhode Island Locomotive Works. Also five passenger coaches, it says, from St. Charles; likely are excursion cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1893)

June 8, 1893
The Saltair resort officially opened this date. (Salt Lake Daily Herald, June 8, 1893)

September 19, 1893
Salt Lake & Los Angeles used RGW tracks and depot yesterday for the last time. Salt Lake & Los Angeles locos and cars not in use at present are stored in their roundhouse at the Jordan River. (Salt Lake Tribune, September 19, 1893)

January 1, 1895
Salt Lake & Los Angeles -- has so far been using the RGW depot, but is threatening to build it's own this year. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 1, 1895)

June 15, 1897
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has received four new excursion cars from St. Charles; cost nearly $20,000, are about four feet longer than the Pullman-built cars, will seat 92 persons, and are painted dark green. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 15, 1897)

January 25, 1898
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has an option to purchase the Garfield line of the OSL. (Salt Lake Daily Tribune, January 25, 1898)

July 5, 1899
The OSL loaned engine no.208 to the Salt Lake & Los Angeles for yesterday's traffic. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 5, 1899)

December 31, 1899
Salt Lake & Los Angeles have two engines and 19 cars. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 31, 1899)

February 5, 1900
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles has bought three flat cars from the OSL, to be used in hauling shale out to the resort to fill in most of the trestle/pier out to the resort. (Salt Lake Tribune, February 5, 1900)

April 12, 1900
"The Salt Lake & Los Angeles is having all its passenger cars repainted and relettered." (Salt Lake Tribune, April 12, 1900)

June 21, 1900
"Freight Cars Burned" at Salt Ponds, on the Salt Lake & Los Angeles, "at a late hour on Tuesday night," which was the 19th. Two cars were being loaded at night by salt company workers, and it is believed that they left a lit candle when they quit for the night. (Salt Lake Tribune, June 21, 1900)

July 5, 1900
"Nineteen cars were taken out in one S.L.& L.A. train. OSL engine 318 pulled it and over 2100 passengers were aboard." "The new excursion cars of the RGW were ... loaned to the Saltair people.:." (Salt Lake Tribune, July 5, 1900)

February 1910
"Central Terminal For The Saltair Road" Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway was planning on a new terminal to be located on Pierpont Street (Pierpont Avenue, about 250 South), between West Temple Street and Main Street, on the then-existing site of the McCoy stables. Tracks were to be laid from North Temple Street and First West (today's 200 West), south along First West to Pierpont Street, then east along Pierpont, across West Temple Street and into the center of the bolock between West Temple Street and Main Street. the new depot was to be located along a 50-foot frontage on Second South, just west of the Cullen Hotel. A controversy arose from adjacent land owners, the Utah Light & Railway street railroad (over whose tracks the SL&LA trains would be run), and several persons who owned homes and businesses along the route, due to increased rail traffic and noise. The plan was being presented by the railroad's owners, Mr' Langford and Mr. Nelson, who already owned the property in question. (Salt Lake Herald, February 11, 1910)

October 28, 1916
The name of the Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway was changed to Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. Of the 3,000 shares of the company, 2,996 were owned by J. E. Langford and Joseph Nelson. (Amendment to original incorporation papers, Utah corporation index 976)

January 13, 1917
The Salt Lake & Los Angeles Railway, along with the Saltair Beach Company, was sold to the new Salt Lake, Garfield & Western Railway. The purpose of the new organization was to finance the electrification of the railroad, with a new corporation being able to offer the needed $600,000 in bonds to pay for the improvements. The Saltair Beach Company passed out of existance, with the new railroad company taking full ownership and control of the resort and the railroad. (Salt Lake Telegram, January 13, 1917)

May 8, 1918
The Utah PSC denied SLG&W's application to cross the tracks of WP, LA&SL, and B&G at Garfield. An amended application was filed on March 7, 1918 asking for permission to use the B&G's sand spur crossing of the WP and LA&SL. That application was also denied. The SL,G&W was only permitted to cross the B&G's sand spur. (Thus the railroad was barred from reaching its namesake city.) On September 1, 1916 $300,000 in bonds were sold to improve and electrify the railroad. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 14; Grade Crossing Permit No. 22.)

