UtahRails.net

(This page printed from UtahRails.net, Copyright 2000-2016 Don Strack)

Utah-Idaho Central Railroad

Index For This Page

(Return To Interurbans Of Utah Index Page)

(Return to Utah-Idaho Central Railroad Index Page)

Taken from "Interurbans of Utah" by Ira Swett, pages 67-90.

Ogden Rapid Transit Company

The Utah-Idaho Central Railroad is commonly associated with that line of interurban electric railway running northerly from Ogden, Utah, to Preston, Idaho, a distance of 94.7 miles. However, at one time the UIC operated city systems in Ogden and Logan, plus interurban branch lines to Huntsville, Plain City, Quinney and North Ogden to Hot Springs and Brigham.

UIC's history is inextricably tied in with the Ogden Rapid Transit Company and the Logan Rapid Transit Company. We have taken each of these companies up separately for this reason ---both companies losing their identities in the merger which formed the Ogden, Logan and Idaho Railway Company, the immediate predecessor of the UIC.

If this sounds complicated, perhaps a clearer picture may be supplied by taking important dates as a yardstick:

16 May 1900: Ogden Rapid Transit Company incorporated.
29 Jan 1910: Logan Rapid Transit Company incorporated.
17 Oct 1914: Ogden, Logan and Idaho Railway Company incorporated.
1 Jan 1918: Utah-Idaho Central takes over.
1 Jan 1920: Ogden city lines broken away.
20 Nov 1926: New UIC RR. Co. takes control; old UIC RR. Co. sold at receiver's sale 5 Nov 1926.
24 Nov 1939: UIC RR. Corp. takes over UIC RR. Co. properties.
28 Feb 1947: Final run; company abandoned all rail operations.

In the following historical account, we will take up each of these important dates in order. First, the Ogden Rapid Transit Company.

The Ogden Rapid Transit (ORT) was organized in May, 1900, for the purpose of acquiring and operating the properties of the Ogden Electric Railway Company (OER). At the time the OER was operating only two cars: one on Washington Ave. and the other on 25th St. The company's other cars were unfit for service. At midnight on Saturday, May 19, 1900, the ORT began operation.

The ORT from its inception was an Eccles company. David Eccles, head of the family and wealthiest man in northern Utah, was the founder and heaviest investor, and throughout the history of the ORT and the UIC, the name of Eccles was never missing from the board of directors. Other Eccles corporations, such as the Amalgamated Sugar Company, took heavy blocks of stock in the Eccles railway companies and even extended this influence to the SL&U after its 1938 reorganization.

The ORT rapidly put the old lines of the OER into first-class condition. The main line was Washington Ave., with branches at every other street. Washington Ave. was double-tracked from 19th to 23rd Streets in July, 1900, and a branch to Glenwood Park was opened (later extended up into Ogden Canyon).

As of March 31, 1909, the system of the ORT had grown to:

Washington Line
36th to 25th 1.5  
25th to North City Limits 3.3 4.8
25th St. Line
Depot to Washington Ave. 0.4  
Washington to East End 1.3 1.7
22nd St. Line
Depot to Washington Ave. 0.4  
25th to 22nd 0.4  
Washington to East End 1.0 1.8
Mouth of Canyon Line
Depot to 25th and Wash. 0.4  
25th to Canyon Road 1.2  
Washington to Canyon Mouth 2.4 4.0
Hot Springs Line
25th to City Limits 3.3  
City Limits to Hot Spa 6.9 10.2
Fair Grounds Line
25th to 17th 1.1  
Washington to Fair Grounds 0.4 1.5
Total mileage   24.0

O.R.T. Destination Signs, 1914:

Freight Hauling

ORT actively entered the freight business early; its first local freight tariff bore the date June 15, 1910 and excerpts are of interest:

"ORT will not receive carload freight loaded to exceed 60,000 lbs."

"Freight will not be received in foreign cars for transportation between Canyon Road and Five Points, nor for points on Canyon Line, unless equipped with inside hung brakes and unless there is sufficient clearance between under sills and trucks to permit truck to swing freely under car on sharp curves."

ORT had a small fleet of freight cars at the time it was merged with LRT to form OL&I. This fleet included flat cars, dump cars and box cars, plus one electric locomotive.

Power Supply: ORT manufactured its own power in its steam plant located on Washington between 19th and 20th until 1907. It sold power to business houses and theaters of Ogden, but obsolescence caused the company to purchase its 600-volt power from Utah Light and Railway Company after January 1, 1907.

Barn and Shops: ORT's car barn and shops were located on Washington between 19th and 20th Streets. A roundhouse was maintained for two small steamers used to Plain City or infrequently to Ogden Canyon and North Ogden.

Later History, ORT: Former ORT lines were operated as part of the OL&I-UIC system until January 1, 1920, when the Ogden city lines and the Canyon line were taken over by a new Eccles corporation, UTAH RAPID TRANSIT COMPANY. (URT was incorporated in Delaware on September 29, 1919 and purchased the ex-ORT Ogden city lines and the Canyon line for 9,000 shares of stock; URT took over operation of the lines on January 1, 1920.)

In 1936 URT entered receivership, and on December 5, 1936 the company's assets were sold at a receiver's sale. A new company, OGDEN TRANSIT COMPANY, incorporated in Delaware on December 7, 1936 acquired the URT properties on December 15, 1936. However, all rail operations in Ogden had been abandoned on December 26, 1935.

Operations

One rainy night the Superintendent came out to a merchandise train at the foot of a grade and told the crew to cut off the caboose so as to be able to make the grade. A boomer brakeman got mad and said, "No crummy, I quit." He held out his lantern to the Super and it was refused; so he whirled it three times around his head and lot go.

Poles on Washington Ave., Ogden, were too close to the east track, so freights ran on the west track. One day two doors fell off a cattle car and came to rest on the other track. When the freight train arrived in Ogden, not one sheep was missing, but the streetcars were stopped from 7th to 13th.

One time a train loaded with steel was coming down 25th St., Ogden; hand brakes were tightened, but a link in the chain broke and away she rolled .... down across Washington Ave. to the U.P. Station.

Another time in Logan a steam dinkey was pulling two cars of fencing and gate material up a hill instead of pushing them, as the rules stated. The cars broke loose and car 38 (which was following) was warned in time. The motorman ran back through the 38, got her to rolling backward, and got part way around a sharp corner when the runaways nicked the rear platform. 38 ended up between two trees, while the freight cars let loose all over the area. It is believed that staples can still be found in neighborhood lawns.

A head-on meet between a freight and passenger occurred when a freight extra, southbound with five Bamberger open trailers, met a 100 Class car an a curve south of Harrisville. The 100 Class was "probably scrapped." A hand-operated block gave protection; power was so low the motorman of the 100 couldn't see the light, so pulled lever and proceeded.

Ogden Canyon Line

Almost due east of Ogden, the Ogden River emerges from one of the deepest, most beautiful canyons in all Utah. An appreciative populace had long included this canyon in its list of "must sees" and a vehicle road of sorts was built prior to 1910. Cottages and at least one resort hotel, "The Hermitage", preceded the electric railway into the canyon. With the advent of electric traction, Ogden Canyon was a natural objective.

Simon Bamberger, who owned The Hermitage, desired such a line; so did the Ogden Rapid Transit Company, backed by the Eccles family. Bamberger acted by surveying and grading an extension from his Lincoln Ave. line in Ogden eastward toward the canyon's mouth. ORT acted by extending its line already in service to a sanitarium near the mouth of the canyon. ORT had the inside track, and Bamberger reluctantly withdrew,. abandoning his virtually completed grade.

The ORT Ogden Canyon line was built from the mouth in as far as The Hermitage in 1909, and was placed in service in the summer of that year. The line was extended to Huntsville in 1915.

We quote from the "Electric Railway Journal" for November 12, 1910:

"The most interesting portion of the system (ORT) is the line that was put in service a year ago last summer in the canyon of the Ogden River. This canyon has long been famed among tourists as well as among the residents of Utah for its exceptional scenic features. The lower end of the canyon is particularly rugged and picturesque and the few spots where it widens out have been utilized for resorts, camping sites and summer homes. About two years officials of ORT, realizing the possibilities of the canyon as a revenue producer, began the construction of a line to The Hermitage, a popular hotel and resort in the canyon.

"The company was already operating a branch to a sanitarium near the mouth of the canyon. This line was extended along the bank of the river and for the most part on the side opposite the wagon road. For the greater portion of the distance the roadbed had to be blasted out of solid rock, and concrete banks and walls had to be built to hold the grade. Nearly all the post holes for the trolley line also had to be prepared by blasting. A fair idea of the heavy construction necessary may be gained from the fact that the 3 miles of line in the canyon cost $100,000.

"The total length of the line from the Union Depot in Ogden is 7 miles and in that distance the road rises 700 ft. to a 5000-ft. elevation at the upper end. The maximum grade is 4%, and this extends for a distance of about 2000 ft. The prevailing grade is 2-3/4%, and the maximum curvature is 30 degrees. There are not many cuts in the line, but such as have been made have also required fills of rock, the deepest of them being about 16 ft. The line crosses the river three different times in the canyon, at one point by means of an 80-ft., steel plate girder bridge. Rails weighing 48 lb. are used, and five sidings are provided so that a 10-minute headway can be maintained if desired.

"Side bracket suspension is used for the trolley with Ohio Brass fittings and No. 00 trolley wire. The line is fed from the central station in Ogden by means of five No. 0000 feeders, three of which run through to the end of the line.

"The heaviest traffic which has been handled by the road during any single day was on July 4 last, when 7000 passengers were carried. The average Sunday and holiday travel numbers about 1800 passengers, with half that number during weekdays. These figures apply to the months of June, July and August during which a 20-minute headway is maintained. During the winter months the schedule is extended to 1 hr. and 20 minutes.

"It is planned next year to extend the line 8 miles farther up the canyon to Ogden Valley, touching the Idlewild and Oaks resorts, and reaching the towns of Huntsville, Eden and Liberty in the valley above. This extension will entail nearly as heavy construction as that of the part now in operation."

ORT ordered its 100 Class from the St. Louis Car Company especially for the Ogden Canyon line. The 100s were what we popularly call "suburban" cars, but at that time they were much larger and heavier than anything ORT had previously operated. They were equipped with smoking compartments, toilets and seated 46. They were capable of train operation and had Tomlinson couplers. Two unique open roof observation cars were rebuilt from older cars by ORT for use in the Canyon; these were cars 16 and 17, out shopped in 1913.

The extension to Huntsville was not completed until October, 1915, by which time ORT had become a part of the Ogden, Logan and Idaho Railway Company. The Hermitage-Idlewild segment was added in 1910.

The Ogden Canyon line usually ran fourth among all ORT lines in number of miles run and car hours, but returned a proportionately greater total in passenger earnings. It was a poor last of ORT's freight lines; freight consisted of supplies up, agriculture down.

After the big steel interurban cars of the OL&I (UIC) 500 Class were delivered, they saw service on the Canyon line when loads were heavy. Thus the Eccles home town of Huntsville was occasionally served by the finest in Interurban equipment, all out of proportion to its size or importance.

Many interesting anecdotes are found in old-timers' recollections of the line; two follow:

One stormy night a car went out of control, jumped the track and fell into the river. Its motorman, Walt Reed, was thrown into the swollen stream. All night long cars ran up and down the line with arc headlights blazing in a futile search for his body. It was found the next day, a half mile downstream.

On another occasion, the annual stockholders meeting resulted in a plethora of cars on the line. Officials, eager to make a good impression, ordered a subordinate to do what he would with older cars, but "Get' em out of sight". Anxious to please, he ordered every ancient car up into the Canyon, where they hid until the last stockholder left town.

Passenger service into the Canyon dwindled with the advent of a paved road and dependable automobiles. When competition became too great, UIC suspended passenger service (about 1932); freight service continued until the end of 1935 and was considerably aided in the waning years by the hauling of supplies to the Ogden Dam. When the dam was completed, it backed up water enough to inundate more than a mile of the electric railway. The end officially came for the Ogden Canyon line simultaneously with the ending of all local lines in Ogden: December 26, 1935.

To obtain a description of the electric railway up Ogden Canyon to Huntsville, let us take an imaginary ride on one of the trains. The date is July 4, 1916; we join the other pleasure seekers in holiday mood as they make their way to the waiting four car train, standing in the street in front of the Union Pacific Depot at 25th and Wall Streets, Ogden.

Our train consists of four cars of the 100 series: a motor and a trailer, and another motor and trailer --- all coupled up together to accommodate the huge crowd.