(no date)
SL,G&W and the Inland Railway received Utah PSC approval to increase rates. "Inland Railway little more than an industry track, operated to facilitate the movement of salt to the market, no outlet, but merely connects the industries it serves with the SL,G&W." Balance sheet for the Inland Railway shows $6,840.00 investment in steam locomotives and $10,000.00 in capital stock. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 135)

October 18, 1930
SL,G&W received Utah PSC approval to discontinue passenger service to Garfield. Garfield Station on the SL,G&W is located about one mile from Garfield Townsite. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 1196)

August 1940
SL,G&W received Utah PSC approval to install a grade crossing over North Temple at 21st West for a spur to the new U. S. Army Air Base being built on 166 acres to house a Bomber Squadron. Project No. FAP 120-C, at the expense of the U. S. government. Application was filed by Salt Lake City for the U. S. government. (Public Service Commission of Utah, Case 2404)

Depot on Second South was sold.

Electric trolley service out to Saltair ceased on August 16, 1951. (Gilbert Rattenbury, via email dated January 1, 2014)

July 1954
Head-on collision; leased U. S. Steel GE center cab number 17 until Christmas 1954.

The final year for passenger service to the Saltair resort was 1958, the year it closed. (Gilbert Rattenbury, via email dated January 1, 2014)

Depot on North Temple was sold.

August 1972
SLG&W received its new D.S. 3 switcher, a GE 45-ton center cab (Extra 2200 South, Issue 38, January-February 1973, page 28)

[Photo Caption] The military's recent policy of selling equipment of a certain age, regardless of make (a troublesome 15 year old Davenport, etc., may be retained over a GE in better running condition but 30 years old), has put a number of drop-cab Caterpillar 17000 powered four motored GE 45-tonners built in 1944-1945 on the used locomotive market. Salt Lake Garfield & Western bought U. S. Army 8519 (27597, 5/44) as their D.S. 3 at Salt Lake City, shown here on January 18, 1973, joining two standard 44 ton units, D.S. 1 and D.S. 2. (Photo by Ken Ardinger)

October 1985
SLG&W received its new D.S. 7 SW9 switcher. (CTC Board, December 1985)

The SLG&W has purchased a used locomotive to help out with their motive power problems. The "new" locomotive is former BN- 160, which is an SW9. This unit had a few minor mechanical problems when deli- vered in late October by the UP, but was ready to go to work about a week after delivery. This unit will be numbered D.S. 7, and is the largest locomotive on the former interurban diesel roster. It will be painted similar to their Alco S6, the D.S. 4, but with a few modifications. The body will be white, with blue and red stripes and lettering.

The "Saltair Route" is currently in a motive power crunch due to the leasing of some of their power, and the problems with finding parts for their old GE's. The Argee Corporation, which is the contractor cleaning up the radioactive waste from that site adjacent to the D&RGW's Roper Yard in Salt Lake City, is using two of the SLG&W's locomotives in their oper- ations. At the site in Salt Lake City, ex-Army 65-ton centercab D.S. 5 is being used to shove hopper cars around. This replaces the D.S. 2, which is a former New York, Ontario and Western GE 44-ton locomotive, which was having engine problems. At Clive, which is along the former WP mainline west of the Great Salt Lake, and where the UP is hauling this waste for disposal, the 65-ton centercab D.S. 6 is being used. This left only the other 44-tonner, the D.S. 1, and the D.S. 4, which is former SP-1207, for power. The Salt Lake, Garfield and Western operates every weekday, starting about 08:00. Now with the SW9, they will use it and the Alco in a rotating schedule to switch the on-line industries, which include the large Morton Salt plant at the end of the line. Also, once or twice per week, the D.S. 4 and the new D.S. 7 will team up to haul a 30 car unit coal train from the DRGW interchange to the Utah Power and Light power plant on South Temple Street. (Ryan Ballard)

July 1988
SLG&W D.S. 7 was sold to Simplot at Don, Idaho, shipped on July 19, 1988. (Locomotive Notes II, Number 116, page 7, reported by Ryan Ballard)

Union Pacific's web site shows the following information for SLG&W:

SLG&W's current operations were summarized by Ryan Ballard on February 26, 2007:

SLG&W has three SW units, including two ex UP SW10's and a ex SP SW1200 2254, leased from Omitrax but stored at present out of service. They have good customers in an area northwest of Salt Lake in the International Center, and do switching there on Monday thru Friday. The D.S. 9 is used for the mainline train while D.S. 10 does the yard work, and is used for the mainline when D.S. 9 is down. I've never seen them MU'd together but it could happen one day if the trains get heavy enough.

Locomotives and Equipment

SLG&W Locomotives and Equipment Roster -- Roster listings of Salt Lake, Garfield & Western locomotives and equipment.

More Information

Interurbans of Utah -- Extract of Salt Lake, Garfield & Western portion of Ira Swett's Interurbans of Utah.

Corporate information -- Information about the corporate organization of the Saltair Railway.

Corporate information -- Information about the corporate organization of the SLG&W.