Slowly our train gains momentum; after rolling three blocks we cross the double tracks of the Bamberger road and stop in the street in front of the large waiting room. Baggage and express trucks meet us, loaded with express from points both north and south which had arrived on other interurbans.

With a lusty "All Aboard" from our busy conductor, we slowly grind our way up to the main street in town and turn north onto Washington Ave. This is a busy street but our long train begins to pick up speed, and after eight or nine blocks more the traffic begins to thin out.

Suddenly there is an application of our brakes and the train cuts across the curbing to make a right angle turn and return to the center of the new street --- Canyon Blvd.--- on single track. Already we can catch glimpses of the jagged mountains, but three miles away. After another mile and a half, our motorman begins to relax and lets up on the whistle as we enter private right of way. It seems we are doing at least 60!

Orchards now line the track, and a cactus can occasionally be seen. Soon the lead car leans to the left and then turns, and we are paralleling the cold clear waters of the Ogden River.

A tap on the shoulder --- and the conductor wants his fare. We happily pay him the 70 cents required to make the round trip to Huntsville.

Now and then the train affords glimpses of the canyon entrance which at first looks like a huge, forbidding gash in the rocks. Now we are at Canyon Entrance, where we see the regular local car waiting for us. The local car runs every 45 minutes. Now the grade quickens and suddenly the hot sun disappears as our train screams and squeals around a sharp left turn into the mouth of the canyon. On our left we can hardly stoop low enough to see the blue sky above the protruding boulders, and a beautiful man-made waterfall falls close beside us, almost falling on the roof.

Almost before our fourth car is in the canyon, we are forced to cross a sturdy steel bridge to the narrow shelf of rock on the opposite bank of the roaring, crashing river. After a short while we cross back again and here we feel a little safer as there is enough space between us and the river for a few hardy trees to grow. There is a smile on your face as you decide to classify this canyon as a medium sized Royal Gorge.

The train is slowing rapidly now, due to the steep, winding grade. Ahead of us is a sign reading "Peery's." In a few moments another sign appears, "Fairmont", and we begin to realize that there are a few cabins and cottages here and there in the slightly widening valley. Another sign reads "Lewis" and still another says "Pinetree."

Again, we hear the two shots of air in the communication line and see the rope tighten as the conductor pulls hard in the rear of the car. Just listen to those four big traction motors --- feel the gentle swaying --- smell the fresh, invigorating mountain air! We are now almost one mile high. Our eyes close contentedly and we listen to the interurban at work: the trolley wheels shearing and hissing at the wire, wheels biting into the rails at each curve, the pleasant throbbing of the air compressor.

Suddenly the conductor calls out, "Hermitage." Immediately there is an uproar. There are swarms of lunch baskets being brought down from the luggage racks and from beneath seats. This is where the line terminated from its construction until 1910 and we see many summer cottages, a picnic ground, hiking trails, a dance floor, and just everything to make a picnic perfect. Your conductor, a friendly soul, advises you to run up ahead a ways to get a good picture of the train as it approaches; you do so, and as you near the spot he must've meant, you are amazed to see the right of way hewn out of a precipitous cliff. The massive rocks even extend out over the trolley wire. This must have cost quite a sum to build. Here comes the train, and the motorman slows down to enable you to swing aboard the front end. Onward we go, deeper into the mountains.

Now the number of trees increases, and there is plenty of grass and chaparral. Again our train crosses the river --- now a much calmer stream---and we stop before a large rustic lodge which we note is named "Idlewild." At this point a large number of passengers leaves us.

Onward we go; now we arrive at "Wells" which has one of the most popular picnic grounds in the county; here too we see the artesian wells from which the place takes its name. We note that now only a handful of passengers are left, and in front of us there seems to be quite a bit of farm land. The canyon has come to the cup part of the funnel; all around us we note snow-capped mountains reaching almost two miles into the clear sky.

As our train approaches mile post 14, we see a small cluster of farm homes and a few stores and barns. Shortly we are on level ground and note an electric locomotive with its capacity train of seven cars which had come in during the late afternoon before the holiday. Our motorman tells us there is a limit of five cars on the downhill run. As our train draws alongside one of the larger buildings in the town we realize that here is the end of the line. This is Huntsville.

We accompany the train crew to the general store in which the interurban station is incorporated as a sort of a side business. As we wait for time to arrive for the return trip, our motorman volunteers a few interesting observations on the new line. The Ogden Canyon line was completed to Huntsville on October 14, 1915 and is unquestionably the most scenic and costliest interurban line in the state. We ask him how the line was expected to pay --- and receive this most interesting answer:

"Oh, it probably wouldn't but the man who built it, Mr. Eccles, was raised here in Huntsville and wanted his home village to have a sample of the world's finest transportation"

The conductor mentions that downhill freights have to stop at Hermitage to get up enough air to continue on down into Ogden safely, and that 600 volts in the wires doesn't make for extraordinary operation up the hill. Automatic block signals control the line to make the three daily round trips to Huntsville safe.

And so we boarded the train, to make the return trip down the steep canyon.

Logan Rapid Transit Company

The Logan Rapid Transit Company was organized on January 29, 1910 and was capitalized at $500,000. At the time of consolidation (in 1914) it operated 11.9 miles of electric railway in Logan and Cache County. (from Smithfiled on the north, to Providence on the south)

An excellent picture of the company is to be found in the annual report of its secretary for the year ending December 31, 1913, from which we quote:

"This company has served the public well and given its stockholders dividends from year to year of 8%. Its lines have been extended as far north as Smithfield and as far south as Providence (this branch has been a paying proposition from the start).

"Your company has in operation three fully equipped cars of modern type and also a trail car.

"During the life of the Logan system the company's cars have traveled a distance of 102,200 miles and carried 1,146,617 passengers who have paid the sum of $57,330.

"The system known as the 'Interurban' operating between the towns of Smithfield and Providence has paid the company $23,042. Its cars have traveled 58,660 miles and have carried 181,864 passengers."

The cars mentioned were Nos. 1 and 2, built by Cincinnati in 1910 for ORT, and #38, also from Ogden, and built by St. Louis in 1910. The trailer was #101, built by American in 1910 and purchased from ORT when new. It completed the passenger car roster, but there were also a work car (#302), a flat car and two gravel cars, both from ORT.

The car barn was a frame building 28 by 100, with a 50 foot pit, two tracks in barn, one along the outside. A brick substation 14 by 17 housed an Allis-Chalmers motor-generator which took AC current at 2300 volts (three phase) and converted it to 600 v. DC.

The local line started at the Oregon Short Line Depot (Union Pacific) and ran 18 blocks to the Utah Agricultural College, a little more than two miles. There were two sidings, one at either terminus, while at the OSL Depot there was a track connection with the steam road.

The Smithfield Line ran from 6th East and 4th North to Smithfield, 7.4 miles.

The South Main St. line consisted of about 5-1/2 blocks of track.

Trolley wire and feeders were both 0000 on the interurban, while the city line used 00 wire for trolleys and feeders.

Comparison of Lines: The two lines of LRT were officially known as the "Logan Branch" which was the line in Logan, and the "Smithfield Branch" which was the interurban line between Smithfield and Providence via Logan. The Logan Branch comprised the entire operation prior to September 1912, but the Smithfield Branch from its first complete month of operation (October, 1912) surpassed the local line in receipts consistently. The Logan Branch averaged in the neighborhood of $1,200 monthly, while the Smithfield Branch jumped to a solid $1400 per month. For some obscure reason, Loganites' riding fell off badly every August; in 1912, the net earning for August was but $72.38, a drop of $600 from the previous month and $900 less than the following month. This interesting quirk failed to repeated on the Smithfield Branch; its riders apparently saw no reason for not patronizing the cars in August just as in every other month.

LRT was quite a profitable undertaking for the Eccles interests. In the four year period ending December 31, 1913, the net yearly earnings were: 1910, $8,180; 1911, 7,1.43; 1912, $10,923; 1913; $1,4,388. Total dividends for this period were $10,356!

In late 1914 and in 1915 rails were extended south from Providence to Wellsville, 11.5 miles from Logan, and north from Smithfield to Preston, 27 miles north of Logan. This gave the Logan operation a main line of 38.7 miles, serving a population of less than 23,000 people.

The building of the connection between Wellsville and Brigham was completed in 1915, and on October 27th of that year through interurban service was inaugurated between Ogden and Preston. In as much as the interurban was operated at a 1500-v. pressure, certain changes had to be made in the substation and city cars. Each car received two Westinghouse 543-A-6 750-1500 volt motors, connected permanently in series and controlled by R-200 double end equipment.

City car #2 on May 11, 1916, ran away while its motorman was in the station. He chased the car but failed to catch it, and the only passenger jumped without injury. Near the end of track the car jumped the rails and ended up on a lawn against a large tree, pulling down considerable trolley wire. For several hours interurban trains through the area were hauled by steam engines.

The automobile killed off patronage of the local line to such an extent that by 1924 UIC gave up and substituted two gas buses.

Ogden, Logan & Idaho Railway

The predecessor company of the UIC, the Ogden, Logan and Idaho Railway Company, was formed in May, 1914, by merging the Ogden Rapid Transit Company and the Logan Rapid Transit Company, both Eccles corporations.

At that time, the lines of the ORT were:

1. Washington Ave. from 36th St. to the north city limits 4.8 m.
2. Wall Ave. from 33rd St. to 24th, to Washington 1.5  
3. 25th St. from Wall to Polk 1.9  
4. Jefferson from 25th to 27th to Van Buren 1.0  
5. 23rd St. from, Washington to Harrison to 24th 1.2  
6. 22nd from Washington to Adams to 21st to Van Buren 1.0  
7. 17th St. from Washington to Fair Grounds 0.4  

In addition to these city lines, ORT ran the following suburban lines:

1. Washington Ave. extension to Hot Springs 6.1
2. Brigham line, via 2nd St., Harrisville, Hot Springs, Willard 19.1
3. Plain City from Harrisville 0.5
4. Ogden Canyon 7.0
5. Brigham city line, from Main and Forest Ave. on Forest Ave. to the OSL (UP) Depot 0.7
Total Milage 45.2

Lines operated by the Logan Rapid Transit Company at the time were:

1. City line, from 6th West St. and Center via Main, 4th North, Sixth East (one block) 2.3
2. Logan to Providence 1.5
3. Logan to Smithfield 7.4
Total Milage 11.2

The articles of incorporation of the new company (OL&I) listed three new lines which were to be built immediately:

1. Brigham to Providence 44.0
2. Smithfield to Preston, Idaho 21.0
3. Idlewild to Huntsville 6.0
Total Milage 71.0

Thus it will be seen that the chief job of the new company was to link up already existing suburban lines to form the main trunk line which the Eccles interests hoped eventually to extend to Yellowstone Park.

The extension from the Ogden country into the Cache Valley could have followed any one of three practicable routes: (1) By building up Ogden Canyon to Huntsville, thence over the divide to Logan; this route offered easy grades and was the shortest (45 miles). (2) The central route via Brigham, Mantua and Wellsville Canyon, 48 miles. (3) The Collinston-Bear River Canyon route, 64 long miles. OL&I surveying parties made maps of all three routes; feelings ran high in the towns involved, and special efforts were made by all three parties to secure free right-of-way for the interurban. Finally the OL&I made its decision: to build over Collinston Divide, paralleling the UP-OSL and utilizing the old roadbed of the abandoned steam narrow-gauge line, the Utah and Northern Railroad. OL&I officials felt that while the Collinston route was almost twenty miles longer, the fact that it tapped a number of important towns and crossed the rich Bear River Valley would add greatly to the possibility of traffic.

Once the route between Ogden and Logan was chosen, contracts were let and work got under way. The Utah Construction Company was the successful bidder, and its men and equipment were augmented by equipment leased from the OSL and SP. The attention of the builders was first concentrated on the 21 miles separating Smithfield and Preston. With the completion of this link, UCC crews were moved south and worked from Providence southward. as far as Wellsville, the going was easy, but the difficult construction up and over Collinston Divide took somewhat longer. The linking up with the Ogden network of tracks occurred at Brigham and the completion of the entire Ogden-Preston line was celebrated on October 27, 1915, although the first through train operated on October 14th.

The first timetable showed 16 trains per day each way between Ogden and Preston with two more between Ogden and Brigham. Time for the run to Preston was five hours northbound, 4 hours and 50 minutes southbound. Of note is the fact that the first of the 500 Class steel interurban cars were placed in service between Providence and Preston some time earlier than the official opening of the through service, probably March, 1915.

OL&I decided on a trolley pressure of 1500 volts in order to economize on the number of substations required. This meant it would be necessary to convert local service in Logan and Brigham to the higher voltage, but Ogden streetcars and Ogden Canyon were kept at their original 600 volts. Power was purchased from a private company and was converted to 1500 volts DC at four new substations: 17th and Lincoln in Ogden, Hot Springs, Dewey, and Smithfield.

A notable feature of the construction of the OL&I was the substantial nature of the stations constructed in the larger cities. The stations were of brick and concrete, and were located as follows: Ogden, Willard, Brigham, Mendon, Wellsville, Hyrum, Logan, Richmond, Lewiston and Preston. In later years a neon sign in the form of the UIC'S emblem blazed over each station. The most impressive of these stations was the one at Logan, which cost $20,000.

Three car barns were considered adequate; the largest was the one at Ogden---at 17th and Lincoln, on the site of the old fairgrounds. Here, OL&I built a brick car house of sufficient capacity to accommodate every car it owned. Adjacent were its shops. also very complete and equipped with all tools and machines necessary to keep the cars in first class condition. Later a large yard was constructed in the rear of the shops. Small car barns were maintained at North Logan and at Preston.

The adjustment from a suburban system to an interurban system required certain track changes: in Logan, the jog made by city cars through the heart of town was eliminated by new track straight through town on Main Street, rejoining the old line near Hyde Park. The completely new line from Ogden to Brigham required connections to the old line for the purpose of allowing freight from the old line to be handled more efficiently via the new line; such a connection was constructed from Five Points due west to join the new line, and the old Brigham line was abandoned soon after.

Original Brigham Line

At this point it is pertinent to bring in the history of the original line between Ogden and Brigham. On December 9, 1890, the Ogden and Hot Springs Railway and Health Resort Company received a franchise for a railway from the north end of Washington Ave. to North Ogden, thence north and west to Hot Springs. The line was built and operated by steam dummy power. The Ogden and Northwestern Railroad Company was incorporated on October 3, 1903, and purchased the older company. The O&NW was an Eccles company and electrification took place about 1907, when the O&NW extended the line from Hot Springs to Brigham, seven miles. On June 22, 1911, O&NW conveyed the line to ORT, which operated it until absorbed into OL&I.

Plain City Line

This was built as an O&NW branch. The franchise was granted on March 8, 1909 for a line from the north city limits of Ogden through Harrisville, Farr West to Plain City for the "operation of a steam railroad." $48,000 was spent by the Eccles interests in 1909 in building the line. A 15-ton Baldwin steam dummy was the motive power, and the passengers rode in a 200 Class wood trailer. In 1916 this branch was electrified, and in 1918 it was extended to Warren at a cost of $5,000 per mile.

Quinney Branch

A line from Sugarton to Kent was built in 1916 as a private, two-mile spur. In 1918, the nine miles between Kent and Quinney were built, later extended to Thaine. This was done by the Cache Valley Railroad Company, another Eccles enterprise. In March, 1919, the CVR was consolidated with the UIC. The Quinney Branch was for freight only, although a two-car school train ran over it throughout its lifetime. This was run at cost and made no profit for the UIC. The Quinney Branch opened up a large area for agricultural purposes, and was unique in being the only part of the UIC system which did not have to compete with the OSL for traffic. Its outstanding feature was the very large steel bridge over the Bear River north of Quinney.

Corporate History

Local Operations

In addition to the Ogden and Logan local streetcar operations, OL&I (and the later UIC) also provided local rail service for a short time in Brigham. This was converted to bus quite early; records are indefinite, but one source says 1919. The Logan streetcars were succeeded by two buses in 1924. This marked the end of local rail passenger service, as the Ogden lines were broken away in 1920.

OL&I Line Comparisons

October 17, 1914 to June 30, 1915:

Line Passenger Earnings
Washington Ave. 1,026,229 $ 45,753
27th St. 165,721 7,600
25th St. 315,561 14,167
23rd St. 237,611 10,857
21st St. 290,054 13,356
Fair Grounds
(in operation 2 months)
1,271 61
Canyon-Huntsville 71,886 7.,669
North Ogden 103,048 5,365
Plain City 33,537 6,314
Brigham Interurban 220,554 47,460
Brigham Local 31,962 1,685
Logan Interurban 249,904 40,670
Logan Local 162,143 7,957
Totals 2,909,481 $208,717

OL&I Work Under Way

October 17, 1914 to June 30, 1915:

Logan Extension $753,827
Huntsville Extension 69,227
Ogden Terminal 27,369
Lincoln Avenue Extension 29,309
Harrisville-Hot Springs Cut-off 12,383
Plain City 190
North Ogden-Pleasant View 502
New Ogden Car House 22
New Equipment 29,482
Ogden City Work 117
Ogden Canyon Work 2,262
Brigham Car Barn 335
Washington Ave., north city limits to North Ogden 146
Miscellaneous 4,724
Total $ 929,901

Utah Idaho Central Railroad

UIC Timetable Notes

SPEED REGULATIONS: Passenger trains will not exceed 15 miles per hour and freight trains 10 mph on Plain City and Warren Branches, and passenger trains 20 mph and freight trains 15 mph on Quinney Branch.

Passenger trains will not exceed 55 and freight trains 35 mph at any point.

All trains must approach spring switches under control, so motorman can see position of switch points. Speed must not be increased until entire train has passed over switch. Freight motors running light will not exceed 20 mph at any point.      

City speed ordinances: Brigham and Wellsville, 12 mph; Logan, Hyde Park, 15 mph; Hyrum, 20 mph. Speed through all towns must be under CONTROL and public crossing whistle sounded approaching every street crossing except Logan where it will be sounded in emergency only.

RAILROAD CROSSINGS: Railroad crossings are located at the following points: D&RGW freight yard on Lincoln Ave., Ogden; trains using this crossing in both directions must do so under flag. Reduce speed to 10 mph over railroad crossings at American Can Factory, Ogden, Browning and Harrisville. Stop before crossing over UP tracks at Becker's Brewery, Ogden. Olida southbound only. UP at Preston; trains will use this crossing in both directions under flag. While passing under UP at Merrills all trains will run under control.

STANDARD CLOCKS: Ogden, Brigham, Logan and Preston.

REGISTER STATIONS: Ogden, Preston, and Ogden Car Barns

BULLETIN BOOKS: Ogden, Logan, Preston Ogden Car Barns.

ADDITIONAL SIDINGS OR SPURS:

Main Line Mile Post Capacity  
Beaton 37.8 5 car spur  
Beaver Dam 43.52 2 car spur  
Rock Spur 65.2 10 car spur  
Winn   73.617 17 car spur
Idaline   87.2 12 car spur
Beckstead 92.7 23 car spur  

Quinney Branch:

Cunningham D 2.1 19 car spur  
Kent   D 2.9 32 car siding
Mills   D 4.3 23 car spur
Wheeler D 4.8 14 car spur  
Bullen   D 5.2 34 car spur
Litz   D 7.7 13 car spur
Litz   D 7.7 23 car siding
Hurren D 8.6 24 car siding  
Thaine   D 14.0 6 car spur
Quinney D 11.8 30 car spur  

Plain City Branch:

Harrisville C 0.0 6 car siding
Farr West C 1.9 13 car siding
Beet Dump C 4.5 29 car spur
Randall C 5.2 6 car spur
Lyman C 5.6 17 car spur
Warren C 7.0 15 car spur

Bus Operation

In order to prevent possible competition, UIC began the operation of buses between Ogden and Preston in 1924, when three intercity type coaches were purchased. The buses closely paralleled the rail service except that they ran via Mantua, eliminating about 16 miles and enabling them to better the interurbans' by 16 minutes between Brigham and Wellsville. The buses operated after rail abandonment and were finally taken over by Burlington Trailways in June 1947.

Abandonment

1947 saw the abandonment and uprooting of the entire UIC system. Perhaps this was to have been expected, for the UIC's 125 right-of-way miles served a population of only 80,000 --- of which Ogden accounted for slightly, more than half. Only 36,000 people lived along the UIC in 1946 --- less than 400 people per mile. When paved highways and highly integrated bus and truck competition developed, there could be but one result: the end of UIC as a rail operation.

On December 20, 1946, UIC asked the Interstate Commerce Commission for authority to abandon its entire line. UIC's application said the company had been operating at a loss of $237,664 from 1943 through the first ten months of 1946. "There is no prospect that sufficient additional revenue can be obtained to meet the corporation's operating charges, which are increasing, taxes, and other costs and expenses," the application said.

A petition for receivership of the road had been filed the previous day in Federal Court in Salt Lake City in behalf of the First Security Trust Company which claimed a first lien of $289,280. Federal Judge Tillman D. Johnson appointed S. J. Quinney (he also axed SL&U) receiver.

At the time, UIC was down to one rail round trip between Ogden and Preston; this left Ogden at 9:30 AM and returned at 8:20 PM.

The coal strike and consequent loss of considerable coal traffic undoubtedly hastened the demise of UIC. Passenger traffic had been considerably reduced when the Utah Public Service Commission granted franchises to a competitor by the name of Cook and also to Union Pacific Stages to carry people between points north of Ogden (not including Ogden) to and from Salt Lake City.

Judge Johnson on February 13 issued an order suspending operations of the rail line effective 12:01 AM Sunday, February 16, 1947. Thus Saturday, February 15, was the last day of UIC's interurban life. Old time UIC men seemed almost to sense a hesitance on the part of the green-and-white interurban car as it pulled out of the Ogden Terminal that last morning with Motorman Jessop of Ogden at the controls; Jessop had ridden the first car to Preston in 1914, and he had the distinction of running the last car there. The old car rolled back into Ogden Terminal that evening, and the UIC and the car rolled to a final stop together.

However, the UIC's bus operations were unaffected by the rail abandonment; they kept on until leased by Quinney to Burlington Trailways in April, which company later purchased the operation outright when the Court finally permitted the sale of UIC assets.

The Bamberger Railroad entered into a temporary agreement with Quinney under which BRR provided emergency switching service to a half-dozen industries served by UIC in Ogden; trolley voltage was cut to 750 on Lincoln Ave. to 17th St. to permit BRR engines to perform this service.

The ICC hearing on the abandonment plea took place in Ogden on May 5 and its final decision was handed down a month later. In part the decision read: "Aside from operating losses, the line is in need of rehabilitation, for which large expenditures will be required. Its abandonment might inconvenience or damage some shippers and require others to incur additional charges for trucking transportation or expend substantial sums of money for the construction or rearrangement of industrial tracks or sidings, but continued operation at financial losses would impose an undue burden upon the applicant and upon interstate commerce." The ICC thereupon authorized UIC to abandon its entire rail line.

Hyman-Michaels Company took on the job of scrapping the rail line and rolling stock; work progressed rapidly: a light diesel locomotive powered the rail-pulling train, while cars were burned at Ogden Shops. Here are some "lasts" for your records:

1. Last passenger train: 15 Feb 47

2. Last freight train. 28 Feb 47

3. Last car, any type: 18 Mar 47 (051)

89 UIC steel gondolas of the 1000 Class were sold to other railroads; the remainder of UIC's rolling stock was scrapped, although (records are unreliable) it is possible that one or two electric locomotives were sold for continued use.

Little of UIC's trackage was kept for continued railroad use. Bamberger bought about half a mile on Lincoln Ave., Ogden, including the spur into the American Can Company; The Mormon Church, through its Ogden Welfare Association, purchased the UIC's car barn and the trackage north from the American Can Company spur to 7th St., Ogden, which Bamberger served under agreement. The remainder of the UIC's properties were sold to miscellaneous bidders to complete the dismantling of what had been an exemplary interurban system.

A Ride On The Utah Idaho Central

Want to ride the UIC from Ogden all the way to Preston? Actually it's impossible--but in memory we can and will.

We enter the dim old Ogden Terminal, walk up to the ticket counter and buy our round-trip ticket to Preston, 94 miles north. If there were five in our party, we could buy a 1000-mile interline ticket book and each of us could then make the ride for about $4.00 each. We walk back through the long narrow building and out the back door, where we are greeted by the sight of a half-dozen assorted Bamberger and UIC interurban cars. It's a nippy winter day in late November, but the sun is trying its best to warm the air. In the sparkling freshness of the weather the big electric cars look wonderful, although we must admit that here and there a dent or bad paint is accentuated by the crystalline clarity. It's 9:45 AM, and our train, #3, is about ready to leave. The train consists of motor car 506 and trailer 602; the motor car has been given the striking green-silver modernized paint job with the sunburst front end, while the trailer seemingly hasn't been painted for years, but gives the effect of having once been Pullman green. We find our seat in the smoking compartment of the 602, two whistles rend the air, and we start to roll.

Our train turns north on Lincoln Ave. and at 23rd St. we pass into 1500-volt territory.

At 17th St., just to our left, we see the capacious red brick car house and shops of the UIC, said to have been built to hold every car of the OL&I and URT companies. We pass onto private way at this point and pass the bone yard behind the shops. Many interurban cars are seen in various states of disrepair. Some have obviously been robbed to keep more fortunate cars running, while others have just as obviously been in bad accidents. A general air of decay pervades the scene, and we are not sorry to have it pass into the background.

Speed picks up to about fifty, the maximum free running speed of UIC motor cars. Just as we round the first curve we pass the point where once there was a branch over to Five Points, connecting with the last bit of ORT trackage. ORT's old line to Brigham was succeeded by the more direct route on which we are how riding in 1915, but the highway alongside which the original line ran can be seen from time to time. A mile more and we apparently cross another interurban line but merely the Plain City Branch of UIC -- which originally came across from Five Points on the old main line; when the new Line was opened, that portion between Five Points and Harrisville (where it crosses the new line) was abandoned. Because the U.P. tracks are hard alongside us to the left, it was necessary to build the connection on the right of our line, making it necessary to back in and cross the main to get to Plain City.

The next point of note is an old stucco station at Hot Springs; this structure no longer in use. To our right beyond the station is the highway where the old mainline once ran, and a few feet beyond this is an ancient lava flow formation which gave vent to the Hot Springs. The torturous old ORT line on the east side of the highway ran right to the edge of the mountains, following all the ins and outs and ups and downs. Here at Hot Springs, the old and new rights-of-way part company and never come together again until Brigham is reached. The UIC's "limited" route (as it was called when first built) runs straight and direct through the fields, coming at one point within two blocks of the Great Salt Lake on the left, while on the right jagged mountainous rocks jut many hundreds of feet into the sky.

We are nearing Brigham now, and the Bushnell Army Hospital comes into view. We enter Brigham from the south and head due north (as we will in almost all other towns today; Utah towns were laid out to square with the compass). We get a glimpse of a spur cutting off to ;he right to reach a large gravel pit at the base of the hills, then pull up before the Brigham Station, a neat brick building; UIC also has a coal house, a tool house, a gravel unloading plant and the residence of its agent here.

As we leave Brigham, we see a connection swing off to the left to connect with the U.P., about 600 feet away. This section of the UIC passes through the heart of the famous Utah celery land. It was over these rails several years ago that the U.P. had to operate temporarily while a burned bridge was being rebuilt; UIC men were shocked no end to behold suddenly a 40-car U.P. freight bearing down on them the first day of this operation.

Soon we begin to leave the irrigated land and find dry farms becoming more prevalent.

Our train is edging ever closer to the high mountains --- the same Wasatch Range which the BRR and SL&U interurbans parallel. Dewey, with its brick substation, is left behind, our train is climbing ever higher, heading for the famous Collinston Divide. Soon we are high enough to see a hundred miles on almost any day of the year. Back of us we see the dazzling waters of the Great Salt Lake, as well as Promontory Point. This is the north end of the Wasatch Range and we are on the backbone where the Bear River has cut through. Snow is everywhere, but above us a blazing sun in a clear sky reveals a scene almost too beautiful. We turn to the right, and by the time we reach Summit we have turned almost completely around. We have gained about a thousand feet of altitude in the last twenty minutes, and here we have a meet with a southbound passenger train.

Now we roll rapidly down into the very fertile Cache Valley, making quite good speed. We can look across the valley and see beautiful farm lands, some plowed and showing deep black rich soil, while others show various shades of green with here and there a patch of snow remaining. Rivers and swamps make this area a veritable paradise for hunters. About eight miles away can be seen Logan, Utah's fourth largest city with a population of about 12,000; it is only by locating the spire of the Logan Mormon Temple that one can be certain of pinpointing the city itself, for it is almost completely hidden beneath a blanket of thickly spreading trees.

Immediately ahead now is Mendon, a very picturesque town with large old trees on guard over historic and beautiful old rock homes which line both sides of the street. Here is the typical UIC brick station, almost the trademark of the system, for in every town of any importance on the line we will encounter these substantial buildings, each with its neon sign proclaiming the UIC emblem to all who pass.

Here we pick up quite a few passengers, including school children. We note that apparently few passengers make long rides; usually the original riders detrain at or near Brigham, with the train almost empty at Summit; By the time the green cars roll into Logan, there may be a standing load. At stations such as Mendon, extra cars are to be seen on sidings, ready to be added when the load grows too great for the original consist, but usually kept for school trains.

At Wellsville, noted for its milk canning industry, we turn from south to east, and from here to Hyrum (pea canning) the rails are elevated on a fill. At Hyrum we swing northward again and head through some very scenic wooded country with sparkling clear streams close at hand. Next comes Providence, the town which was the southern terminus of the Logan Rapid Transit Company, one of UIC's predecessors. On we speed to Logan, and pull up in the center of the busy street before the $20,000 brick station, one of the most substantial buildings in the city. Nearby is a small freight yard with a wooden freight house dominating it. Our train, is advertised to pause here for five minutes, so there is ample time to get out and watch the unloading of mail and express from our trailer into waiting trucks which meet the train in the middle of the street. When streetcars ran in Logan, there was a second track through here; it was removed in 1945, but its catenary is still up. We note the proud initials of the OL&I cut into the stonework of the station --- reminder of the glory days of 1915.

Logan sees almost a 100% turnover of UIC passengers, but by the time our train is ready to continue, another full load is on board. Off we roll, but a block down the street we note a wye leading off to the left to a strip of green grass down the center of a street; this was once the local car line to the U.P. station. A moment later we view to our right scars in another street which show where the old LRT cars turned off, to run to the Agricultural College and on to Smithfield. From this point we are on rails which were laid by the OL&I to cut off a corner and to avoid slow street running. We have now traversed Main Street from end to end and now re-enter private way. This is a very rich and fertile area and the UIC serves numerous canneries and sugar beet loaders. At Smithfield we see another brick substation, then roll rapidly on to Richmond. Here an unusual treat is awaiting us, for the dispatcher is on the phone and tells our conductor that another twenty minutes delay won't hurt, so our train backs up for about five blocks and takes a switch off through the weeds. Half a mile further on we see a large canning factory loom up; our car backs up against a reefer, the conductor jumps out and gets on its roof, while we roll off and enter another spur --- then, surprise! --- here comes the skipper, resplendent in his uniform, easing the reefer down the grade and over the switch. Our motor couples on and backs all the way to the main, with the passengers sitting patiently and understandingly.

Followed now by the reefer, we leave Richmond, swing a little to the west and cut down under the U.P. tracks. Now to our right we see the mile-long spur which leads into the Sugarton sugar plant, home of Amalgamated Sugar, another enterprise of the fabulously wealthy Eccles family.

To our left is the station, and heading due west is a heavily ballasted branch, some 14 miles long --- the Quinney branch; only freight trains use this branch, except for two-car school trains which UIC runs at cost. The Quinney branch is one of the few Utah interurban lines which is not closely paralleled by a steam railroad, and it has proved to be quite a lucrative proposition. Heavy trains of sugar beets keep its rails shining, and the branch has on it one of the largest bridges in the state.

Next comes Lewiston, with its trim brick station where we pick up more passengers -- and then Idaline, where we cross the state line into Idaho. Four fast miles more and now it's Preston seen ahead, terminus of the UIC. As we come to the end of track, our train clumps over the U.P. once again and comes to a final halt in front of the omnipresent brick station building with its illuminated sign. Here we are --- 94 miles from Ogden, 130 miles from Salt Lake City. We look around for a moment before starting back; a small freight yard and car house are off to the left, while down the street, beyond the rails, lies Idaho, with all the cities UIC once hoped to reach but was fated to miss. We meditate on the vagaries of fate which decreed that the UIC should end in this small town --- and as we meditate, our train is turned on the wye, pulls up to the station, and we remember there's only an hour to eat lunch before the return trip begins --- we arrived punctually at 12:55 PM, and leave at 2:00 PM as Train 8. There's plenty of riding ahead of us before we pull into the Ogden Terminal at 5:15 --- and every moment of it is going to be long remembered!

Ogden Terminal

The Ogden Terminal of UIC and BRR was a combination passenger-freight yard having originally nine tracks; tracks 1-5 were normally used by passenger trains, while 6-9 accommodated freight cars. Backing up to this Yard on its southerly side was a long, narrow brick building which served as waiting room, ticket office, baggage room and snack bar, with UIC's operating office also housed under its lofty roof. This structure fronted on 24th St. and was one block removed from 24th and Washington, Ogden' a main intersection.

Trains entered and departed via Lincoln Ave. with trackage between 23rd and 24th St. being jointly operated. This trackage and trackage within the Terminal yard used 750 volts trolley pressure, with UIC changing over to 1500 volts at 23rd St.

The track plan reproduced below dates from 1916. The passing years brought minor changes, but not until 1947 was there a major change: BRR that year built its new rail-bus terminal fronting on Grant Ave. in the space shown on this map as occupied by tracks 3, 4 and 5.

That Ogden did not fare as well as other UIC towns in the matter of a station cannot be gainsaid; the OL&I pushed construction of the building in order to have it ready for occupancy by January 1, 1915. Plans for a larger, more imposing station were postponed time and again.

UIC and BRR shared Ogden Terminal as follows: UIC owned the station building and trolley wire --- while BRR owned the land, the freight platform and tracks to 23rd St. The entire Terminal operation was under UIC.

After UIC was abandoned (1947) BRR built its new station and buses began using a part of the train yard. After BRR abandoned its passenger operations, all tracks were removed except a house track to the freight depot, one team track, and trackage serving Fuller Paint Company and Cramer Coal Company.

Ogden Shops

The UIC owned one of the largest and best equipped car maintenance plants in the western United States. The site was the northwest corner of 17th and Lincoln, Ogden, and the accompanying plans show the magnitude of the establishment.

Six brick buildings comprise the heart of the Ogden center: the car barn (valued a $125,000 as of 1921), the machine shop ($75,000), the paint and carpenter shop ($35,000), the substation ($20,000) and the boiler house ($4,500). All these were brick buildings and all were constructed by the OL&I in 1915 except the sub station which was added in 1918. Smaller frame buildings included the scale house, bunk houses, tool house and an old residence.

Originally the barn, shops and yards occupied the compact area shown in the top plan (below); later a freight yard was installed west of the car house and storage trucks were laid at the rear of the barn and shops giving much additional trackage. Altogether there were 23 tracks in later years, of which all but one (#20) ran thru; #20 led to the transfer table.

After abandonment, the car barn was kept for buses of Utah Rapid Transit Company. The Mormon Church took over other buildings for use as storehouses.

Freight

Freight was important to the UIC since the earliest days of the ORT; then carloads were pulled by the 1-spot using link-and-pin couplers from the steam road interchange at Five Points up to the canning factory at North Ogden, fruit and coal up to Brigham, and carloads of coal up Ogden Canyon to The Hermitage. From this beginning, UIC's freight business grow until its revenues exceeded by a considerable margin those derived from passenger hauling.

UIC was a participant in all local and transcontinental tariffs and maintained freight interchanges as follows: at Ogden with UP, SP. D&RGW and BERR; at Dewey, with UP, and also with UP(OSL) at Hyrum, Logan and Preston. UIC provided free pick-up and delivery at all agency stations on LCL freight, and gave following morning delivery an all carload and LCL freight shipments between Cache Valley and Ogden-Salt Lake City. Express service was offered in conjunction with the Railway Express Agency from all stations along the UIC.

Sheep, beets, clay and farm products were the items of freight hauled up Ogden Canyon; materials and equipment for the construction of the Pine View Dam were brought in by UIC before that branch was abandoned.

The main line (Ogden-Preston) handled principally such items as coal, peas, fruit, milk, gravel, cement, automobiles, beets, brick and livestock.

The Plain City branch handled a similarly diversified freight consist, while the Quinney Branch was primarily agricultural insofar as freight was concerned.

Little by little the building of highways brought competing truck lines into the picture. UIC's freight business dwindled as the years went by, until, it depended on bulk products, such as coal gravel. The recurrent coal strikes of the 1940s hit UIC hard, and hastened its end.

LCL freight was handled by two rebuilt passenger motors, 505 and 510; they provided speedy and efficient cartage for light shipments, and were augmented by 511 which handled the overnight merchandiser.

###